Friday, April 24, 2015

The best question ever asked

I've said before I'm kind of a "Rain Man" when it comes to dates and anniversaries of things.  Today marks ten years since Nate asked the best question he ever asked me - if I would marry him and be his wife.  

The story of our engagement might almost sound somewhat anti-climatic when told.  But it was still one of the best days of my life.  It was 2005, I'd been out of college for just about a year.  At this point Nate and I had been a couple for about seven years.  It was pretty much a given at that point that we would be getting married, it was just a matter of when.  We had agreed that it would be best to wait until Nate had a full time job and was able to move out of his parents house before we got engaged.  It took him close to two years after he finished his degree (he did a two year program and finished school a couple of years before I did) to find a full time job.  I had these crazy ideas that we would be engaged before I graduated and married by the following Fall.  Oh how silly and naive we are in our early twenties sometimes.  

Anyway, he finally got a job in late 2004 and started saving his money so he could buy a ring and also move out.  And I started getting antsy. Well ok, let's face it, I'd been antsy pretty much from our fifth dating anniversary and on.  But once I knew that we were getting closer, I got REALLY antsy. In early 2005 he started looking at apartments in person and asking more questions about what type of ring I wanted.  I knew it wouldn't be long.  And I think he kind of enjoyed watching me squirm.

We also had agreed that we would never get engaged on a "special day" such as Christmas, Valentine's Day, etc.  We wanted the engagement to be something special and stand on it's own.  I almost completely shot myself in the foot about a month before it finally happened.  Nate's sister had been home on spring break.  After she left, we were at dinner and Nate was saying how his sister commented she was bummed we didn't get engaged on our dating anniversary while she was home, because she would be able to celebrate with us and wouldn't be getting home again until her graduation in May. So I said to Nate "and are we going to actually be engaged by her graduation in May?"  And his response was "um, yeah."  Oops. 

So that was late March, so of course now I'm on total red alert and pretty much am expecting it ANY DAY.  The weekend it finally happened I just had a sense about it and yet was still pretty surprised. There were signs I didn't even notice. Friday we went to a going away party for a friend of mine where another friend pulled Nate aside and was like "are you going to make this official ever?" And he told her "it will be taken care of this weekend."  She gave me an extra hug when we were leaving and at the time I was like, that was odd.  Looking back it makes sense.  Saturday I sang at a wedding. Nate kept asking me what time the wedding was. He really needed to know how long I'd be gone.  I thought that was so strange, but figured he just wanted to know when I'd be available to hang out that day. What he was really doing was going and visiting with my parents and asking for their blessing (how sweet was he?).  Saturday night we went to dinner and he had to step out to make a phone call - again I thought that was kind of weird but shrugged it off a little bit, apparently he just had to tell his parents that my parents knew about the plans he'd made for the following evening to celebrate our engagement.

Finally it was Sunday the 24th.  I went to church in the morning as usual.  Nate had asked me when he dropped me off the night before if I wanted to go on a picnic at Como Zoo with him since we hadn't in awhile. It sounded good to me.  After church I went home, put on kind of a scrubby hoodie and jeans because it was a sunny day, but cold.  I remember while I was at church, I even told a couple of the girls of the plans for the day and kind of jokingly even said, maybe I'm getting engaged today.  Because even though I hadn't really noticed any of the signs, I was still on my highest guard. I just had this feeling.

Nate picked me up and we drove to pick up sandwiches and he's just not his usual self.  He's talking to me, but it's much more generic, babbly stuff than his normal banter.  We get to the zoo and find a grassy island in the parking lot and spread a blanket to eat our sandwiches on.  I remember he was wearing cargo pants and even went back by the car for a second - later I would find out he was moving the ring box so that he could sit on whatever side without it bugging him.  And the cargo pants were the perfect way to hide the ring box too.  So we're sitting there eating and I'm really starting to suspect something's up because he's so quiet and I think, maybe he's going to wait until we're somewhere inside the zoo.  We finish eating and I ask if he's ready to go, and he says yes "but there's something I need to do first."  He gets up on both knees since we're pretty much on the ground anyway - and here's the part I regret slightly, while I was ready and even expecting it, I kind of went into "oh my god" mode and just kept saying that over and over while he's saying super sweet things - I remember he took my promise ring off that I'd been wearing since high school and I know I remember hearing the words "will you marry me?" as he pulled out the most beautiful ring.  And I remember saying "yes of course" after I finally stopped stuttering "oh my god."  It was so surreal, I'd been waiting for so long and it's like the world just stopped and it was just the two of us.  I was brought back to reality when as we're sealing it with a kiss a person yelled out "congratulations!" I thought at first maybe it was someone we knew - nope, just someone looking for a parking spot who saw what was happening and stopped to watch.  We're like, um thank you?  

After that we packed up our stuff and walked around the zoo and I remember thinking "can people tell there is something different about me right now?  I'm getting MARRIED!"  We celebrated that evening with our parents and even his sister - she drove two hours like crazy to get to the restaurant in time, she didn't want to miss it.  So, she really did get to see us before her May graduation I guess!
We picked a date almost right away for the following May, giving us just over a year to plan.  I had always wanted a Fall wedding, but the timing just wasn't right, we'd either have had a short engagement or a longer one than I really wanted, so Spring it was.  I never used to like Spring that much to be quite honest, but after that year, it became my favorite time of year.  And I still know the exact spot we were engaged and every time we go to Como I always smile and remember.  Someday I'll point it out to Ollie and I am sure he'll roll his eyes and go "Mom, you're such a sap!"

I don't have any pictures from that day, but I'll share what I consider our official "engagement" photo taken a couple of months later at our engagement party with friends.  I may have shared this picture before, I can't recall.

Look at those babies!  Aw, memories.  Mind boggling that it's been ten years. And even if it was kind of anti-climatic and I was totally expecting it, it was still so special and magical. Hands down it is the best question I've ever been asked and the best answer I've ever given.  I'll say yes every day for the rest of my life.
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