I needed some time to think this through and figure out what I wanted to say. Those of you who are Facebook friends with me know that I got engaged last Friday. A few of you asked for the story and I just wasn't ready to tell it. I still don't know if I am but I think more time won't help me.
We've known since we first started dating that we wanted to spend our lives together. I don't think it was ever in question. I mean, he decided within a month of dating me that he wanted me to meet his entire family (in Ohio!). We were dating 4 months when he designed the engagement ring he wanted me to have.
About a year into our relationship, we went on a trip to Universal Studios. I ended up having a REALLY bad day and Doug would have done anything he could to make me smile. In an effort to cheer myself up, I put a quarter in one of the machines and out came a star ring. Doug decided to propose. I should really let him tell this part.
Brenda Heather: "When did you decide [you wanted to marry me]?"
Douglas Alexander: "When you told me that you loved me.
And again when you said no to my offering of the plastic ring, because you wanted to be smiling when you accepted a ring from me."
So he waited and schemed. He called every jeweler he could find that would do custom jewelry and no one would do what we wanted. Almost every night over the summer, while he was interning in Crestview and I was at home, we'd discuss the ring. One night, I got so frustrated with the jewelers being unwilling or unable to do what we wanted--or even to call us back--and I asked whether he'd rather push us the wedding tattoos and make them engagement tattoos instead. So we decided to put the majority of the ring budget into the tattoos, buy a tasteful ring for the proposal, and spend the rest on video games. I came up the end of July and we got our matching ampersand tattoos. [Pardon the cell phone photo.]
The day after I came home, the ring arrived. But I had to wait 3 1/2 months until I could have it.
We used to joke that we were going to elope on 11-11-11 before I got sick. Maybe if our lives had turned out differently, we would have. Probably not. Our compromise was to get engaged. I'm not very good with surprises so I'm impressed that I didn't see the ring beforehand. I sort of knew what it was going to look like because I suggested it to Doug and then magically, Etsy said it was no longer for sale. (I am really bad at surprises.) But I could not have imagined how much I love it.
The actual proposal isn't one of those Hollywood-style big deal proposals. I think if Doug had tried something like that, I would have run away and hid. We went to the beach, the same way we've done so many nights before. I love to stare at the sky and watch for shooting stars. We talked about how fabulous the harvest moon is and how perfectly the sea reflected it. We watched airplanes fly through the clouds and I kept my eyes peeled for a shooting star. And then he asked me. I can't remember exactly what he said; all I know is that it was simple and truthful. He wanted me to do him the honor of being his wife and I love that idea. I said yes and as I did, I think I saw a shooting star. But I can't be sure because it happened so fast. Plus, what more do I have to wish for? This was my wish and it came true.
My ring is a shooting star. It's silver and has a message hand-stamped on it. "And into Faerie..." The line from Stardust (my favorite love story) in which Tristran Thorn steps out of his everyday life and into an adventure. When we posted a picture on Facebook and I explained what it said, a friend of ours pointed out the secret meaning.
Brenda Heather: the ring reads "and into Faerie..." it's from Stardust, one of my favorite love stories ever.
Christie: in that case, you must be the shooting star represented on your ring
I hope that wasn't a spoiler for anyone.
After, we celebrated the way Team Sandcastle celebrates everything: with Tijuana Flats. (He let me pick. We did something fancy the next night.) What more did I need? I have my "always, forever, and a moose"; then I got hot sauce.