GABY + DEAN

I was slightly annoyed that he was breaking camp rules before he’d even met me. 

Dean and I met in the summer of 2006. I had just started my job as director of Camp AmeriKids, a non-profit that serves kids living with HIV/AIDS and sickle cell disease. Dean joined our program that summer as a volunteer doctor in the infirmary. He’s now our medical director, and we get to work together at camp in the summer, and during the year with the teens in our leadership program.

 

When I first saw him it was at our campsite. He was riding around in a golf cart getting a tour from a staff member, and they were shooting kids with water guns. I was slightly annoyed that he was breaking camp rules before he’d even met me. And I noticed that he had beautiful eyes.

 

 

For our first date, I took him to Madiba in Fort Greene. We sat outside and drank mojitos and afterwards went around the corner to a bar that was 100 degrees and had broken toilets.

 

I can tell you about when I thought he was going to propose. It was July 4th weekend and we were on Long Beach Island. Everything looked like it was planned. We were trying to get a table at a crowded restaurant, and somehow ended up in the garden of the restaurant in a gazebo framed with lights. I started panicking and went to the bathroom mentally prepare. Then we had dinner and left. It’s funny how sure and wrong I was about that moment. 

 

 

So I was totally caught off guard when it actually happened a few months later. I was exhausted and my mind was on a work presentation the next day. He had packed the apartment full of flowers and candles and was on his knee when I came home and opened the door. Then he took me to what I thought was going to be a private dinner, but somehow he’d gotten our families in on everything and they were waiting for us at the restaurant. It was the first time our parents had met. My brain exploded.

 

We got married at West Park Winery in the Catskills. It was 9-10-11. Our guests were close friends and family. We had a lot of people from our shared Camp AmeriKids community, including some of our former campers, which was very special. We wrote our own vows.

 

 

I wanted to be alone the night before the wedding so I stayed in a hotel room by myself. I woke up excited and started getting ready with my girlfriends.

 

My mom and my stepfather walked me down the aisle. The best man and maid of honor sang and played guitar. Our closest friends were in our wedding party. They men wore tuxes. For the women, I picked the color and they picked the style of dress they wanted to wear.

 

There was lots of dancing. We had a funk band. Everyone danced for hours and when the evening was supposed to end and the bands time was up, we extended things so they could keep playing. We went to Brazil for our honeymoon. Trancoso and Salvador. It was perfect.