For the last hour, I’ve been fumbling with where to begin and how to tell this story, but the words aren’t coming. My eyes and mind are distracted by the handsome man napping in the next room and the stunning reminder of his love and commitment that he slipped on my finger just over 48 hours ago.
I knew this weekend would bring change given that Dave was scheduled to arrive on Friday in a U-Haul lined with his possessions. For the last nine (or so) months we’ve been doing the long distance thing. I say “or so” because we disagree on when we started dating. He counts back to September, when we first emailed and spoke on the phone after being introduced by a mutual friend. I say we didn’t start dating until the night we actually met – November 9. (I don’t always have to be right, but in this instance, I believe I am.) Whatever the amount of time, we’ve been dating long distance, and now we’re in the same place.
I knew he’d spoken to my parents over a month ago about wanting to marry me, so I knew we’d marry eventually, but I didn’t know when he’d formally ask. I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago to a girlfriend how much I wanted to marry him quickly upon his arrival to Texas, and her response was, “So you want him to leave his home, his family and his job and move to a new state and get married pretty much all at the same time?” Well, yes. It didn’t sound unreasonable until she said it in just that way, so I’d backed off of even joking about a quick engagement or wedding. I knew he didn’t need that additional stress. He apparently wanted it though. He asked me to marry him just over 24 hours after rolling into town.
On Saturday evening, we had dinner at my parents’ place so that his family and mine could meet. Dave’s dad had driven down with him, and his sister and nephew had flown in with his mom. My siblings all live here. We got everyone together for dinner and had a lovely time. After dinner, with everyone still pretty much seated at the two tables required to hold all thirteen of us, Dave proposed – right there in front of our families. Dave started the proposal by taking my hand as I happened to walk from one dinner table to the next. He started asking me questions like, “You know I want to spend the rest of my life with you, don’t you?” At first, I thought he was just telling me that he loves me and that he was having a good time with our families together. I was too. But then I realized that this wasn’t a normal conversation.
Even before he got down on one knee, I knew what was happening. I looked into his beautiful blue eyes and just let myself sink into the ease of the moment with him. I took in his words, his hugs, his nervousness, and his smile. I didn’t cry. I didn’t get giddy and jump up and down. I didn’t get nervous. I just listened to the man I love tell me how much he loves me, said yes when it was my turn to speak, and fell into the kind of full force hug that I’ve come to expect from Dave – the kind that makes me feel safe no matter what’s happening around me. Afterwards, we toasted with the champagne that Dave had the foresight and the confidence to bring.
I love that he asked me in my parents’ home – the same place I’d celebrated my 40th birthday last December surrounded by people I love. I love that he invited me to merge my life with his in the presence of both of our core families. I love that we were our casual selves. Dave was in a race t-shirt, and I was in a plain white shirt and the capris that I own three pairs of, all in black, because they are the most comfortable pants ever. We wore tennis shoes and flip-flops and looked a mess from the activities of the day. Dave had been shooting skeet, and I’d been playing out with the goats and driving a golf cart with my two-and-a-half-year-old godson who happened to be with us for the evening. It was perfect.
Being a girl and often a stupid one, I’d imagined this moment a ridiculous number of times the first twenty-five years of my life, and each time, I pictured a Notebook-esque grand gesture of an invitation at a ball, an enormous expression of surprise, and excessive amounts of squealing with joy by every woman in the room. That wasn’t my experience, and that scene would not have been even a little bit consistent with who I am, who Dave is, or who we are as a couple.
This is who we are, captured true to selfie form post engagement:
I’m incredibly lucky that this man who has the most kind heart I’ve ever encountered and who holds my heart both firmly and gently has made the decision to love me for the rest of his life. “Lucky” isn’t even the right word. I’m blessed. So very blessed.