Ten years ago today, on the 2nd of March, 2001 (03-02-01) I said "Yes" and agreed to become Mrs RRL. It was one of the top two most significant affirmative answers I've given in my lifetime.
But I didn't say "Yes" until he asked a second time and that is the part of the story I'm anxious to tell.
I've never documented this story before. Except in my personal journal. Until very recently, RRL and I never shared the entire story together. We'd each shared pieces of it with close friends and family, occasionally with teenagers who asked or jokingly referred to its events. On the tenth anniversary of our engagement, though, it seems appropriate to add it to our family blog, our chronicle of what is molding and shaping our family. I always use lots of words when telling stories...I can't help myself (sorry). And this story is no different, too many good details to leave anything out. Apparently, I felt the same way 10 years ago, because I filled pages and pages sharing it. I'm going to start by just typing straight from my college journal and then add some commentary, so I'm sure this will end up being more than one post.
It has been more than one month since we were engaged (3-2-01)! Things are not perfect, as they will never be, but God is at work in our relationship. (We had already navigated some difficult days in our relationship. We'd broken up for more than 4 months and had been to counseling to help work through some of our differences in our family backgrounds. Much of that is way too personal for the www, but if you ever want to know more, I'd be happy to share in person) It sometimes scares me to not know where we are headed, but I'm so excited to go down this path with him. The past month has been the first period of time since we started dating that I knew, from deep down inside of me, that he WAS INDEED the one God has been preparing as my husband. What an amazing feeling. It took saying "No" to RRL, though, to have that confidence.
THE STORY OF OUR ENGAGEMENT...
I'll start from the beginning...On Wednesday, RRL asked me if we could have a special date on Friday night. Although he has been taking me on "special dates" a lot recently to try to throw me off, (He was so tricky, determined that the nigh of our engagement would be a complete surprise. On more than one occasion he had taken me on an amazing date, lead me to believe "this was it" and then calmly just taken me home. What a punk.) this time just seemed different He was almost nervous just to ask me out on the date and I had to hide my face for fear my grin would would let him know what I suspected. I could hardly wait until Friday, and I tried to convince myself that I was reading too much into it because I did not want to be disappointed if it wasn't really "THE night" I had been anxiously waiting for. (I was so young- I read so many of my immaturities in the way I was "anticipating" him asking me to marry him. But it really was such a FUN thing to wait for).
Friday afternoon I saw R's cousin, K, and she was so excited, but couldn't really tell me why. Then she made some comment about how much RRL and I were going to be driving over the weekend. That was the clincher. I knew that she meant we were going to be driving to Nashville and the only reason we would drive to Nashville was if I was really ENGAGED (I'd had to do so many things "long-distance" with my family. I had made it very clear that I was going to tell my Momma and Daddy in person that I was getting married)!! Still, though, I tried to push the thought from my mind (unsuccessfully, I might add!)
Finally, 7:30 rolled around. RRL picked me up wearing his nice suit and looking AMAZING (Amazing was double underlined in my journal- ha.). He told me he was taking me to dinner, but wanted to blindfold me so that the destination would be a surprise. When he took the blindfold off we were inside the cutest little guesthouse, a one room that included a living area, bedroom area, and a kitchen. Everything was so nicely decorated with matching furniture and antques, so I KNEW that this was not any of our college friends' houses (haha, our houses consisted of parents' leftover furniture, and Club pictures as decorations), but he wouldn't tell me where we were. He had an amazing table laid with a lace cloth, candles, china, 6 gorgeous red roses that were just huge, sparkling grape juice and coconut shrimp from Red Lobster (my favorite!!) I do like Red Lobster, but you know we were in Abilene if I actually called it my favorite- the choices were slim apparently.
We ate, only neither of us really touched our food, we laughed nervously and smiled unendingly. When we were leaving he took me outside to let me see where we were. I was SO surprised and SO impressed. He had arranged for us to eat in my favorite house in all of Abilene. This is the cutest house on Cedar Crest, just a couple of blocks from school and every time I go past it I say "that is my favorite house in Abilene." (I loved it because it had these amazing trees in the front yard that framed it like a picture in a storybook, it reminded me of home). Apparently one of his friends knew the people that lived there and asked if we could use their Bed and Breakfast, a back part of the house. That was one of the most thoughtful things that anyone has ever done for me which made it all the more exciting.
Next we went out to "our spot" in the country where we would go dancing sometimes. We danced there after our first Club Formal together and we had our first kiss there. Anyway, he took me there to dance after dinner and he had a CD made of all our favorite songs to dance to (he really put so much thought into this night). As we were dancing to "our song" from Hope Floats "Chances Are", he got down on one knee and said a bunch of sweet things (which I don't remember because I was so nervous), then he pulled out the ring box.
I had always told him that I didn't care what the ring looked like because I know he doesn't have much money. I told him that even if he just tied a gold string around my finger, I would be thrilled. When he opened the box, a piece of gold string was tucked inside in the shape of a ring. He slipped it on my finger as he asked me to marry him and I realized that it was attached to something so I started pulling on the end of the string. As I pulled, more and more of the string came out of his pocket until I had a whole wad of it (really, i used the word wad)! At the end of the string was a beautiful solitaire ring.
This is where things start going from extremely exciting to extremely weird...
More tomorrow. With pictures.