I’m sure every married person has the memory of their engagement as a day that they will never forget. I’ve heard of lots of creative ways for people to propose from the simple bended knee to the extravagant sky writing type scenarios. Poor Tom says I ruined the moment for him–but I say, well, at least I said yes, and no doubt we will never forget it.
Our courtship began when we got together with a group of friends that just wanted to hang out, and were frankly tired of the dating scene. I was in my late 20’s and my most recent suitor was a bit of an oddball. He was funny and nice enough, but it seemed like I was doing all the work to keep things going–from me treating all the time, I being the one to constantly head to his house instead of him making the 30 odd minute trek to my house, etc. I actually ended up dumping him on the phone (awful, I know, but I was just “done”). He was calling to tell me that he was cancelling yet again. I just lost it and told him I’d rather be single, don’t bother calling again. Ah. It was a quite a relief, actually, and I thought to myself, I’d much rather be a happy spinster than put up with this nonsense all the time.
Little did I know that a friend of mine had been saying for months that she’d love for Tom (my now husband) to meet me, as she thought we’d get along very well. Turns out he also was at this meeting of single minded folks, and still had war wounds from a recent break up himself. I remember saying to myself, hmm, he’s pretty cute and very funny, but obviously on the rebound, don’t need any more drama in my life right now. Of course Tom doesn’t agree, but hey, he sparked my interest. A couple of months later he showed up at a local pub where I was meeting some mutual friends for St. Paddy’s Day, and we just clicked. We had a great evening talking and laughing, and I was tickled to receive a business card from him so that I could have lunch with him soon, as we happened to work just down the street from each other. After he left, and I held up his business card to my friend Tom–he said, “Oh that guy? He gives his card to everyone”, as he held up the card he also received from him. Hmmph. Well that didn’t sound very promising. But. I picked up the phone, and we hit it off from the get go. Ironically I had said from the very beginning that I’m a very independent girl that needs LOTS of space, and I think we talked or met every day from that point forward. I guess if it works, it just works.
Fast forward a year or so later, and Tom sprung a birthday gift of a trip to Disney for me. Hmm. Interesting. Nice gesture, but I thought it kind of odd, not having any kids, and wondered what we were supposed to do there as two grown adults, as I had never been there, even as a kid. Little had I known that he was laying the groundwork for his plan to ask me to marry him.
Shortly before our trip to Disney, I remember commenting to a friend that I was rather annoyed at Tom because all of sudden he seemed to be commitment shy. My sister had recently become engaged, and in my book, all things seemed to be getting serious and leaning towards a lifetime arrangement. I later learned he was trying to throw me off because he was intending on asking for my hand in marriage on our trip to Disney.
Our very first impression when got to the park was hilarious. Turns out Disney was celebrating it’s 25th Anniversary and had all sorts of special events set up for the week. We witnessed one of the very big ways with the castle–they had not only painted it fuchsia, but decorated it to make it look like a birthday cake. I guess some people thought it might have been neat, but a single word summed it up for me in my book–tacky. Poor Tom was devastated, as that was the place he was dreaming of for months that he’d pop the question, being my very own prince charming and all. I was nearly in tears of laughter looking at it because to me it just seemed so out of place, and seemed such a horrible thing to do to the symbol that instantly evokes the feeling of “all things Disney” when you look at it. Just show a picture of the castle to any 5 year old kid–and hear them yell “Mickey!”.
Turns out we had a really wonderful week. I had prepped myself for a week of pizza and burgers on the fly–truthfully that was one of the main things that I was very much not looking forward to, was a week of crappy meals. I had no idea how much a foodie place Disney could be. The food was amazing. Our travel agent had scored us a special meal plan that got us 3 meals and a snack every day. With this plan, we could order anything at all we wanted, and we did. Lots of filet mignon and seafood that week. We ate so much, it was hard to eat three meals a day because were were so stuffed from the meal before. The service was absolutely amazing as well. People seemed to be tripping over us the whole time we were there trying to make our experience more enjoyable. I LOVED it. It was actually very cool to be there as a grown up, because if the lines were too long, I didn’t HAVE to wait in line just to ride on Dumbo. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for so many of the other parents there. I swore to myself that week that I would never, ever take my kids here when they were so little that they couldn’t enjoy it, or so that I’d have to carry them around the whole time. So many kids, and parents for that matter, looked more like they had just finished a marathon instead of looking like they were relaxed and on vacation. Turns out, I heeded that advice as I waited until they were old enough to walk themselves…must have made a big impression on me.
A friend of mine was living in Orlando when we took the trip there, and Tom and I had arranged to meet up with her for dinner. By that point, I was more than over seeing all of the characters that are constantly hovering around you. We had gone to a few theme meals, and I just thought it a bit odd that the princesses and other characters were constantly asking if we wanted photos with them. Maybe okay for most people, I guess, but if you haven’t noticed, I am not 5, and if I really wanted a photo with you, don’t you think I’d ask? We were sitting down to our meal when Minnie Mouse came over–as I said, I was a bit done with the characters, and was particularly annoyed with this one, because Minnie doesn’t talk. She was doing all this gesticulating attempting to spark our interest. She was gesturing to Tom and I, trying to establish the occasion of our trip. She was pointing to me, and Tom, to my finger–to which I was adamantly shaking my head, and annoyed as well because I was just telling my friend on the way to the ladies room that he was rather commitment shy of late. Minnie ended up getting the hint and going on her merry way.
The week was nearing a close and we decided to spend the day at blizzard beach. It’s essentially a water park. Of particular note was a slide that plunged down some 120 feet high. We were standing in line, and I thought Tom was acting a bit peculiar. He was trying to ask me something, and the line had a big gap all of a sudden. I quickly picked up the pace to catch up with the line, but he decided he couldn’t remember what he was saying when I asked him what he wanted. We took the plunge on this awesome slide, and ended up heading to one of those lazy rivers that you lounge around on in inner tubes as the current gently moves you along. We were just talking about how many gross things were floating in the water. Miscellaneous trash, floating boogers and to my particular dismay I even noticed someone’s feminine product floating along with us. Tom was saying something about, “Barb would you spend the rest of your life with me, and I think I was just nodding and saying, sure”, thinking he was acting a bit odd, when I noticed he had a ring in his finger. I said to him, “Wow, where did you find that?” To be fair, after all the odd things we’d seen floating about and after just taking a 120 foot plunge where on earth would he have been holding it all day? It took me a moment or so for me to realize that it was HIS ring, and it was meant for me…I don’t think he’ll ever let me live it down for ruining his moment.
After I was debriefed, I learned that he’d been holding it around in his pocket for the entire week, and since his plan to ask in front of the castle was foiled by it’s birthday cake costume, he was trying to come up with a reasonable plan B. There were a few maybes along the way. When I was very annoyed at Minnie that night, turns out she had seen him showing the ring to my friend and she was trying to help him pop the question–he figured he couldn’t do so as I was starting to complain loudly about all the characters that were getting on my last nerve. He also thought about asking me at the top of the plunging waterslide, get it, do you want to take the plunge? He’d had it securely tied into his swimsuit and was trying to nonchalantly untie it without me noticing. But he figured, probably very correctly, that I would have probably flailed my arms around, knocked it out of his hands and be out one ring worth several grand.
So, I’m sorry, my dear husband that I ruined your moment, but I’m so glad that you did ask me that day, and will never forget the fun we had while we were there.