When I was 18, a friend of mine moved in with her new boyfriend and promptly decided to throw a party. After getting to the party I found out she wasn’t there yet, and I was on my own in a house full of strangers. I spent the night avoiding a crazy girl that alternated between crying because her boyfriend broke up with her, and being ticked off that he was there and ignoring her; and checking out the single guys my friend’s boyfriend had over. The only one that really caught my eye was the crazy girl’s ex-boyfriend, and I was not about to get in the middle of that drama.
A year later, that same friend of mine invited me to a Halloween party at another friend’s house.
I was 3 ½ months pregnant at the time, not showing, and bored out of my mind. Obviously I was meant to be the sober driver, but I was ok with that because it meant I was doing something other than sitting at home. After the party that night my friend, her boyfriend and I went home with a friend of his, rather than drive all the way back home at bar close. After a night of sleeping on a futon with my friend, I woke up in the morning to discover that the friend whose house we’re at is the crazy girl’s ex-boyfriend from the first party. I recognized the terrible timing and had to laugh; what man in his right mind would want to go out with a girl that’s pregnant?
My friend and her boyfriend were on again off again for the next 8 months. That meant I didn’t get to see the crazy girl’s ex-boyfriend again, which was probably just as well since I became a single mom during that time. In June I got a call from my friend: They were getting married, and she wanted me to be in the wedding. Talk about timing. My daughter was born two months before and I was lucky enough to be losing all the weight with nursing, so if I had to wear a bridesmaids dress now was the time.
When I got to the church the first thing I noticed was one of the groomsmen. He looked familiar but I wasn’t sure why, and I had given up the idea of becoming involved with anyone until my daughter was older, so I tried not to pay him much attention. Over the course of the day, I found that to be impossible. He was so nice to look at, he was funny, he drove this cute little plum-colored Mitsubishi Eclipse convertible, and halfway through the reception it occurred to me that this guy I was hooked on was the crazy girl’s ex-boyfriend.
I was terrified when he asked me to dance. All I could think was that as soon as he realized I had a kid I would never see him again, but if that’s what happened then I didn’t want him anyway. We spent the rest of the reception dancing and talking and getting to know each other. When the time came for me to go home, he walked me to my car, kissed me, told me he’d call me on Tuesday, and kissed me again. He did not call me on Tuesday. I knew it. He had changed his mind, he realized he was going to date someone with a kid and came to his senses in time, he was just bored at the wedding and I was there. With all those thoughts running through my head, it’s amazing I was able to hear the phone ring at all on Wednesday night. It turned out he had gotten sick on Monday and wasn’t feeling well enough to call until Wednesday. What’s that they say about making assumptions?
Our first date was a little crazy. He drove the hour to my house and we went out for lunch at a little dive bar in Braham. Yes. We went to Braham, but your options are severely limited on a Sunday afternoon in the Cambridge area. He drove me home with the top down, and told me the story about how, his dad took the money he’d been saving to buy his mom an engagement ring, and went and bought a boat instead. He ended up spending the rest of the evening at my parents house, after my mom invited him to stay for dinner. What she neglected to mention was that she had invited my Grandpa and Grandma, and my aunt and uncle, for dinner as well. Top that off with a walk around the property with my dad and a visit by my cousin and his wife and you have a slightly terrifying, completely insane first date. I felt incredibly blessed when he kept calling and visiting me.
After that first date, it wasn’t too big of a surprise to me, that when he asked me to marry him it was slightly terrifying and completely insane.
One night, after we had been dating for 10 months, we had some friends over to eat, drink and play games. We were in the middle of playing The Newlywed Game when one of our friends came back from the bathroom saying he plugged the toilet. Now, the toilets in our old house were notorious for plugging. You could plug them if you tried to flush more than 4 squares of paper down the toilet, so I didn’t pay much attention to Andy getting up to help.
Apparently that was when he told our friend to read a certain question and got the ring out of the golf bag it was hiding in.
One of the questions in the next round was “If you could choose how your significant other would re-propose/propose to you, how would you have him do it?” I was freaking out. How the hell would I answer that? I didn’t want Andy to think that I was telling him how to ask me to marry him. I mean, it’s not as though we hadn’t talked about it before. I wouldn’t have moved in with my daughter if we weren’t already planning to get married. I had bridal magazines on my nightstand for crying out loud.
When it was my turn to answer the question, I was still trying to come up with an answer. It took me a moment to realize it had gone silent. When I looked up, Andy was on one knee in front of me with a ring in his hand. I could see his lips moving, but I couldn’t hear anything he was saying. All I could do was cry. I couldn’t even get a yes out, just tears! I remember everyone laughing when Andy asked if all those tears meant “Yes!”. I managed to get out three or four yeses before I had to cry again. He told me later he wasn’t sure if all those tears were a good thing.
I’d never been one for sharing my moments with other people, but having the man you love show all your friends just how much he loves you back is a little heady. We’ll be celebrating our 10th anniversary next year, and it feels like we’ve been together forever. In a good way!