December 6, 2013: A Sweet Surprise


It's official. Garrett and I are engaged. And I never thought there would be an engagement. A marriage; yes. But an engagement? That was a complete surprise.

We have recently been discussing marriage. But I thought the next step would be an entry into our combined Outlook calendars for a wedding date. Ultimately Garrett surprised me with the unexpected.

As you can surmise, there is a story that I will share. In this case there are really two stories that link together. One four years ago and the main feature; last night.

Let's start with the story of last night. This story centers around a ring. A beautiful ring. As Garrett and I discussed getting married, we agreed that details like a fancy white dress and wedding hoopla were unnecessary at our age with round two into the marriage arena. I was happy with this laid back approach.

The only detail where we differed in thought was on the ring. Garrett thought simple wedding bands would be nice. I didn't want to appear high maintenance, but thought a diamond would be nicer.

So I did what any good woman would do. I tried on rings without him. With wine in hand and cousin, Angelina, by my side, we visited Gunderson's Jewelers. My aunt, Kathy Valentino, is a sales consultant there and showed me countless rings. There was one in particular that caught my eye. It was gorgeous.

With no regard to the price tag and with the intent of giving Garrett a hard time, I snapped a picture and sent it to him. The caption read "this is the one I want". I cracked myself up as I assumed he was shaking his head at my antics. I went about my night and the ring soon became an afterthought. This was two weeks ago.

Last night was date night. Garrett and I decided to go to Gunderson's to visit Kathy and look at rings together. It was their holiday open house and other friends were there as well. As I continued to banter with Garrett on our differing thoughts on ring choices, Kathy told us the ring I had previously chosen had been sold.

I accepted this as fact and we tabled our ring discussion for the next week. Our date night continued at Garrett's choice of Roja, a favorite spot. As we sat at our table after toasting our margaritas, Garrett asked for my hand.

With sweet words of love and a sparkle in his eyes, he produced a box in his other hand. It was the ring I had fallen in love with. I was completely surprised as he asked me to marry him. The ring he presented was the one I thought had a different owner. After getting past the confusion of how he acquired the ring, I happily said "Yes".

I then learned the story behind the scenes. After I sent the original picture of the ring to Garrett, he promptly sent a text to my Aunt Kathy telling her that I was to have it. He bought it on the spot and it was placed in the safe until last night. As Kathy was telling me it had been sold, the box was secretly slipped to Garrett.

There is a moral to this first story. Even though it will be round two in marriage for both of us and, yes, we are old; getting married is very special. Having Garrett plan this special night was a wonderful surprise.

The second story centers around his choice of Roja. Most would think going to a Mexican restaurant for margaritas and tacos is pretty non-extraordinary. In our case, this isn't so. You see, four years ago I asked Garrett to marry me at the same spot where he now asked me. True story.

Garrett and I had been dating for two months back in December 2009 and were completely smitten with each other. We had become confidants, best friends, and just plain adored being together. As in any new relationship, we were enjoying the fun and newness of "the dance". There was chemistry and much bantering between us.

On that particular night, Garrett had flown in to escort me to my company's holiday party. We danced the night away like a couple of young teenagers. We enjoyed every second of each other's company. As we drove home, I didn't want the night to end and asked if Garrett would like to have a margarita at my neighboring restaurant, Roja. He was all in.

It was a frigid night, just like last. Garrett was dressed up in a suit with a tan winter overcoat. I have to admit that he looked very handsome as we sat at the bar and sipped our margaritas. We talked nonstop. And then my random thoughts came out as words.

Me: "Can I ask you a hypothetical question?"

Garrett: "Sure."

Me: "If we could get married, would you marry me?"

With our differing home cities and newness of divorces, Garrett and I had treated our courtship like something of a fairy tale. Where could it realistically go?

Garrett was visibly taken aback by my question. In retrospect; rightfully so. He paused. Then looking me in the eye, he answered.

"Yes, I really think I would."

And I knew he was telling the truth.

We laughed and finished our margaritas. For the last four years, this has been our running joke. That I asked Garrett to marry me. I guess I hypothetically did. But I'm sure glad he popped the question back to me four years later. And in a very special way.

He bought me the ring of my dreams. He painstakingly tried to surprise me. And then chose a spot with a memory that is very special to us. The best part was the look in Garrett's eyes last night. It was just as loving and sweet as it was four years ago. You can't fake happiness and true love. That's the best gift of all. To love and to be loved.

Now it's time to turn the page to the next chapter of the fairy tale. Living happily ever after....

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