Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Engagement Story

With all the hullabaloo (yes, that's how you spell it) with the Listen To Your Mother Show, my husband and my anniversary slipped by. I'm making it up to him here.  Happy 17 years, Mark! 
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Bended knee at dawn on the beach? Serenaded by your love after having pebbles thrown at your bedroom window? Perhaps this was your story, not so mine. In true I can't believe this is my life style, here is my side of  our Engagement Story: and, yes, it had destiny nervous for a few moments....


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My not-as-of-yet husband and I had been dating for a bit over a year, and the subject of marriage hadn't been brought up. This was fine with me, as he had made no promises nor given any hints regarding a possible future together, so I couldn't claim to be misled or disappointed. He just wanted to date, and he was a polite and affable enough fellow that that would be alright.

He had a lot of gold stars in my book. He was: 1. well employed 2. always sober 3. smelled nice 4. had all his teeth, and they were in good condition 5. didn't have to purchase 2 airline tickets for himself when he flew. So, given all that, continued dating with no end in sight would be fine for the time being.

It was my birthday, and he had called to ask me out for dinner.  I knew he'd have something special planned. At the time, he was traveling a lot, and our times together were mostly spent doing nice things at nice places with nice food. We all remember those days. When we existed only for ourselves.

Since I knew he'd have a spectacular dinner date set up, I let my mind wander to anticipating a romantic, pleasant evening. He was to pick me up at 6:30 p.m. As I sat and waited for him, I thought of how I was ready to be wined and dined and flattered and toasted to.

He arrives, and I immediately note that his face has such a look of concentrated concern, as if he's lost something. He is also unusually quiet tonight. I ask if everything is alright, he answers yes, but doesn't do much else to assure me. He is 20 minutes late, which is unlike him, but not wanting to start things off on the wrong foot, I say nothing. But, it's not a good start: his quietness, his late arrival, his short answers, his furrowed brow. Not good. As we drive in his car, I promise myself that I will nip this in the bud; he has to call if he's going to be late. Yeah, not the best thoughts to be having, I know. But it was all about me back then.

We are on our way to a restaurant, and he is quiet the entire ride there. I attempt conversation, but I feel as if I'm in the car with a coyote; all I hear is "yup. yup. yup." in answer to any question I pose his way.

"Oh, well, perhaps he has had a rough trip," I think to myself. I don't know. I'm hungry, I have to go to work the next day, and the dress I have on is new and adorable. With the pre-baby waist in it to match. I just want to go out, enjoy my meal, and celebrate my birthday.

We arrive at the restaurant parking lot, he parks, and then asks me to get out of the car and wait outside for him. I give him my Eddie Murphy face and just about say, "whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis.." but I refrain. Unusual request, to get out of the car by myself, but I do it. He usually gets out and opens my door...I'm now at the point of making my mental list entitled "Possible Red Flags...get out while the gettin' is good."

I oblige, and step out of the car-- and wait. I see him jostling around in his pockets and you don't want to know what I'm thinking. You just don't.

He then steps out of the car and begins to walk quickly, with the continual furrowed brow leftover from when he first picked me up. I quickly catch up to him, and try to walk along side--I attempt to take his arm, which makes him jump 20 feet in the air. Okaaaaaaaay...the mental list is now growing by yards, and has rapidly advanced to bullet point #3.

I let his arm go and just walk with him. We enter the restaurant, lucky for him, he does hold the door open. But when the hostess greets us, his tone is quick and hushed with her. He asks me AGAIN to wait a bit of a ways away. What in the world is going on? I'm starting to make my Eddie Murphy faces again. He and the hostess whisper back and forth, we're shown to a table, and seated. He keeps his hands in his pocket, I attempt to reach for his hand and he jumps again as if I'm giving him electric shocks.

He suddenly and abruptly gets up from his chair and says he needs to check something in the car. I have now entered "whatever" land. I have mentally checked out. I can no longer enjoy my meal, and start thinking, "OK. nice guy and all, but I just can't see what is going on between us...I'll just cut my losses, I'm still physically attractive and fertile enough to re-enter the dating game."

He returns, still with the hand in the pocket. I eat a silent dinner---he picks at his food. I feel so sad. I ask to go home early, since it's midweek, and his just returning from a long trip. This surprises him. Ooooh, so not good. We are that off sync? Worse yet, I think, "I can't believe he is HAVING A GOOD TIME???" All I can see is red flags. Red flags all over my brain.

He tells me he wants to drive to the lakefront. I say yes, thinking this is the least I can do, since I have decided this is the last time I'll be seeing him. We drive there, and the first thing I see is a white horse and buggy waiting. "Awww, this is so very sweet..." I say, knowing it must be my birthday treat and perhaps there's still hope? We climb in, I move to sit closely to him, and take his hand out of his pocket, in one last ditch attempt to convince myself his madness is just a case of jet lag.

No dice.

He jumps out of his skin. Again. Alright, he's turned a bit "A Beautiful Mind" on me, that's alright...I can deal for a few more minutes. I'll be home soon, and then I know I'll have to give him "the call" tomorrow, for I'm on bullet point #7 at this time. I mentally prepare myself for the coming weekend of me by myself and Ben&Jerry's Death by Chocolate along with every single Love-Gone-Wrong video I can rent from Blockbuster. I've lived through life's disappointments before. I've had practice with those kinds of weekends-- I know I'll be alright.

He continues with his pocket patting fetish and I am ready to jump out of the horsecab by now, but it's going a bit too fast. It's also getting cold outside, kinda dark, the pavement would hurt, new dress, pretty shoes...etc.

I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and try to save the evening by relishing the sound of the clip clop of the horse's shoes on the quiet street.

And this is where it gets even stranger than it's been all evening.

He suddenly pulls out a small, white box. Just like that. With no announcement of  "I got you something." I see the small white box, "Earrings!" I think. "For my birthday! And I'll bet they're super nice, too!" I am so excited, he just came back from Europe and maybe he picked up something there!

I smile and take the little white box and snap it open it and can't wait to see what is inside. Beautiful golden hoops? He knows I love hoops. But there are no golden hoops inside the box, because there is, instead, a perfect diamond ring sitting up high in the middle of a black velvet cushion. A ring, in a box, where a pair of birthday earrings should be. I am looking and trying to understand why I see a single, solitaire diamond ring in a box, in my hand.

All the weirdocities of the night now quickly make sense. All the perverted pocket padding this poor man did to ensure the ring hadn't fallen out, all the up and down and walking ahead so he could check to be sure the ring was still in the pocket. The poor guy probably filled his underwear at least 5 times that night from all the planning and the stress. Poor thing.

The rest of my memory takes on a surreal cast. I remember staring at the ring in the moonlight (really..it was a full moonlit night) and being so very surprised, and marveling at all the planning and secrecy keeping and THE CHANCE he took. What a chance, we had never discussed marriage, I could've said no, it was a risk.

I asked him later, to tell me the reason he had decided to propose in that way, with me not suspecting a thing. His answer was "if you knew it was coming, where's the romance in that? I wanted you to be so surprised, whether you said yes or no, I wanted you to be surprised."

Which I was, in more than just receiving the ring, but in him, and who he was, and how he made this plan of marriage more than just a proposal, but a memory.

And this reason is why this picture exists, showing me as a Mrs., when earlier that birthday evening, I had thought that he would be returning me home, vowing to stay a Miss.



My response, through grateful tears of relief:  "Oh, thank god, I thought you were crazy." Which is, kind of, a Yes.

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63 comments:

  1. That's such a sweet story! I love how you were checking off bullet points in your head. I love engagement stories. Mine's pretty bizarre heh.

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  2. I think you posted this a long time ago, no? (maybe, duh, last year at this time?). Love it.

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  3. That's a wonderful story and definitely something to save for later generations. It's funny -- if I'd ever had to propose to anyone I'd have been just as nervous as he was. I'd have been playing out the scenarios of everything that could go wrong in my mind.

    Pretty dress.

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  4. Awww. Cute.

    I hope someday to write about the magical night my wife and I decided to get divorced.

    I think "Dexter" was on.

    I love that show.

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  5. I loved it! And now I want to hear his side of the Engagement Story. I wonder how different it would be?
    And you two look great. Thank God you were married in the 90s and not the puffy shoulder wedding dress years of the 80s.
    Congratulations on 17 years!
    Your Friend, m.

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  6. That is a sweet story!

    Bless his stressed out little heart.

    Congrats on all these years. He's a very lucky mahn.

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  7. Oh, I LOVE this story!! Poor guy was crapping bricks all night and practically ruined it! LOL!!

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  8. awww...love it...nice touch with the horse and carriage, what with good teeth and smelling good...and as long at the pocket patting did not continue after, you know...ha. i am just playing...love hearing stories about how people meet or propose...

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  9. Proposal stories are so sweet

    Loved the pic and your flowers were awesome


    that is all

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  10. I heart this story. Hilarious and sweet. What a way to start things off. Happy belated anniversary :)

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  11. How beautiful you look on our wedding day and what a sweet, touching story. I love him for you. This is such a wonderful memory and I agree with him completely: the element of surprise is what keeps a relationship exciting and new. I wish you many, many years of moonlit evenings and romance. Happy anniversary to you both!

    XOXO

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  12. Sweet story!

    I was surprised too. I thought he was messing with me. So I hit him. And told him to f*** off.

    And also said yes.

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  13. Happy 17 years! I love your response too!

    My husband isn't the least bit romantic. He took me to the mall to pick out my ring.

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  14. Awww, I'm seriously a sucker for engagement stories. Especially when they've got the humor aspect added in. So glad you found someone with the 5 qualities we all hope for!

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  15. Awesome Fairy Tale Story!!! ;-) I love happy endings...or beginnings in this case!

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  16. I LOVE IT!!! Our anniversary is this coming weekend and I will be sharing our story as well. You'll have to stop by and check it out:)

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  17. Alison: thank you, sweet mama.

    Mooooog: you kill me

    Annabelle: I always love to see you here. Thank you

    Mimi: Thanks, my pretty eyed lady

    Brian: hehe. you said pocket patting.

    Tulpen: of course your marriage proposal involved an eff you.

    Charlotte: glad you caught this story, sweet lady.

    PB and J: the flowers are my fave: tulips.

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  18. Jayme:
    "I absolutely love this story!"

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  19. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Men are retarded.

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  20. This makes me smile, Empress, and I'm so glad you included a photo at the end. Do you still tease him mercilessly about how odd he was behaving that night?

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  21. Just babies in the married world, gonna have my 29th anniversary tomorrow with the Big Tuna.

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  22. Best response to a proposal, ever. EVER.

    Happy belated anniversary.

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  23. "Oh thank God, I thought you were crazy" is absolutely a yes.

    Bravo.

    To you both. And Happy Anniversary, too!

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  24. "Oh, thank god, I thought you were crazy."

    Love love love love love!

    Happy anniversary!

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  25. LOVE Moooooog and Tulp!

    Your weirdocities totally beats out a proposal in the walmart parking lot 2 nights before the big day.

    SIGH!

    Happy Anniversary!

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  26. Happy anniversary - and a beautiful picture, too!

    My guy was also completely whackadoo when getting ready to propose. In retrospect, it was cute. At the time? Whackadoo!

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  27. And all those bullet points missed the target and flew into the night air.

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  28. You look beautiful in the picture and he looks like Gelman on Regis and Kelly.

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  29. My friend's husband pulled over on their way somewhere and said "I have to do this RIGHT NOW." She thought he had to go to the bathroom.

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  30. That is really a sweet proposal.
    And "Oh thank god, I thought you were crazy" is pretty much the perfect answer!!

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  31. Oh, I love this story! Such a memorable engagment!

    My husband acted all weird the night he proposed- except we'd talked about marriage and I kept thinking all night- I know he's going to propose.

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  32. It was like a sitcom.

    I love how the whole night you are totally writing him off and he is preparing to ask the most important question of both your lives.

    Perfect ending too.

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  33. Alexandra, I love this! What a funny story with a happy-ever-after ending....and lucky for him you didn't just decide to break it off that night!

    Happy Anniversary!

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  34. Such a sweet story and an adorable couple to boot! Congrats on 17 years. :)

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  35. You're beautiful! Happy Anniversary!

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  36. Such a sweet story....and I busted out laughing at your perfect response!

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  37. I love this story.

    So sweet.

    My proposal is unprintable.

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  38. I think I would have responded, "Does it come with earrings?" Because I would have been completely caught off guard .. I mean, who's thinking marriage, right?
    My husband never proposed. We never even dated. We were just friends who people assumed over time, it was the natural course of events. My dad had to ask if I was planning on marrying the guy before it even entered my mind. We got married with the thought that if it doesn't work out we'll just call it off. Reason #1 not to get married at 19.
    In April we had our 19th wedding anniversary.
    We both forgot.

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  39. What a story! So beautiful. And funny. Sorry about your disappearing posts. Hope your son is better. I do know of a healer in the event that Western medicine isn't satisfactory: http://www.johnmcarrollhealer.com (He's the real thing.)

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  40. Love your story. Unlike you I suspected the night Ryan proposed, but was definitely as surprised as you when he pulled me up on the stage and did it in front of about 1500 people at a Christmas festival. Didn't see that one coming... and my rarely-embarrased self got VERY embarassed and nervous indeed. Lucky for him I said yes. And lucky for your hubs too - that was REALLY brave of him. Wow! And you were just a stunning bride. Gorgeous.

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  41. How sweet. Happy Anniversary! I kept thinking he must be afraid the ring fell out of his pocket every five minutes. Gorgeous picture!

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  42. This is a great story! You both are beautiful and so are those flowers! WOW!

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  43. OH...simply torturous! Men are the funniest of creatures! Happy Anniversary!
    S.B. Niccum
    Author Website
    Blog

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  44. this is just so terrific. what a great story. happy anniversary.

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  45. I love the story and the beautiful picture, too. I think your boys are a lovely combination of both of you.

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  46. My husband was worred about losing the ring. He had to keep it with him all day the day he proposed.

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  47. Oh so romantic! And love that pic - beautiful!

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  48. Such a lovely story. A horse drawn carriage! The royals stole the idea from him!

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  49. I loved reading this again.

    And you are simply gorgeous!

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  50. Soooo sweet! And hubba hubba with the fella!

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  51. I loved this when you first posted it a million years ago - in fact, I think it's what made me fall in love with you!

    You two are the gosh-darn cutest couple EVER! Happy anniversary, my friend!

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  52. Awwwww this is amazing! Great story, hope you had a lovely anniversary!

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  53. Complete and utter sweetness. LOVE this story. Happy anniversary!!

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  54. So happy to read this story again, love stories always put a smile on my face.

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  55. Wow! What makes this story even more lovely is the exacting detail (and humor, but of course) with which you remember the evening. Happy, happy belated anniversary. Oh, and I've missed reading you so much.

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  56. That's so sweet! I'da thought he was crazy too! #ProjectMarriage

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  57. Great story, LOVE LOVE LOVE it! You looked stunning :) As always, thank you for linking up with us! #projectmarriage

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  58. Awwwwww! I freakin' love you more all the time! What a wonderful engagement story! Thank you for joining us in Project Marriage girlfriend!

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  59. What an amazing story! How horrible for you though to be thinking the whole time that you were going to have to dump him after that night but what an ending! I love it!

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  60. Your response was the absolutely best thing about this story! Laughed so hard. Oh and the bullet points, fabulous :)

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  61. that story makes me smile in all kinds of ways, especially "weirdocities"... congratulations on keeping the surprises and the love and the weirdocities going for seventeen years. Your answer to his proposal cracks me up, too - what an Alexandra Answer.

    Plus you two be one beeeeyoootiful wedding couple. Sheesh.

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