To be honest, I meant to post this on Friday, but spent all day looking for a dress to wear to my cousin’s wedding and then out celebrating with The Captain’s family at The Western Village. However, posting it exactly two weeks after we got engaged gives me time to reflect and give the full details of hindsight that posting right after it had happened would’ve lacked.
So we’ll go back to the night of April 13, 2015. It was The Captain and my two year anniversary and, after he picked me up from class, we went out to dinner. Olive Garden, which is about as fancy as two broke college kids can get. I’d spent the weekend mulling over what I was going to eat—get pasta and be a bloated mess? Eat light and get dessert? I chose the latter and had breadsticks, salad, Zuppa Toscana, and a lovely tiramisu. The Captain had his usual chicken parmigiana. We drove back home and went up to our room to exchange presents.
My awesomely-wrapped present was handed over to him. It didn’t take him long to unwrap (because it was two paper bags in each other, creating a box-like thing) and he seemed surprised. That’s because I got him the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. We’d been in the store a week before and he’d mentioned liking it, so that’s what he got. This is because I bought him a gym membership is February that he hasn’t used. So, little present.
For some reason he wanted to film me opening my present, and I agreed because it was our anniversary and he seemed so sincere. (Because of my body issues I generally don’t like having pictures taken or being filmed). He asked me to close my eyes and when I opened them I was holding a beautiful photo album with a picture of us and our boys on the front.
And so I went on to turn page after page of pictures, going chronologically through our relationship. From the selfie that was my profile picture on the site we met on—his first impression of me—to a picture I took to show off my new NYX matte lip cream just a few weeks before. Pictures of us together, pictures of Lenin when he was kitten, pictures of Logan, pictures of us with his family, pictures of us with my family… Getting close to the end I was already tearing up.
There was one page left, and I flipped it over—completely focused on the album. It was a picture of The Captain, smiling and holding a little black box and a ring. I looked away from the album to see my boyfriend kneeling on the carpet of our little bedroom, holding a box that read, “Check the back pouch.” Already crying, I turned to the back of the album, finding a ring.
“Will you marry me?” he said.
I could only reply with four words. “Oh my God, yes!”
Then I was too busy kissing him and crying to care about the ring, because this was something I’d been hoping for my whole life, and something that I’d thought about with The Captain just a few months after we’d started dating.
Eventually, he got me to pay attention to the beautiful ring that was in the pouch, pulling it out and putting it on my finger. It was a Claddagh ring with a sapphire heart.
In case you’re unfamiliar, a Claddagh (claw-duh) is a traditional Irish ring with great symbolism to it. Depending on how you wear it, it can mean anything from being single to being married. The ring itself it a pair of hands (symbolizing friendship) holding a heart (symbolizing love) and with a crown (symbolizing loyalty) on top. These are the three things that are important to a healthy relationship.
Still crying, our roommate and close friend got home, just in time for The Captain to share the good news. I’m still not sure whether or not this was a mistake. Just twelve hours later, our friend posted a congratulatory message on Facebook, causing me to panic because I hadn’t told anyone at that point. So I untagged myself, hid as much as I could, and prayed that no one had seen it in the twenty minutes that it was online.
That night I told my mom, stepdad, and sister. It was mildly embarrassing because I was hiding my left hand in my pocket for about fifteen minutes before I got up the guts to share the news. They were happy (of course), although my sister did ask if we’d eloped.
The next day (Wednesday by now) I sent out texts to my closest friends. This was probably another mistake on my part although I tried to keep it confined by asking the people to keep it a ‘social media secret’ and not share the news. I also asked a few people not to tell my maternal extended family, because I knew I was returning to my hometown that weekend to share the news. All of my friends seemed happy. My best girlfriends/future bridesmaids had already known I suspected The Captain was going to propose, and they were over the moon.
Thursday was a relatively calm affair where I was allowed to bask in the glow of engagement.
On Friday I scheduled a FaceTime appointment with my family in New Zealand. After some talk about school, the weather, and rugby I told my dad that The Captain and I were engaged. He definitely seemed surprised (he hasn’t met The Captain yet), and mentioned that he now had to change his Dad-Questions since ‘what are your intentions?’ has been answered. I suggested ‘what is your five year plan?’
Then I told my Mum—evil stepmum to be accurate on her behalf—and she also seemed surprised. Keeping in mind that I am ‘only’ twenty-one, I do seem quite young to be getting married, but the upside of that is that we’re having a three year engagement. My brothers were both excited, one showing it more than the other since I think he has a man-crush on The Captain.
After our FaceTime, I sent off e-mails to my paternal grandparents and my aunt in New Zealand to share the news. Congratulations all around since I’m the first grandchild to get engaged in that half of the family (which makes me feel special).
Then it was time to head to Lakeview, Oregon—hometown of my heart. After a long drive with a half-asleep Captain beside me and my iPod on some great music, we got to my grandparent’s house at one in the morning. I slept on the floor in the living room, and he got a guest bedroom. I was so tired that my anxiety didn’t even act up.
I visited some ‘family’ friends (who are basically family) that I had told earlier. We got our congrats and talked for a bit before heading back to my grandparent’s. I was waiting to tell my grandparents shortly after a shower, but my grandma decided that 8:15 was a good time for bed so I had to jump the gun. Stopping her, I reached into my pocket for the ring (I hadn’t been wearing it), turned on the big overhead light, and announced our engagement.
This was one that I was worried about. For the longest time I was the baby of the family, and I spent a lot of summers with my grandparents. However, I shouldn’t have worried at all because they were happy for us and my grandpa pointed out what a big year this has been (I’m the third to get engaged) for our family.
On Sunday, we hosted a get-together to tell the rest of my family. Somehow, one of my cousins already knew—probably from one of the people I’d texted on Wednesday—so I gave up on caring and just enjoyed spending time with the people I loved. After a delicious lunch, we clinked a glass to get everyone’s attention, announced our engagement, basked in the happiness, and then realized that one of my aunts had been in the bathroom and had to do it all over again.
On Sunday night, after getting home from Lakeview, I posted a picture of me waving ‘goodbye’ to my maiden name on Facebook and Instagram, and changed my relationship status to Engaged. It is the most likes and comments I’ve gotten on anything in a long time.
And so, here we are. Two weeks after I’ve gone from being a girl in a relationship to being someone’s fiancée. I’m still not used to it, still not sure how to feel, but I’ve got three years to realize that my Cinderella dream is coming true.
And so, The Captain and I are pleased to announce our engagement to the world.