Sunday, May 31, 2009
The "Surprise???" Proposal
Chad and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary yesterday. What a fun and wonderful time we have had together as husband and wife. I am so grateful that he asked me to marry him, and that I said yes! Of course anniversaries make you nostalgic, so I was remembering his wedding proposal yesterday and thought I would share the fun story with our faithful blog followers.
Chad and I met at a church dance in July of 1996, a few days after my 21st birthday. I was there on a date with another guy, but I danced every dance with Chad, except for the last dance. Don't feel too sorry for my date, he was not a nice guy. Chad didn't work up enough courage to ask for my phone number until Sunday at church. We went on our first date on that Monday after FHE. Then we dated each other exclusively. Now fast forward to February. We were pretty serious with each other. Serious enough that we had chosen a name for our firstborn child. We had looked at wedding rings together, but knew it would be quite a while before we could afford one. Chad had some medical expenses to take care of first. I had shared with him that I had always dreamed of becoming engaged at the gazebo by the lake at my college. (Okay, Always for the four whole years I had been at Meredith).
Chad had no doubt what my answer would be when he asked. The proposal was a mere romantic formality. Valentines' Day arrived. Chad's brother, Ben, let me and a friend into their apartment and I "heart-attacked" Chad's room. (meaning we decorated his room with 100s of hearts I had cut out of construction paper). We covered the futon, hid them in pockets of his clothes, under the dresser, behind pictures...and inside his desk. Upon opening his desk cabinet I spied these two items.
I immediately knew that the ring was a "4-carrot rock." Chad had made it with a rock from his driveway, a glow-in-the-dark alien head ring, and cloth craft carrots from Michaels store. My eyes welled up with tears. I was so excited. Chad was going to propose to me that night! I couldn't wait. I made my friend swear she would never tell Chad or anyone else that I had found the ring and opera glasses. I went home and got ready for what was sure to be the most memorable night of my life.
Chad picked me up for the evening and we enjoyed a homecooked meal at his apartment. It was delicious. Then he turned on music and we danced together in his living room. He told me he had a present for me and went upstairs to get it. The butterflies started in my stomach and I was so nervous. He came down and gave me the opera glasses and tickets to see West Side Story at the theater. But no ring. After the play, we came home and ate sorbet together. He told me I looked tired, and said it was time for him to drive me home. I was so stunned and disappointed. I just knew after such a well-planned and romantic evening, he was going to propose. I held out hope that he would stop by the lake before he dropped me at my dorm, but he didn't. I have to admit that his good-night kiss from me was rather cold and I think I may have even slammed a door or two. I was so hurt. I couldn't imagine what I had done to cause him to change his mind about proposing to me. And poor Chad. He didn't know I had found the ring and that I was crushed and heart broken. He had just been so generous and romantic, and he was not receiving the gratitude he deserved. (What a bratty drama queen. Poor guy. I can't believe he still married such an immature little girl . What was he thinking?). I called up my friend Monica, and she came over right away and we talked and cried together most of the night.
The next morning Chad called up and asked if he could take me to breakfast. I begrudgingly said yes, threw on some casual "I am not trying to look cute because I am mad at you" clothes. I hopped in the car and Chad drove to the lake. Of course. He asked me if I might like to go for a walk before we got breakfast. Well, although I may have acted like a fool on Valentines' Day, I knew where this was leading. I started to cry, and we walked hand and hand to the gazebo. It had rained the night before so the benches were wet. Chad took off his coat and placed it on the bench and asked me to sit down. He knelt down on one knee and asked me to be his bride for all time and eternity. At that point I wasn't the only one crying. I could not have imagined a more perfect moment. There were birds singing, white ducks swimming in the pond, and the sun was shining. Chad told me he didn't want to ask me on Valentines' Day because it was too conventional, and because most of our life together would be shared on ordinary days. And he wanted me to accept him and marry him, just him, not a romantic notion of roses and cupids. (I know, isn't that so sweet). He didn't have enough money for a ring yet, so he had made me this 4 carrot rock himself. It could not have been more perfect. (The real ring was given to me on an airplane in an easter basket on Easter Sunday. But that is a story for another day).
Chad, no day with you is ordinary. I love the life we have built together. I am grateful for you and your strength. For your patience and long suffering. For your generosity. You are the most selfless person I know. I can't believe that Heavenly Father blessed me to be your wife. You know, as a 21 year old kid, I didn't know much and really only knew you less than a year before I commited to be with you for eternity. Wow I lucked out! You are a much better man than I even knew then. (And I thought you were pretty much perfect). Oh how I love you.
FYI: We were married a few years before I ever admitted to Chad I had seen the ring beforehand.