Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lady in Waiting

So since it's technically "engagement season" - the period of time between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day when thousands of couples get engaged - this blog post is actually for the LADY IN WAITING. 

This blog post is for any girl who is absolutely sure she has found The One and hoping beyond all hope that he feels the same way. 

This blog post is for any girl who has a private My Dream Wedding Pinterest Board and is wondering if she will ever get to make all those fabulous DIY projects a reality.

This blog post is for any girl who is quite literally living out the plotline of "27 Dresses." 

This blog post is for the girl who gets a little weepy about the fact that he has NOT put a ring on it after she's had too much wine.

This blog post is for the girl who is capable of being really, really happy but also kind of sad, all at the same time, when ANOTHER one of her friends gets engaged.

RELAX.  Please.  Take a deep breath.  Now take another.  If you're rummaging through his underwear drawer as you read this, STOP.  If you're on the Tiffany's website building a 3-carat princess cut with a halo and a platinum band, STOP.  If you're on the verge of a self-pitying-ice-cream-binge, STOP

It will happen when it is meant to happen and not a minute sooner.

I was YOU just a short time ago.  I was a girl madly in love with a boy who just wouldn't pop the question.  I became obsessed, some might even say borderline insane, about getting engaged.  Brian and I had a mortgage, a dog and a very intertwined life together.  We were in that irritating "practically married" state that couples find themselves in after years of co-habiting.  The longer we carried on this "practically married" façade, the more insecure I felt.  It was illogical; it would have made a lot more sense that the longer we were together, the more secure I felt. But like I said, I was in a bit of a crazed mental state.

Maybe it was the word "boyfriend" that really bothered me.  I absolutely hated introducing Brian as my boyfriend.  Boyfriend simply didn't carry the weight that our relationship had gained.  I guess I could have called him my domestic partner but that felt a bit formal.  And if Brian and I are one thing together, it's informal.  We eat cereal for dinner like three nights a week.

Brian never once, NEVER, gave me any reason to believe he didn't want to marry me.  He didn't talk about it much (most guys don't) but all of his future plans included me, which was a really good sign.  So what the hell was the hold up?  What was he waiting for?  I wanted to grab him, shake him and scream: WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, YOU BIG MORON?  I'M A GREAT CATCH.  I'LL BE A GREAT WIFE.  WE HAVE SOMETHING INCREDIBLE AND RARE AND WONDERFUL.  WE ARE IN LOVE.  WE ARE LUCKY.

Of course I didn't do that.  Looking back, I'm really glad I didn't do that.  I'm even more glad I didn't give him an ultimatum - some future date that would be the be-all-end-all of our relationship if he didn't man up. 

So as the months and eventually years passed and my ring finger remained bare, how did I keep the tiny thread of sanity I had left?  I had faith.  Some days it was waning but it was always there because my gut told me this man, who I bravely gave my heart to, would do right by me.  One day.

My one day finally came on August 4, 2012.

We were on vacation in the Outerbanks, NC with his entire family.  It was our last day there.  With a 12 hour drive home ahead of us, we had agreed to get an early start and be on the road by 7 am.  Brian had casually mentioned the night before that he was going to set his alarm for an ungodly early hour so we could take one final walk on the beach with our pup and watch the sunrise.  I obliged under the condition he would let me sleep in the car.

I woke up that morning to the smell of cologne.  Before I even opened my eyes I asked, "Why the heck are you putting on cologne at 5 o'clock in the morning?"  His suave response, "In case I get all sweaty and gross, I don't want you to have smell me for long ride home."  I rolled over and went back to sleep. 

A few minutes later he was annoyingly poking me in the ribs, telling me if I didn't get up we'd miss the sunrise.  I grumbled and stretched for a full 10 minutes, like I do every morning because waking up for me is TORTURE.  Then I rolled out of bed, brushed my teeth, threw my hair up in a bun and remained in the clothes I had slept in - a tank top (no bra) and his boxers.  Oh and I didn't bother to put my contacts in.

As we strolled along the empty beach, just the two of us and our best fur buddy, did it ever cross my mind that he might propose?  No.  I had gotten my hopes up too many times, only to be devastatingly disappointed.  There was a point in our relationship when every time Brian bent down to tie his shoe, I held my breath.  Plus, Brian had mentioned on numerous occasions that he found it cliché to get engaged on vacation.  So on this particular morning, I was happy enough just to be with someone who wanted to watch the sunrise with me by his side.

We walked for a long time without much talking.  That was one of the things I loved about us - we didn't always have to talk.  Our silence was comfortable and at the same time, comforting. 

And then, before I could even contemplate what was happening, Brian was down on one knee.  There was no prepared speech, no hidden photographer.  He was just a boy asking a girl to marry him.  His hands and voice were shaking.  In that exact moment, I realized something revolutionary and quite profound -- Me and him were on exactly the same page.  We always had been.  All the vulnerability, all the insecurity, all the self doubt... he had it too.  And his fear of rejection was never more evident than on the day he proposed.  He was basically handing me his heart, along with a diamond ring.  It was the most raw and terrified I had ever seen him.

I don't remembering saying "yes" but I know I did.  I remember crying - mostly tears of relief.  I remember making him promise over and over again that I wasn't dreaming.  This was real. 

And I remember asking him, point blank, "What took you so long?"

He just shrugged, smirked his sexy smirk, and said, "I don't know.  Life."

The only photo we took on the morning we got engaged... a perfect sunrise.

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