Friday, February 7, 2014
Within the first few minutes of thinking about how I wanted to propose to Kara, I knew what I wanted to do. Even more than loving making lists, Kara is absolutely thrilled to cross things off of them. It would be practically impossible for her to turn me down if she had “get engaged” as an entry on one of her lists. A to-do list also seemed like a great fit within the framework of our already having discussed and planned our future together, and it would be a simple and sweet moment that did justice to the down-to-earth, loving relationship that has grown between us.
We had talked about our future together and our timeline, so I knew that Jonathan was going to propose and had a suspected timeline. I had let him know that I had been given my great grandmother’s ring about 12 years prior by my great aunt, which was very special to me.
So it was as simple as going into our recently purchased fire safe to procure the heirloom. And by “was” I mean “could have been.” The only thing the safe was protecting were the manufacturer’s instructions. Fortunately, Kara had shown me the jewelry case, but it was when she was changing over her seasonal wardrobe, so I assumed it must be hidden amidst the endless storage containers of clothes. I decreasingly delicately shifted around Kara’s summer wardrobe looking for any flash of the red velvet that I had seen. After coming up empty in the clothes containers, I looked in other sensical locations, which soon gave way to opening every box and drawer in the apartment looking for any flash of the red velvet. As I thought of the safe and how easy it could have been, I noticed a grey leather pouch peeking out between a hat I had bought months ago but never wore. I wondered why something foreign would be on our nightstand, and I opened it up to reveal the red velvet and the ring.
Thanks to a Pinterest post, I knew that the three rules of a proposal are to 1) get down on one knee, 2) use her full name, and 3) make sure that someone is there to photograph it. As a photographer herself, Kara would find the last one especially important. However, I am a fairly private person, and I thought someone hiding out in the kitchen ready to pop out and take pictures might spoil the intimacy of the moment for me. Luckily, Kara has professional camera equipment, so I spent most of my preparation time while Kara was at work researching how to assemble and use her tripod, remote, and the super fancy camera itself.
I was very impressed with the amount of thought and effort Jonathan put into ensuring there would be photographs. Jonathan hasn’t used my camera very much, so the amount of work involved in arranging the right lighting, correct camera settings, and connecting cords/cables was extraordinary!
I chose to hang the list in the living room on the near wall that she would see last, then tried to get as much light in the room as possible without being suspicious. After making sure the lights, tripod, and champagne on ice couldn’t be seen until the list was, I took some practice shots, put on some clothes (I actually chose one of my late grandfather’s shirts as to have remembrances from both families), and started waiting.
As I left the office, my coworkers and I joked about who was going to be getting engaged on Valentine’s Day. I secretly hoped Jonathan wouldn’t choose such an obvious date, but couldn’t quite be sure. After saying our farewells for the weekend, I walked quickly home through the cold toward our warm apartment and Jonathan, who had worked from home that day.
When I heard keys jingle in the door, I darted into the living room to grab the camera remote and the case I had fashioned to hold the ring and a sharpie (to cross the first thing off the list, of course).
When I walked through the door, he came through the kitchen doorway, fully-dressed, which immediately registered as odd. (One of the best things about working from home is not having to get dressed!) As I was taking off my coat, he gestured to the wall and said, “Do you want to put your stuff down?” He thought I had seen the sign and understood what was going on, but I hadn’t!
By the time I had placed my coat on the back of the couch, Jonathan had dropped to one knee. I couldn’t tell you what he said, although I do vaguely remember him saying my full name, because I was confused by the sight of the sharpie in the box. And I wasn’t sure if he was figuratively or literally asking me to “cross #1 off the list.”
After the coat came off, I led her over to the sign, got down on one knee, flipped open the case, asked her to make me so happy as to cross off number one. She took some convincing that I actually wanted her to physically take the sharpie to the list, but as far as I was concerned, the poster was the official engagement, not the ring!
After celebrating with champagne, we made dinner together and attended a friend’s housewarming party. The engagement was a perfect story, but our normal routine and plans are what make our life and our love special. And, as Jonathan said, “We’re not going to use the excuse that we’re engaged to bow out of parties in the future. Why start now?” Engaged, but still us. 🙂