A day that will last for a lifetime happened on Friday, April 13, 2018. The Phillies were in Tampa Bay to take on the Rays at 7:10 pm est. While I was en route to Citizens Bank Park for my Phillies proposal with my kids Serena and Bryson. My parents Steve and Kathy Gaugler were also along with my girlfriend Lyndsey and her parents Dean and Sharon Green. My sister Jessica Early was also able to make the trip with her boys Brandon and Gavin to be the secret photographer.
“Tour” of a lifetime
We were able to arrive at our parking spot over an hour early. It was a perfect time to unwind and get some games of corn hole along with throwing a football as the home of the Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field was the backdrop. It was a warm bright day for the first time in the spring.
So many memories for Lyndsey and I have been made in Citizens Bank Park. I was lucky enough to introduce Lyndsey to the Phillies and the atmosphere I could never get enough of. Lyndsey fell in love with the Phillies along with the beloved Phanatic. It was just another perfect piece to what feels like the best relationship. As the time approached for us to get to the office, we packed up our tailgating supplies and started the walk towards the ballpark.
Everything is coming together
We were warmly welcomed into the office while we waited for our two “tour guides”. Before you knew it the elevator doors opened to take us. Everybody was taken into the different parts of the building as we were educated with history. For Lyndsey, my parents, and I have experienced these places before. But it was great to experience again while also seeing the enjoyment out of Dean, Sharon, Brandon, and Gavin. Bless my sisters heart for being a great undercover photographer as she always was in places to get the best angles and shots.
The “tour” eventually made its way from the press room and through the batting cages, eventually into the Phillies clubhouse. Before we went to walk through the dugout tunnel and up the stairs to the field. Everybody was advised of a Phillies’ superstition. “The Phillies have a superstition to watch your feet from the dugout to the field.” said the one guide. I knew the superstition was not true but was to deliver the perfect situation so Lyndsey kept her head down till we were on the field. Then I could ask the question of a lifetime. As Phillies fans, we followed suit.
The stage was set for my Phillies proposal
It was everything I dreamed of and planned for the proposal to be. We made a short right turn into the dugout, shortly followed by the left turn to go up the stairs to the field. My heart began to race faster and faster with every step of the way with excitement. Our shoes touched the crisp warning track simultaneously. I looked her in the eyes and told her how much she meant to me. The moment was so awesome and overtaking. It took over my heart as a tear of joy ran down my cheek.
After trying to pull myself together I then pulled the jewelry box from my back pocket and dropped to one knee. I asked “Lyndsey will you Marry Me?”. She responded with “YES!”. With so much joy, I got up and wrapped her in my arms. I took a quick glance at our family and seen so many emotions of joy. It was a perfect scene for a perfect person for me. Lyndsey did not notice the giant scoreboard in left field until after the proposal. I pointed it out reading “Will you marry me, Lyndsey?”. She doubled over with amazement after reading it. Even with the day being that great so far, it was not close to being over yet.
The perfect twist to a Phillies proposal
It took a while for me to set up the details for the Phillies proposal and get dates worked out for what I wanted to accomplish and the Phillies team having a season underway. Three months before the scheduled proposal Lyndsey and I got the news that we were expecting. After we talked about it I encouraged Lyndsey that we need to surprise our parents about the news even though I didn’t have a plan yet.
I got to work revising my Phillies proposal. My toughest task with the planning was just encouraging Lyndsey to keep the secret and convincing her that a trip to Citizens Bank Park was the perfect opportunity to tell them. She was ready from day one of getting the news to tell the world.
After the proposal on the field, I gave a short period of time for everybody to release their emotions. At the end of that time, I held Lyndsey’s hand as I announced to our family that we now had a surprise for them. Lyndsey and I walked past our family to have them follow us. We walked through the dugout and I quickly snagged a Phillies jersey that was in a prepped location. After that point, we turned around. I kept the jersey hidden. We once again stood face to face with our family and kids. On the upper deck of the dugout seats were customized jerseys hanging for every parent with their favorite number and their last name.
Curiosity spiked in everybody. To release the curiosity I then said “This is our surprise to you” as I brought the small Phillies jersey from my back to Lyndsey’s abdomen. The jersey read “Gaugler” for the name and “3” for the number representing the third child in our family. Tears once again flowed and hugs were exchanged.
The Celebration was on
Everything worked out as planned and even better than expected. So many happy family members enjoyed the moment with us. The Phillies had champagne ready for us with
The Phillie Phanatic is a huge part of our family’s life. Our house has Phanatic backpacks, slippers, cups, stuffed Phanatics, posters, est… I would even go as far as saying that Lyndsey enjoys the Phanatic the most. She gets giddy every single time we cross paths with him. As a perfect ending to our trip at Citizens Bank Park on an easel was a customized canvas photo with us and the Phanatic as it was signed, dated, with best wishes. It was back by the steps to the field when Lyndsey had seen it for the first time. Unsurprisingly her response was “Oh my, I love him!”. I laughed while sarcastically saying “what about me?”
One last surprise
One of our favorite places to eat in the city is Chickie’s and Pete’s. The restaurant was aware of our event for the day and reserved a banquet room for the whole crew to celebrate. So we went as a group straight from the park to Chickie’s and Pete’s on Packer Ave. They awaited our arrival having screens in the restaurant reading “What a Catch” Travis asked….. Lyndsey said Yes! Way to go team Gaugler!”. The more we looked we also got to read screens saying “Who will we meet? A little Chickie? or Pete? Either will be sweet” and also “Whoa baby! Our little All-Star is on the way”. It was a warm welcome from a resturaunt we enjoy so many times.
My sister Jess is the only one who knew what the gender was for the up and coming child. She generously got the reveal cake ordered for the big day. After eating our favorite meals and having champagne and sparkling cider for Lyndsey on the house we got the cake surprise. Lyndsey and I cut the cake together as the pink cake revealed itself. That little girl now goes by the name Mya. She is growing up strong and healthy. It was a day this family of five will never forget and cherish.
Feature image via Travis Gaugler
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