Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How We Got Engaged

Note: This is very long.  But just humor me, okay?

Two years ago today I was very, very tired because I had stayed up into the wee sma's getting engaged to Stephen P.

(Today I am very tired for a rather different reason, but suffice to say that it has something to do with the resident Inexhastible [she must have read OMF in the womb] and her assumption that she is exempt from sleeping for any length of time whatsoever.)

But anyways, two years ago (such a long time!) was the momentous day...er, night.  The story, for those of you who haven't heard it, or who need a refresher, goes something like this:

I suppose I should start at the very beginning.  Steve and I met at an alumni banquet at Cornerstone Bible Institute.  He was part of the visiting alumni and I was running around as a student doing various things to help pull the banquet off.  We chatted briefly and I, in a regular huff about Young Men in General, decided that I really didn't care two beans if this guy was talking to me.  I was sick of trying to pretend to be somebody I wasn't, so I just laid out all of my interests/dreams/beliefs in a matter of about 10 minutes and thought, Well, buddy, take it or leave it.

He took it.

Steve went back to Modesto, CA, and I went back to Nebraska.  We spent the summer sending epic-length Facebook messages, chatting until ungodly hours of the night, and generally getting more "in like."  I went back to school in Hot Springs and Steve went to finish his bachelor's degree at Calvary Bible College in Kansas City. (Little did I know that part of the reason for choosing said college was because he would only be twelve hours away from me instead of twenty-four.)  He came up to visit me at school in October and we proceeded to be horrifically awkward around each other and not talk for a few days.  That was retarded and tear-inducing ("I knew he was a jerk!" I kept saying to myself.)  But then we got over that stupidity and had a loverly 2+ hour talk about how we wanted to get to know each other better.

And we did.

We started talking on the phone and after each conversation was cut off at the blasted curfew of 10pm, I would lay in bed for hours freaking out about how much I loved him and how horrible it would be if he dumped me.  He came to my house for Thanksgiving and survived my family.  I banged my head on the bathroom wall every night after our discussions because I knew that I couldn't live without this guy.  I went to California for New Years and survived his family.  (And the beach.  If I couldn't marry into property, at least I could marry for location, right?)  We became "official" at Denny's at 3am while eating some horrendous potachos dish which I had to pay for with my last $8.  We went back to his house mutually elated (whilst our stomachs waged war against the potachos).

We texted.

Yes, I started texting because of Steve.  I became very adept at it in a very short amount of time.  And we were always grammatically correct in our messages, which thrilled me to no end.  We texted all day and all night and got very little sleep or homework done.  In February, we texted about Steve making a quick trip up to my house for a long weekend.  He was rehearsing for the role of Frank Butler in the college production of Annie Get Your Gun, but he could leave after rehearsals on Friday night and then we would have all of Saturday and most of Sunday together.  Brilliant plan!

Then things got interesting.

On the long anticipated weekend of great joy, my dear mother had to have an unexpected minor surgery.  Clara and I went home a day early to help out with the Heathen, and it was a good thing, too, since the minor surgery turned into a major issue which sent Mom to death's doorstep and back.  So with Mom and Dad at the hospital dealing with that trauma and me holding down the homefront with the kids, here came Steve with his long-time buddy Justin to spend the weekend.  And it was not the chillaxing time that we were anticipating.

On Saturday morning, Steve and I went to visit the parents at the hospital and go grocery shopping and escape the general chaos at home.  (Side note: While I was driving along, Steve said, "Can you drive with just your left hand?"  I said, "Well, of course I can!"  And then he grabbed my right hand and held it for the first time and I almost rear-ended the car in front of us in my shock. The end.)  While we were at the hospital (and unbeknownst to me), my dad cornered Steve in the hallway and told him that he and my mom totally trusted him and that he could do whatever with me.  Meaning that he had permission to propose.  Or something like that.  We went back to my house, prepared a huge dinner for the fambly and friends who had been invited over, and kept small children from killing each other or Justin.

Was I stressed out?  Absolutely.  My mother had almost died.  The heathen were out of control.  And I was totally falling apart in front of the guy I wanted the most to impress.  It was a horrible evening, during which I spent a quantity of time hiding in the bathroom crying.  The heathen didn't go to bed until after 11pm and Justin was snoring in the recliner.  Steve and I were sitting on the couch, staring at absolutely nothing after the insanity of the day.  I felt exhausted and overwhelmed and like a complete failure of a girlfriend.

Then he said, "Let's go outside."

Now, folks, let me remind you that this was February 22.  It was cold.  There was frost on the front deck.  But I said, "Sure," and quickly bundled up.  We stood out on the deck, shivering and looking at the stars and talking for a while.   And Steve said, "You know, I just think we should get married."  And I said, "Okay."

Thus, we got engaged.  That was it.  We spent another good two hours outside in the blessed stillness of the early morning, snuggling up on the porch swing to keep each other warm and talking.  It was splendid and I was too happy to really comprehend what was going on.  I wanted to stay up all night and never stop being with each other.  The next day (or rather, later that morning) was church, but we went to the hospital to talk to Mom and Dad while Clara, Justin, and the heathen did the spiritual thing. So with Mom looking rather green and hooked up to various and sundry wires, we made a list on the hospital white board of pros and cons of wedding dates.  We decided we just couldn't wait a whole year and wanted to get married that coming July - on my parents' anniversary.

Steve said, "So, do you want a ring?"  I always thought that gaudy engagement rings were not my type, plus Steve didn't have any money whatsoever (I had to buy our lunch again).  But I did want something to show that I was engaged, so we went to Alco and bought one of those silly $10 fake diamond rings.  It was pink and the fake metal turned my finger green.  But I wore it very happily for the next five months.

There you have it - the extended tale of our engagement.  It still makes me laugh and feel all giddy again to think about it.  I knew that we were right for each other when we got engaged, but little did I know how perfect we are for each other.  I can't imagine life without Steve and I'm so blessed to be his wife.

End sappiness.