Wednesday, June 29, 2016

When A Man Loves A Woman

Like most young women, I dreamed about meeting my Prince Charming who would sweep me off my feet and marry me. Of course, he would propose with a diamond ring befitting his princess. I had mine all picked out. A heart-shaped diamond in a plain white gold band (because I wasn't savvy enough yet to want platinum).

When I met Wingman, my list of suit-wearing, corporate job holding requirements went right out the window because he was in a band. But that didn't stop me from wanting that ring.  As time went on and friend after friend got engaged and married, I got more and more agitated.  When was it going to happen to me?

Then he hit me with the bomb: he thought we should see other people because I wanted to settle down and he didn't. When he found out that I actually DID date someone, he wasn't real happy about it. And he did something quite amazing in the parking lot of the bar that he was playing at.  He proposed.

Not with a heart shaped diamond, but with a Burger King onion ring. He was "pretty sure" we could be a good couple.  It wasn't quite the romantic prose I had hoped for, so I did the only logical thing-I ate the onion ring. Which was actually a good thing, because the next day, he called to say that whatever he had said the night before I should forget because he couldn't remember it anyway.


It stayed that way until the Christmas before the BFF got married and he wanted to move in to our apartment. My ultimatum was "no rock-no roll". So on Christmas Eve, with a note attached to a can, he told me to go to the empty apartment next to ours and my gift was there. The BFF and I made a mad dash-looking on shelves and fireplace mantels for "that" box.  In kitchen cabinets and bathroom medicine closets.  We ignored the tarp-covered pile in the middle of the room, and the look on Wingman's face got more and more sad.  Because, as the BFF discovered as she pulled away the tarp, "The Rock" was actually a Bentwood Rocker and that the can was stain to repair any dings that might happen.

I accepted.

We spent our Honeymoon in Italy, and while he found a deli for prosciutto, I found a jewelry store for a ring. Not an engagement ring since we were past that point, but a band with five little diamonds.  It caused our first married fight and we spent the afternoon in stony silence, only broken when he grumbled "I'm buying golf clubs when we go home".

Flash ahead 20 years.  We were on our second home and were planning to redo the kitchen.  I had my wish list of appliances which included a 6-burner Viking stove.  We spent a lot of time cooking for family and friends and I needed something bigger that the gas oven with two dinky shelves. We agreed that we wouldn't buy Christmas gifts and would invest in the kitchen instead.

And then the idiot did the unthinkable.  He gave me a diamond engagement ring for Christmas. At that point, I was truly over the ring thing.  Worse yet, it was the exact opposite of anything I would have picked.  Yellow gold not white. Marquis not solitaire (20 years made me a purist).  The Sex and The City episode where Aiden gave Carrie an ugly ring kept repeating through my mind. I hardly wore it and was angry because it was at least the price of my stove...

Son #1 got engaged while living in China.  He gave his fiance a promise ring with a cubic zirconium until he could afford the real thing.  As they made plans for their wedding, I thought "give him the ring to give to her". Not only that, but because neither of us wore our wedding bands, we had them resized and gave them as well. I figured at least someone would finally wear the rings. In truth, I've never seen her with the diamond on, and neither of them wear the bands. So now I keep thinking that if I had kept that ring, I'd probably sell it and buy the stove.

All this leads up to what happened this week. About a year and a half ago, one of my associates at work met a great guy. After Christmas this year, I had them and some other people from my team over for dinner and the subject of marriage came up. I said that watching a surprise proposal was on my bucket list, and he casually said he could make that happen. So she, like me 30+ years ago, couldn't wait for the day. She kept waiting for me to be somewhere they were, knowing that he would pop the question.

On June 3rd, he shot me a text, and said to be prepared.  He originally planned one date, but things didn't pan out. I was as excited as she was going to be! Finally, he had me meet him at their new condo and hide in the trees across the street.  As they were having pictures taken by her brother at the front door, I snuck up and hid behind a car (glad that no neighbors were watching and called the police).

And with that, he went down on one knee, and with no one but her brother and I there, asked her to marry him.  She sobbed-especially when he pointed out that I was there. He surprised her in a way that only a very special, very romantic man could have.

And the ring is lovely.  Everything that my now self would have always treasured in a ring.  The center solitaire diamond was his grandmother's set in a white gold band. Pure magic.

So now I have that happy memory to check off my Bucket/Awesome List.  In the past 16 months I've been fortunate to check off a great vacation with the family to Hawaii, Fourth of July Fireworks in NYC, tiptoeing through the tulips in Amsterdam, and now this.

With my list getting shorter, it's time to add some new things. Ryan Eller posted a list of 281 Awesome Bucket List Items which included things I've done like skydive and spend New Years Eve in Times Square. So I'm thinking of adding riding in a hot air balloon, walking a length of the Great Wall of China, having six-pack abs and buying a Viking stove.

And finding a man who likes to cook to share it with me.

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