I think it hit me as I was hiking down a mountain in my favorite lace up flats. Joey’s strong hand gripped mine as we maneuvered down a familiar trail.
The first time I wandered down this trail with no help. Joey and I were friends. Best friends on a fishing trip. I walked back up the steep mountainside with a photo of me holding the first fish I ever caught with him. Months later, with my hand draped in his, he led me down to the spot and asked me to be his girlfriend. I trekked uphill giddy, holding his hand a bit tighter than before.
This time was different. My right hand was pressed into my side, preventing my loose dress from creeping up. My short, blonde waves blocked my view of the path as I peered through my mascara-ridden lashes. We had dinner reservations but Joey suggested a trip to our spot since we were early. So there I was. Dressed up, hiking down.
We stood atop the same rock I reeled our fish in from 2 years ago, eyeing the river and making small talk. We aren’t a small talk couple, at this realization my heartbeat quickened. I turned to face him as he sunk to one knee, tears rising in both our eyes.
“Will you marry me?”
So simple. So life-changing.
Tears of joy, friends. Complete, unbelievable happiness. I wrapped my arms around him, not noticing the circular promise he pinched between his fingers. Poor Joey, still kneeling on a boulder, latched onto me as we cried. “Can I put this ring on your finger?”, reached for my right hand- aka the wrong hand. I placed my left hand is his, watching as he slid the most beautiful jewel I have ever and will ever own on my shaking ring finger. The ring gets to stay there forever, guys.
That was two months ago. The news of our engagement is old. The Instagram has been posted, Facebook has been updated and those who matter most have “ooood” and “ahhhed” over my perfect bling. Those moments are what so many of us dream of when we are dying to get engaged. I certainly did. And now, just like that, it’s over.
The calm, normalcy of engagement has revealed the most beautiful, yet unexpected piece. Joey and I have not lost the joy that overwhelmed us a month ago. Weekly, I text him in awe, “we get to get married”.
But people come and go. Friends and family rejoice with you when life gifts you with celebration. They mourn with you when heartbreak chokes words and problems simply cannot be solved. But then they forget. They move on with their own lives. The next big news pulls them away and you are left. You are so last month. And it’s okay. Because on September 3, 2016 I climbed up a mountain with a human that I now call my fiancé. A human who, with one simple, four word sentence, asked if he could soak in the average moments of life with me forever.
In the still of our newly engaged life, before wedding planning takes the front page of our life, Joey and I have been processing what we want our marriage to look like. I’m learning that I am so not ready for marriage but most importantly that I never will be. I will never be a perfect wife. And Joey knows. We will fight and mess up and hurt each other’s feelings. We will. We already have (five minutes ago truthfully).
But I picked a winner, friends.
Skeptics have already questioned, not only our marriage at a young age, but our choice not to live together until I get a name change. “What if she’s messy and hard to live with?” Joey was asked this.
“It’s not what she does, it’s who she is.”
His real life response, people…
We have committed to grow with each other, to never stop learning, to never, never give up. That is how we plan on beating the statistics. That is how we plan on soaking in the mundane. That is how we plan on being happy. And that is why my biggest yes was the best decision I will ever make.