In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up (and because of my sweet friend Kristin’s inquiry), I’m sharing our engagement story today.
We started dating in December 2003. Both off of relationships that spring and not particularly interested in impressing the other one. Which is probably why we impressed each other so much. Our first date was five days after the night we met at a Jackopierce concert.
And then we dated and dated and dated. When his sister asked me in February of 2005 to be the godmother to her son (and for him to be the godfather), I asked him if this made sense given that we weren’t engaged. He replied, “I know it feels like putting the cart before the horse, but there is a horse.” So I gladly accepted the role of godmother and rode on the hopes of that horse for another six months.
In September 2005, I turned 32. I was confident the proposal was imminent. As in ON the night of my birthday celebration. I mean he took us back to the restaurant where we first had dinner together. Before dinner, we met his sister and her husband (who were big proponents of our marriage, see the aforementioned godmother request) for cocktails. There was a celebratory air to the evening. We returned to my townhouse at the end of the evening, and he pulled out a small jewelry store bag. Inside was a little velvet box. Inside the little velvet box was a diamond heart necklace.
I may not have completely flipped out on that Friday evening, but by Sunday afternoon I was curled up in the fetal position in his bedroom whining, “Where is this going??? My lease is expiring and I have no idea what I’ve been doing for the past two years.”
I may have been slightly prone to the dramatic. MAYBE.
What we couldn’t have foreseen was that less than two weeks later his family’s farm would be decimated by Hurricane Rita. He spent that entire week, along with his siblings, helping his parents do the immediate recovery work. What I also didn’t know at the time was that his mother had long since given him her original engagement diamond which he had designed into an engagement ring for me with their family jeweler. Located in Lake Charles. Also completely devastated from Hurricane Rita.
The jeweler finally reopened for business, and the rescue of my engagement ring, the week before Halloween. Bray picked up the ring in Louisiana and headed back to Houston. Halloween fell on a Monday, so there were multiple Halloween parties we were invited to the preceding Saturday. Also falling on Halloween Monday was Bray’s week long hunting trip to South Dakota. Since he must have sensed my precipitous decline in faith in our relationship, he identified a very small window where he could still propose to me without my neurosis freaking him out so much as to make him decide against it!
Saturday evening we stopped by my friend Julie’s party. This is what we looked like:
I was Ms. Halloween 2005 while Bray was a rig worker. Yep, candy pumpkins in that rhinestone tiara. Very glamorous costumes!
After Julie’s, we popped over to Stacy’s Halloween party. Those party guests were the last to spot my husband as a free agent! We ended the evening back to my townhouse, and he ran out to the truck to get something. Back he came with a small brown leather purse. He’d recently returned from hunting in Argentina and said he had picked this purse up for me. As he started to hand it to me, he got down on one knee (which I later found out was all his sister’s doing, thank you Candace, because he thought it would be too cheesy!). There I sat in full costume on the couch, bright orange hair and all, and he asked me if I would marry him and opened a little velvet box where my engagement ring lay nestled.
He could have knocked me over with a feather (which apparently was his intent – he later said, I would NEVER have proposed when you were expecting it). I promptly said yes and smothered him in kisses.
By way of an epilogue, that Monday he did in fact fly to South Dakota, and I did try a huge pro bono case for a Hurricane Katrina family which I won and made the 6 pm news. Nonetheless, when he called to check in Monday night, I had both the church and the hotel for the reception ready to be booked:
Me: How does May 6th sound for a wedding? It’s the only Saturday morning both the church and hotel are available.
Him: Um, okay.
Me: Great, I’ll sign the contracts tomorrow. Have fun hunting honey! Oh, and I won my case today.
Him: Good. (I’m sure thinking – WHO am I marrying?!?!?!)