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Once Upon a Time on December 9

The sun shone across the gravel parking lot of my parents office that Friday afternoon. A few months earlier I moved home from college. Just a week earlier I started a new job in my hometown. I ate lunch with my parents most of the week. My dad stood on the other side of the car. If only I could remember the whole conversation. The most important words he said still stick with me.

“Don’t let not having somewhere to live stop you from getting married. You can live in your grandmother’s house.”

The world tells us horrible stories about dads and their daughter’s boyfriends. Truth is, this boyfriend of mine won my parents over long before he won me over. Both our families and all our friends knew we would marry one day. But the timing held us back. Josh was still in college over an hour away. I just started my first professional job. So many questions hung over our head.

In that moment my father solved our biggest problem. I drove out of their parking lot and I knew our marriage would happen sooner rather than later. Now I just needed to convince my sweetheart to throw caution to the wind and propose to me. I laugh now. My poor sweetheart has dealt with my plans for such a long time.

Josh insisted he needed to study that weekend. He planned to stay at school and asked me not to come. Not exactly a stellar start to my plan to convince him we should go ahead and tie the knot.

Saturday morning he called to say he decided to move some of his things home from college and would I meet him at his parents house to help him unload.

Finally! I prayed the whole way to his parents house. My chance to convince him we could do this. We often talked about marriage and both knew we wanted to start our lives together...someday. School. Finances. Work. All the obstacles between us and happily ever after.

We finished moving his garbage bags of stuff back into his parents house and he reached into his pocket.

“Let me pay you for helping me,” he grinned.

I rolled my eyes. “You’re crazy.”

He took my hand. The prongs of a ring pricked my finger. He dropped to one knee.

“Will you marry me?”

He insists my first answer was “No way”. I try explain it was just part of the whole phrase that ran through my head. “No way is this actually happening to me!”

I said yes. He slipped this beautiful emerald-cut diamond ring on my finger. I remember very little after that moment. At one point we sat in a chair and made so many promises to each other. This marriage meant forever. Forever might not always be happy like this moment. We would face trouble, but we would face it together.

We spent the rest of the night calling family members and driving around to find our family who lived close so we could tell them the news.

I never had to convince him to marry me. God set up that conversation because He knew I was the one who needed to know the time was right. My dearest ordered that ring long before December 9, 2000.

So today we celebrate the anniversary of our engagement and all the laughter, tears and years we’ve shared since that day.

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