Gaines and I met during staff week at Echo Valley in 2012. I was returning for my second summer as a photographer and Gaines had never been to LLYC, but decided to ditch his summer internship to be a programmer with his best friend, Hunter Beauchamp. Let me just say… this new guy did not go unnoticed and quickly rose to the top of our cabin’s camp crush list! Since we were both on the “dark side,” Gaines and I got to spend a lot of time together. Whether it was helping him paint a truck to look like a dragon or him teaching me horrible choreography for a program skit, etc… We basically just liked hanging out together, “as friends!” I will say that I will never forget leaning over to a friend while Gaines tearfully gave Cross Talk and half-jokingly whispering, “I’m going to marry him!” Honestly, I bet 20 other girls were saying the same thing, but nonetheless, I actually did marry him… eventually!
Over the next few years, our friendship became clouded by lots of flirting, but nothing more. We were both in school in College Station and stayed connected via Bachelor watch parties, Snapchats, date parties, etc. Everybody knew I had my eyes on him, but he had put me so deep in the “friend zone” that he actually let his roommate ask me on a date. What the heck, right? I think I cried a little! I could never seem to shake that camp crush, but eventually, Gaines graduated and moved to Hobbs, New Mexico to pursue a career in petroleum engineering, while I stayed in College Station to nanny. We never lost contact, but I definitely lost hope in the whole “I’m going to marry him” thing.
Fast forward to summer of 2015, right after my last summer at LLFC. We were both in Fort Worth spending time with family and Gaines called and asked if I wanted to “hang out.” Turns out “hanging out” meant a seven hour DATE! How’s that for a curve ball? We left that date officially boyfriend and girlfriend. It was actually like a dream! One year of long distance dating (not so dreamy, but worth it) later, Gaines planned the best proposal ever, and of course I said yes and we both cried like babies! Five months after that, on January 8, 2017, we got married in Dripping Springs. Yes, we did play Deep in the West at the end of our reception, duh.
It’s always a small world when you’re a Laity Lodger. Even here in Midland, we both work with LLYC Alums and love how often camp comes up in our conversations. We look forward to our future LLFC adventures and youth camp after that! We owe so much to that Canyon for giving us each other, so many of our dearest friends, and most importantly, such a sweet taste of Heaven.