Spring Break is here, and that means I am taking a mini-break. I thought it would be fun to take a week to feature some of my favorite authors and readers.
My last guest is Jimmy of Founding a Father. I "met" Jimmy when I was still fairly new to Twitter, and he made an excellent first impression. Late one night, when I should have been sleeping, I was browsing through Tweets. I came across a tweet that proclaimed this man's anniversary letter to his wife to be the sweetest thing ever. (Read it here!) I read it, and was blown away by the man's love for his wife, and his talent at expressing it. I instantly became a fan of Jimmy's, and am proud to say that his posts almost always make me laugh and cry at the same time. His love for his wife and his daughters is always apparent. So when Jimmy offered to write a guest post for me, I was honored.
Conversations with my Wife. Proposals
My wife and I are getting ready to celebrate our 13th year as husband and wife. Among other things, after almost 13 years, we have had plenty to talk about. Thankfully, in all the years we’ve been together, we have maintained a healthy, if not sarcastic, line of communication with each other. We had conversations about everything you would expect being married for a baker’s dozen of years is liable to prompt.
We’ve talked about our kids, work, bills, how we were going to pay the mortgage, which kinds of potato chips are the best, what we should watch on TV, and who’s turn it was to clean the bathroom.
In that time, we have been able to create a type of banter not unlike most married couples have. I have realized the passion, emotion, and occasional irrationality my wife is prone to. In turn, she has figured out how to read me like a cheap romance novel, I can be maddeningly stubborn, and at my core, I’m basically an idiot.
But throughout all of our conversations, ranging from deadly serious to ridiculously trivial, there has always been one constant; our love for one another.
Some conversation I have enjoyed, some I have dreaded, and others still make me laugh but there has been one conversation we’ve had that began it all. The conversation we had 15 years ago when I asked her to marry me.
November 28th, 1998. Saturday afternoon.
“I’m almost finished. Why don’t you stay at work and I’ll meet you there?” I was on the phone with my girlfriend. Unbeknownst to her, within the next 2 hours, I was planning on asking her to be my wife.
The plan I had hatched involved me and the engagement ring to leave work a little early, drive the hour it took to get home but instead of going home, meeting her at her salon where she worked. From there I would either throw up on her shoes or ask her to marry me in the salon.
“I don’t know. Do I have to wait? I want to go home.” I really hadn’t planned for a wrench in my plan. Now I had to figure out a good reason for her to stay at work that did not include me telling her I have an engagement ring to give to her.
“Could you just wait?” I spat out the first thing that came to my mind. It sounded a lot like pleading as opposed to ‘reasoning’ didn’t it?
“Why is it so important that you come and see me at work?” The woman is like Colombo. She is going to ask me a minimum of 43 questions before she actually agrees to stay.
“I just thought it would be nice to come and see you at work? Is that a crime?” Answering a question with a question? Check.
“I just don’t underst-“
“Just stay!” This was me flexing my muscles. If I was going to be married to her, she might as well know who would be in charge.
“Don’t yell at me. If you get here before I leave fine. If not, call me.” She took my punch and threw one of her own. We’ll see who is boss.
“Fine.” Check and mate.
I hung up and immediately jumped in to my car and drove to her work. It took 35 minutes (the benefit of rolling through stop signs and ignoring yellow lights…and maybe some red ones). I was outside of her salon, in the parking lot. I was in my car going over my planned proposal script.
“I wanted to know…I want to ask you a question…Would you…If you wasn’t busy for the next forty or fifty years…” I could never resist the urge to quote Rocky.
“I wanted to…will you marry…” Got it. I walked, or ran, or didn’t touch the ground, going in to the shop? That part was fuzzy.
“Hey! I made it!” My voice cracked like I was 14 again and was a cocktail of excitement and nervous energy.
“Hold on. Let me clock out.” She almost sounded annoyed. Was she annoyed? What if I ask her and she says ‘no’? I should have left the car running.
“Listen, I need to talk to you.” I put on my best serious face which could or could not have been seen behind my paleness and forehead sweat.
“Ok? You look sick. Are you alright? Oh man, if you’re sick, I’m not going out with you tonight.” All heart this one.
Alicia was sitting behind the cashier’s desk at the computer. Some of her co-workers were in the salon, some in the back and some only a few feet away from us. My back was turned to them so I could face my girlfriend. I reduced my voice to a whisper.
“Listen. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I talked to Mr. Bertolet (my boss) about this. Talked to my mom and dad and I talked to your parents.” I had asked Alicia’s parents for their blessing the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. They said yes.
“So I’ve been thinking and they all said the same thing. I need to tell you this. It’s too important to let go any longer.”
With that, I could feel the blood come back to my face and my sweat dry up. By some strange osmosis, my flush face and beads of sweat transferred to her face (she would tell me afterwards, she thought I was going to break up with her). I got down in front of her, on one knee, and pulled out the ring.
“Would you marry me?” You know the saying, ‘those seconds felt like a lifetime’? This was one of those moments.
“IohmygodIohmygoddidyoujust…” The rambling trailed off and was followed by her shaking.
“Was that a ‘yes’?” Because if it wasn’t, it was going to be a real pain to try and find the receipt so I could return the ring. Note: I thought that last line. I may be an idiot but I’m not stupid.
“Yes. Yes. Yes.”
The rest, as they say, was history…and was the start to some of the best conversations.
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