Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love Story, Part 3 - Our Engagement

The Christmas break in 1998-1999 found my dad having emergency heart surgery and so I stayed home for the spring semester and worked to pay my way for school in the fall. Dan visited us over the break, while my dad was still in the hospital, and shoveled our snow-filled driveway, further endearing himself to my parents. He returned to Maranatha in January and we settled in to a long-distance relationship. By this time I knew we would get married, but I wasn’t expecting it until he finished college, which would be in the spring of 2000.
I had a friend at home, Alison, who was dating her future husband while he was at Maranatha, too, so we made a couple of treks up there together to visit our guys. I’ll be honest; dating long-distance wasn’t the easiest part of our time together. Dan was working 3 jobs and we never had a lot of time to talk. It seems those insecurities that were present on our first date flared up again. But by God’s grace, we persevered, and it paid off!

I was on my way to visit him the weekend of Valentine’s Day and we were to travel up to his grandparent’s house a few hours north to celebrate his grandpa’s 80th birthday. We had been up there together before, so I noticed when our car started driving another route. Dan told me it was a short cut his Dad had told him about, and if you know his dad, that didn’t surprise me in the least. It wasn’t until we were in downtown Fondulac that I started to mention to Dan that maybe we took a wrong turn somewhere. We kept driving and ended up in a park on the edge of Lake Winnebago, where there was a small lighthouse.

Now Dan and I had already expressed our love of lighthouses to each other before. In fact, we had plans of decorating our home with them and dreams of visiting some of the beautiful lighthouses in America. So I wasn’t about to get my hopes up of something special happening, since I convinced myself that he brought me here to just show me the lighthouse.
It was a freezing cold day, (after all, it was February!) and we walked around the lighthouse when Dan pulled out a beanie baby (remember those?) of a Chihuahua. My mom had been dog sitting one and I fell in love with it and told Dan that I wanted one of my own. So he said something like, “Here is that Chihuahua that you wanted” and when I tried to take it from his hands he wouldn’t let go. When he finally did, I saw a beautiful diamond ring on the dog’s leg and then all the typical stuff happened. He got down of one knee, said some beautiful things (I wish I had recorded it!) and asked me to marry him. I cried and said “yes” a dozen times and then took off my gloves to put on the ring. Problem was, it was so cold that my hands were shriveled and the ring was too big, so we high tailed it to the car so we could warm up.

His plans included a nice breakfast, which explained why he wouldn’t, for the life of me, stop to get me something to eat on the drive up! We told the waitress that we had just gotten engaged, (she wasn’t as excited as we were) and then ate a wonderful breakfast. I still remember that I got stuffed French toast. Mmmmm, yummy!

We traveled the rest of the way to his grandparent’s house and got to announce it to his whole family. It was such a glorious weekend! I remember traveling back to Maranatha that Sunday afternoon when the weight of what lie ahead of us hit me. All of a sudden I was overcome with fear about whether or not we could really do it. Could we make enough money to live while we both finished up college? Where would we live? We had picked a date to marry only 6 months away and there was so much to plan for! We stopped at a gas station (I still point out that station every time we pass it as the “place I freaked out.”) and Dan calmed my nerves. He has always been such a planner; he had already worked out a budget and thought through all the possibilities. It was there that I learned that if Dan thought we could do it, we could. He has never made empty promises to me, and has always been more than conservative when it came to money and finances. I started to trust him to lead me as a husband at that moment.

We married 6 months later on August 14th, and are now 7 years into this adventurous lifetime together. I’ll have to post more about our marriage some other day, maybe for our 8th anniversary this summer! Until then, I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. I love telling this story! Happy Valentine’s Day, Honey! I love you!


Gretchen said...

Precious! What a great story. . . I'm impressed with Dan's cleverness and originality! It's interesting that the semester you guys got engaged was the beginning of a tumultuous semester for Josh and I. That's when we met and got together, included with all the weirdness of dating in a place like MBBC! And I totally hear you about the long distance thing! Pretty hard!

P.S. I saw in my freshman yearbook you had signed it "You may serve punch in my wedding, Gretchen". Hmmmmm. . . I don't think that happened! :)

Donette said...

I'll tell you what - I'll let you serve punch at our 50th anniversary party. Fair deal? :)

Anonymous said...

Neat engagement story! I'm impressed with the guys who are so creative in their proposals.

My hubby never actually proposed to me. We just agreed to get married, set a date, and then bought a ring. I guess we are practical but not very romantic.

Happy Valentine's Day!

mitchells2000 said...

Great story... I love hearing creative engagement stories. Our engagement was nothing truly romantic (as in carriage rides, going somewhere special, etc.) but there was only one way it worked for us, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. Stay tuned to my blog for the full story! :-)