Fifteen years ago today, I said, “Yes.” It was the second day of the new century, and it’s my own darn fault I can’t say I’ve been engaged or married for the entire 21st century. Brian originally intended to propose on New Year’s Day 2000, but I was in a grouchy mood and not very pleasant to be around. We spent the day at his house and unbeknownst to me, the engagement ring was under the sofa the entire time.
Sunday, January 2, was a sunny day and after church, he suggested we drive down to Baltimore for a change of scenery. I had a cold and didn’t feel great, but agreed and off we went. We ended up at Fells Point. I don’t remember what we did initially that afternoon, but we ended up sitting by the water near a water taxi dock. Looking across Inner Harbor, we could see the sign for the Domino sugar factory.
I was sitting on his lap with my back to him. He had his arms around me, then reached into his coat pocket. I thought he was reaching for a tissue (since I was sniffling), but he was reaching in to pull out a delft blue porcelain box in the shape of a heart with the ring inside. I was stunned. I had absolutely no idea that he was going to propose. To this day, he will tell you that I took a sweet forever to say “yes,” so long that he thought I was having second thoughts. I maintain that it took me no longer than two or three seconds to respond. Regardless of whose account is accurate, I did answer affirmatively. And then I cried, as taxi passengers disembarked and watched.
Afterward, we went to dinner at McCormick and Schmick seafood restaurant, which has since become our “special occasion” restaurant. We called my mom and stopped by her house to share the news, then on the way back to Pennsylvania called my dad who said, “Well, he didn’t waste any time!” since Brian had just talked to him on Christmas Eve. I called Pam, who screamed and in her excitement, inadvertently crashed the keys on the piano, making Meghan cry.
The next evening we went to see Brian’s parents. His mother said, “Well, it’s about time.” We then went to see his sister and her husband, who spied the ring as soon as we walked in. When we shared the news with the kids, we got a mixed reaction, which was not surprising – really, who wants the news that their parent is getting remarried and that a new adult is going to play a substantial role in the life of your family? While not a surprise to the kids, it was still a significant change looming in their lives.
I recently took one of those silly BuzzFeed quizzes entitled, “What Kind of Couple Are You?” Our results accurately assessed us as a “Best Friends Couple.” And truly we are. We built a friendship before a romance, and that friendship is the foundation of our relationship and has been a sustaining force through good times and bad.
Fifteen years later, there’s a little less hair and more grey strands. More lines on our faces and life lessons learned. There’s been more joy and more challenges than either of us ever imagined. There’s been plenty of surprises along the way. But that’s how life is, isn’t it? It never exactly the matches the script we write for ourselves.
In the past 15 years, we’ve covered a lot of ground. I know the journey ahead holds more joy and likely more road bumps than I’d like. But what a gift to know I will share it all with the one I said yes to that day near the water taxi – the one I’ve said yes to every day since.