It was November. And Jon and I had been dating for eight months.
A month before, Jon had taken me on a hike up in the mountains about an hour away from my house. There was a huge river running through there and absolutely no one around. It was so peaceful and so wonderful! We had a picnic, we talked, we laughed, we cuddled by the river's edge and just watched the water.
It was very romantic.
So, I wasn't totally surprised when he wanted to go back before it got too cold to go again. He asked me if I wanted to go on his next day off, and days off were very rare with football games and practices every week, student teaching and classes.
Also about a month before this is when we started doing the "hypothetically" talk like this: "So, hypothetically that is, if we got married someday, when would you want to?"
I had been praying for eight months about whether or not Jon was the right one for me. And every day I just got more and more sure about it. I loved him. He loved me. We respected each other. We both loved God. Our families loved us both. There wasn't much else to think about at that point.
Still, I was figuring he was going to wait until after football season and after the holidays before he proposed. His family was coming in town for Thanksgiving that next week and I was excited to meet his brother Allen and his wife Vicky, who I hadn't met yet. I'd already met his brother Tommy and his wife Ashlee when they came through town before. And Jon had already asked me to think about coming out to California for New Years.
I figured he would wait until after the craziness had settled down.
We went for our next hike on a Sunday afternoon after church. I brought the sandwiches and Jon packed the rest of the stuff. The drive went by quickly, we talked about church stuff, the sermon, what his next week looked like, some questions that had come up with a few of the high school girls I met with.
Jon carried everything up the probably thirty or forty-five minute hike, we found the same spot we'd sat in before and spread out a big blanket. We ate our sandwiches, still talking, and just relaxed. It was a gorgeous day, but it was pretty cold too, so I was bundled up in a big sweatshirt of his after we'd been out there for maybe twenty minutes.
He stood up once we'd finished eating and cleaned up the food and stretched, then pulled me up too, wrapping his arms around me from behind. And we just stood like that for a little bit, watching the river, not really saying much.
At one point, he leaned down to get some chapstick out of the backpack we'd brought, but then he hugged me again and turned me around to face him.
"I love you," he said.
I nodded, not really paying attention, and cuddled back in for the hug. "Mm-hmm. I love you too."
He pushed me away again. "I'm so thankful that God brought you into my life."
It wasn't the first time he'd said things like that, so it wasn't out of the ordinary. Particularly in a sweet, romantic spot like a riverside picnic. So, I just nodded again. "Me too." Tried to go back in for the hug - partly because I liked hugging him, but partly because it was cold - and he again held me back at arm's length.
"I want to spend the rest of my life with you. So, I just have one question..." And he got down on one knee and pulled a little black box from his back pocket.
At this point, I was just completely surprised. "Oh my gosh!" I yelled. And then that's all I could say. "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. Oh my gosh!"
I don't think I ever said yes, but I guess Jon figured that's what I meant, because the next thing I knew, he was standing up again, had his arms around me and I had my very first kiss.
And let me say this: It was SO SO SO SO SO SO worth the very, very, very long wait!!! :)
It was perfect. :)
And then I finally saw the ring, which was gorgeous and about three sizes too big, but I was too stubborn to take it off my finger, so I just kept my fist closed the rest of the day. Which was such fun as we hiked back down to the car in the semi-darkness.
We drove back to my parents' house and I could NOT stop smiling. I smiled the whole rest of the night, I smiled the whole time we were saying good night before he left, I smiled the whole time I was getting ready for bed and finally I was in bed, by myself in the dark, and I STILL couldn't stop smiling.
Smiling and watching the way the ring glinted off the moonlight that was filtering through my blinds. And I couldn't sleep at all, so finally, about 4AM, I texted Jon, since he was supposed to be getting up around then for football practice.
I wrote this:
"WE ARE GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!"
I think he got nice and excited for what married life with me was going to be like then. :) Ha! Poor guy. He wrote me back and we ended up texting until six when he informed me that he actually didn't have to go to practice and so he could have actually been sleeping for the last two hours before needing to go to class all day.
And THEN started the crazy, horrible, sweet, awful, complete mix of emotions called engagement.
Wow... I can't believe it's been three years!! Time/life goes by fast when you are having fun with the one you love. :)
What are your engagement stories?? Or, where do you hope to be proposed to?