Adventures of a (Second Time) Bride-to-BeMarch 15, 2011

Having found our wedding venue was such a relief! I was so disappointed about Key West, but really had high hopes for our new, summertime wedding in this city. I knew the area well and would find all the vendors I needed. Plus, I could add local flair since invites would be going to friends outside of Chciago; that would be a fun “detail” to work on because there is little better in the world than our summertime. It’s amazing!

Finding the venue & going to Geja’s for dinner was only part of the story for my Saturday, though. As if the weight of the venue being off my mind and a fine fondue dinner awaiting me downtown wasn’t enough, I have more to share that wouldn’t fit in last week’s post (or you may still be actually reading it!)A detail I didn’t add last week was that the day *before* we went to visit the garden, I’d found a set of tri-fold papers in the passenger seat of my car as we were headed out to a see a movie. I didn’t know what it was, figured it was something that belonged to the kids, and picked it up to look at it. Lawrence immediately saw it, grabbed it from me, told me to turn around, and then did a few other things in the car before I was allowed in. I looked at him suspiciously, but he’s so gentlemanly & always opens my door for me, I just let it go. I didn’t give it a second thought after that, actually; I figured it must be Christmas-related or he wouldn’t be so secretive.The night we went to the garden, though, I opened the center console to get my gloves, only to find that same stack of papers again. He wasn’t yet in the car, so I opened it up & started to read. I made it thru my name and a few words from the first sentence, but that was all I got before he realized I had it again. He snatched it away from me, but I wouldn’t let him off so easy this time… I asked what it was and wouldn’t let up, so he sheepishly admitted that he’d planned to ask me to marry him at dinner that night, but the engagement ring had been custom made & wasn’t done yet. He begged, bribed, and pleaded his case to the jeweler, but the volume of custom work for the holidays had them backed up; it wasn’t ready yet and there was nothing he could do. It had taken a while to design and he thought it would have been done long before, but changes kept being made and, ultimately, couldn’t be exactly what he wanted until the following week. He told me he was sorry I’d seen the note, that he’d wanted it to be a surprise, but had to confess because I thought the letter was something bad. He told me about the planned engagement because of the look on my face when I started reading the letter (although what I did read told me nothing)…I must’ve looked sad, like it was bad news.Geja’s had been reserved for a while because he’d planned the proposal date right after he asked for my dad’s permission back in September, so I knew he wasn’t just making up a story. I’d had no idea; I figured our engagement would be on another date for specific reasons, but it hadn’t been. I admit I was disappointed…but I’d already waited this long, so why not a little longer. I knew it was coming, but I still didn’t understand the letter. I assumed I’d find out eventually.We had a fantastic dinner, cheese fondue to start, meat & seafood with lots of veggies as the entrée, and then fruit & breads in chocolate sauce for dessert. We talked, laughed, had great wine, and I knew I was very happy to be marrying this man in the summer. Not our original plan of a wedding in the tropics, but maybe even a better one now that I’d seen Chicago Botanic Garden. Everything was right again in the world. That’s when it happened. NERD ALERT (you have been warned)…I believe in Newton’s Third Law of Motion…that is, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The world is always in balance; if something untoward happens in one place, something good happens elsewhere. Silly or not, it’s what I think when something I don’t like occurs; that somewhere, someone else is having something good happen. So, I just have to say that I am sorry for any inconveniences the rest of my story may have caused someone as a result.NERD ALERT OVER (you made it!)…As we’re eating the chocolate fondue and laughing, Lawrence has this cat-ate-the-canary look on his face. I asked him if I had oil from the fondue all over me (not uncommon, unfortunately) and he shakes his head, looking down. He reaches for his jacket and pulls that stack of folded papers out of it. I put my hand over my mouth, because I instinctively know what’s going to happen even if I don’t KNOW it’s going to happen quite yet.He opens up the folded papers and begins to read. “Alycia, our lives have traveled winding paths to tonight. Separate parallel paths most likely to never meet until decisions made unraveled and fate played its hand. In our lives we have learned to how to treat people, how we would like to be treated, what is important, the value of the tangible and the intangible, what makes us happy, why happiness is important, how to compromise, and how to love. On June 24 of this year, our paths crossed through fate or serendipity, and we found each other.”The letter goes on for two full pages of scripted font and he tells me all the wonderful things I am and all the wonderful things he wants to be for me. As he begins the final paragraph, he slides a box across the table, saying “Join me in this journey we call life and walk the path as it comes to us – high or low, wide or far, good and bad times, hand in hand knowing that I love you as truly and deeply as anyone can ever love another and will always be here for you as your friend, comforter, rock, protector, equal, lover, and if you say yes, husband. So, I ask you, Alycia – will you marry me?”I cannot speak through the tears rolling down my face, but nod my head boisterously as I take the box & open it with the hand that isn’t covering my mouth (still!). Inside, I find a gleaming diamond ring on its side; it’s a pave, twinelike setting that must be the most beautiful creation I’ve ever set my eyes on. As he’s watching, he says he was still waiting to actually hear my answer, so I choke out “yes” and slide the box back across the table for him to place on my finger. Apparently the story about the ring had been true, he didn’t know until that day if the stone would be set in time for dinner. He took it to the jeweler while I was at the gym; he usually goes with me to the gym, but said he had to run errands for Christmas, so I was none the wiser. It was the stone that was the holdup (he purchased it elsewhere), not the setting, and it arrived only the day before via FedEx (thanks FedEx!). OH MY GOD, though, I was engaged to be married! I had been planning a wedding for months and making plans for our future, but had no idea when I’d have a ring to show it to the world. But now, he had proposed, I had a story to tell (I always wanted that!), and he was able to do without my knowledge. He had me completely fooled, and that’s hard to do. But he got me. And, well, now he’s getting me for life. :)Oh, and one more thing. This beautiful letter, which he framed for me and is on my desk at home, has the date of when he actually wrote it of August 2, 2010. Six weeks after we met, he wrote his proposal to me and says he never changed a word once it was written. *swoon*Until next time…

“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise.
It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.”
~Ashley Montagu