Sixteen years ago this week, my husband got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I answered yes (obviously). But the bigger question here is, who remembers an engagement anniversary?
(Except for my niece, whose engagement video (yes, video) went viral on Youtube and ended up on syndicated television in the US. I can see how maybe she might remember that 16 years on.)
But the rest of us. Really?
Or maybe it’s just me?
I’m not really great with dates in general. But for some reason this one has made its way into my love’s Blackberry calendar. (He’s evidently not that great with dates either.) So, we celebrate the engagement. I won’t ever complain about dinner out.
While I don’t have any recall on the date, I do remember the occasion perfectly. He hatched the plan one evening, getting my two daughters—who were eight and 10 at the time—to scheme along with him.
I was taking evening classes, finishing up the last few requirements of my degree program while working full-time, so every Tuesday evening, he would come over to my place and watch the girls while I was at school.
In my absence, they concocted a plan that involved a tin foil ring (and a couple of prototypes).
When I got home from school, they ambushed me, so I didn’t have time to be annoyed that they weren’t in bed yet. (Well played, kids!)
Giggling, the girls greeted me at the door and led me to where Chris was waiting with a ring box in his pocket. When I was positioned in just the right spot (masking tape x on the carpet?) he dropped to one knee and took my hand.
He pulled the box out of his pocket and proceeded to open it, revealing the most beautiful tin foil engagement ring I had ever seen. (In fact, it was likely the only tinfoil engagement ring I had ever seen… for reasons which will quickly become apparent.)
As he attempted to slip it onto my ring finger, it fell apart—which is where the prototypes came in handy. Quickly, the kids whipped out another one, hopefully sturdier than the last. Note to self: back-up engagement rings should be a thing!
They instructed me to close my eyes and swapped out the tinfoil beauty for an actual real engagement ring. And I knew when I opened my eyes that we weren’t playing anymore. Suddenly, this was real.
We had talked about marriage, so it wasn’t a complete surprise. We hadn’t talked timing, so a Tuesday evening in October was a surprise. But it was a welcome surprise.
It wasn’t a decision I made lightly. My yes didn’t just impact him and me and the fluttery butterflies of new love. My yes was a commitment on behalf of my daughters too. I had to decide that I was willing to take a chance on love again and this time had to consider there were three hearts involved. No longer just one.
There were some people in my life who, for one reason or another, thought I was making a mistake. Another mistake, perhaps. After all, look how well the first marriage worked out for me. By that token, maybe I should have been more skeptical of the symbolic properties of a ring that promptly fell apart?
But 16 years on, this man has cherished and loved not only me, but my daughters too, more than I ever could have hoped for or imagined.
It had nothing at all to do with the ring and—tinfoil or gold—the promise it held is what counts.
During our wedding ceremony four months later, he included vows to both my daughters also, presenting them each with a keepsake box marking a day that was significant for all of us. (Tucked inside each box resides one of the tin foil prototypes.)
Two more daughters now round out our estrogen-heavy family. And I could not ask for a more kind, gentle, loving guy to wrap his arms around us all.
These days, his knees aren’t quite what they used to be. A lifetime of soccer is taking a toll on his body, piece by piece. But if he happened to bend awkwardly down in front of me with a twisted up piece of tinfoil in hand, I’d say yes all over again. (And then help him up.)