Eight years ago today, my husband asked me to be his wife. Of all the poems, short stories, articles and blog posts that I have ever written, the words below are my most favorite words ever penned.
I wrote these words a few days after our engagement weekend…
It came completely unexpected. I was at work in Tempe when Chris, my sister and my brother were escorted back to my desk. To say I was surprised to see them is an understatement. The words that the three of them along with two co-workers continually repeated were to pack up my laptop – it was time to leave. After a lot of confusion and a little bit of me debating with them and explaining my current work deadlines, I was in my boyfriend’s truck and we were headed west. My sister and my brother had retrieved my car from the parking garage and drove the opposite direction.
There were several questions I asked. And Chris had an answer for every one of them.
Why? What about my son who was in school that morning? What about the ‘sister’s weekend’ I had planned with my baby sister? (She drove 3.5 hours the night before to spend the weekend with me.) And what about my clothes, make-up, flat iron & shoes?
His Answers – It was time for a get-a-way… My son was going to stay the night with my Aunt on Friday and my sister on Saturday… My sister didn’t really drive up for a ‘girl’s weekend’… And everything I could possibly need was packed for me.
We arrived in San Diego that afternoon and checked in at the resort where we had our first date (which is also where we got married). That night we went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants downtown. Saturday morning we went to Seaport Village, watched the Air Races and later went out to Coronado Island. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my boyfriend was intentionally keeping me away from the resort and the beach that we would frequent whenever we stayed at that resort.
Chris received more text messages than normal that day and he was spending a lot of time going to the bathroom. Anytime I would ask about the texts he had a legit answer and so I quit asking. Mostly it was his friend Tommy and college football chatter… or so the story goes.
Just after 6:00 that Saturday evening Chris mentioned that he wanted to watch the sun go down. I was a little surprised however he had an answer for that too. My office was holding a summer photo challenge and the deadline to submit pictures was the following week. He said he thought I might get some nice sunset shots to enter in the contest. And so we walked out to the beach.
We sat on the beach, listened to the waves crash and watched the changing colors of the sky. We talked. We sat in silence. Then we talked some more.
After a time of silence Chris moved onto one knee… I swallowed hard… He shared the most kind words that were incredibly thoughtful & loving. He spoke of forever & family. And those sincere words ended with a proposal.
It was a beautiful and breathtaking moment. I was so excited that I couldn’t help but kiss him. And smile. And kiss him some more!
Moments later Chris was still on bended knee. He raised one eyebrow and I quickly realized that he was waiting on an answer!! I SAID “YES”.
My fiancé then placed the most beautiful ring on my finger and with tears in my eyes I considered pinching myself. We kissed and smiled at each other. We hugged and giggled. And then we kissed some more. The words he spoke as he asked me to be his wife replayed through my head over and over; and with butterflies in my stomach I kept telling him “I love you”, over and over.
All of the sudden I felt the need to tell the world! First, I wanted to call my son; then I wanted to text a picture to my family and friends. Chris agreed but said it would be better if we waited until we were in better lighting, he then mentioned that he was thirsty and suggested that since it was getting dark we should walk back over to the resort for a better photo and a drink.
On the walk back to the resort I couldn’t stand it anymore – I had to call my son!! He didn’t answer. I tried my brother. My brother answered after several rings and told me that he was in his truck on the way over to my Aunt’s house. He told me that he would call back as soon as he arrived.
As Chris & I entered the resort bar he said to me, “I have one more surprise for you”. I turned to look at him and as I did he shifted my body to face a group of people. They erupted in cheers. They were clapping and taking pictures. There were squeals and camera flashes.
It was not the paparazzi. It was both of our families.
My sister, my brother, my two aunts and three of my cousins, one of my closest friends from home and her daughter, my closest San Diego friend, my soon to be father-in-law, both future mother-in-laws and both sister-in-laws. They were ALL there.
While scanning the room and receiving congratulatory hugs I asked, “Where is Michael?” From the corner of the room with a smirk on his face and a little wave, Michael said “Hi Mom” and we embraced.
I was completely overwhelmed. Our family was in San Diego with us, for us. They had traveled over to be there for this moment AND they even brought party favors!
Everyone was wearing matching hats. A surprise my Aunts had coordinated for Chris. “Mr. Hat” himself. The hats were embroidered with a beach umbrella, waves, our initials and the year. All of the girls were also wearing huge plastic diamond rings that lit up with flashing lights. After celebrating in the hotel bar we all hopped aboard a bay cruise to continue the celebration on water. This was our engagement party. And it was perfect.
All these years later I am still amazed at the planning of those three days by my (now) husband. I am amazed at the lengths that one guy would go to for the love of his girl. How he spent three months coordinating the details and was able to arrange a room block in the same hotel for our family & friends without me ever knowing. How the ring he selected was completed seven weeks prior, yet he still waited. How he was able to keep it a secret and trust that everyone involved would not let it slip including co-workers, friends, three 12-year olds, a 9-year old & two entire families.
There were so many stories to share. The story of Chris asking my son, sister and brother if he had their blessing to propose to me. The truth that my aunt checked my son out of school on Friday morning and left for San Diego along with the rest of the family. Stories of all those texts tracking the whereabouts of each family member throughout the day, calls placed in every public restroom we passed, near mishaps including me standing 10 feet away from my friend and driving past family without even knowing it. There were pictures of my son and cousins at Sea World with my aunt on that Saturday. There were countless stories; and quite frankly – THERE WERE LIES.
But of all the stories from the months leading up to that moment, the words that Chris shared during his proposal and the engagement toasts offered; my most favorite words from our engagement weekend were the ones that Chris shared with me on our way home when he said…
“The hardest part was not telling you. I wanted to say ‘Trish, guess what I’m doing for my girlfriend?’. I wanted to tell you everything. I wanted to share all the details with you because you are my best friend. But I couldn’t tell you because it was for you.”