Wednesday, December 28, 2011
THE NEXT CHAPTER
I’m sitting in Panera with my coffee, laptop, Kindle Fire, hard cover library book (A Secret Kept by Tatiana De Rosnay) and my fiancé. Yes, you read that right...I am ENGAGED!! I am still in shock, disbelief, giddy, wired, and on a high at once. I am 36 years and this has been my third committed relationship. I don’t want to say long-term because the other two were 2 years or less. I have always wanted to get married, but was starting to get the sense that my day would never come. I had never had a relationship last more than 2 years, in fact my last one ended on what would have been our 2 year anniversary!
I am so much in love and feel so loved – I still can’t believe this is happening. However, this is not to say we don’t have our disagreements, debates, and down- right ugly fights because we do and probably always will. The key is that we love each other, want to be together, grow old together and are willing to listen, compromise and laugh together. I never thought I would see this day. I thought I would die an old maid.
I seriously was afraid I would never find my true love, my soul mate. I thought I was meant to be alone for the rest of my life. Most of my friends are married and have or just starting to have kids. I am one of the few left single. To all my friends, and others reading this whom are single…DON’T RUSH IT! You don’t want to, nor should you settle…give it time (and yes, I know you felt you have). It’s WORTH the wait. You may be 36, 44, 48, or in your 50’s but when you do find your true love it is worth it all. A friend of mine on Facebook recently posted “I can’t believe it took me 36 years to find my true love, but it was well worth it”. I can’t say it any better than that!
In our 2 year 4 month relationship, we have moved fast on some counts – bought a house together after only 10 months, making an instant family (my 16 year old daughter, his 13 year old daughter, his 5 year old son, my dog, and his 2 cats) – but, we never seriously discussed marriage – it was one thing neither of us wanted to rush. He knew I wanted to someday get married and I knew that he may eventually want to as well. I did not realize that he was ready and I was not yet to the breaking point that I had to be AND am very glad that his proposal came before those two things were realized for me. It made the proposal so much more special and meaningful to me, to us.
Soon after we started dating we went on a camping trip and were joking on the drive up about how this camping trip could be a chapter in a book, “3 kids, 2 dogs, and a relationship”. We were dog sitting, jam packed in a truck and going on our first trip with the kids. We began to name other chapters too. Our summer bowling team name was “Moving on up”, but usually events were just referred to as “The Next Chapter”. We have used that phrase to signify the major stepping stones of our relationship, our family, and chapters of our life together.
The proposal itself was romantic and is very meaningful to me, to us. It was Christmas Eve night and we were at my parents. It was a special year because my fiancé’s oldest daughter was spending the holidays with us. This was the first time since we have been together that she was with us on Christmas. So we had our entire “family of 6” together. We had just finished playing some games and eating dinner. We are huge Chicago Blackhawks fans, so we were going to watch the Blackhawk’s Christmas Special and then play more games and exchange the traditional Christmas Eve pajamas.
Everyone sat around in the living room, I in the middle seat of the couch. My parent’s couch reclines on both ends. My daughter was on one end reclining and LeeJay sat on the other side of me. My dad mentions that his seat reclines, not because LeeJay didn’t know this but because my dad does understand why one would want to sit there and not recline the seat. Instead of reclining the seat, LeeJay gets up completely. I remember thinking that a little odd, but not so strange to even mention it. He then asks that someone turns down the TV, this I found even stranger and did make a comment. He always asks for the volume to be turned up, not down. However, no one could find the remote and, of course, everyone was too lazy to just go over to the TV to turn it down. LeeJay then announces he has something to ask. At this point, I was still COMPLETELY clueless. That is UNTIL he came over by me and kneeled down on one knee. I started crying, laughing and smiling all at the time. After he asked me, using my full name, to marry him I remember getting up and hugging and kissing him, but probably didn’t saw YES for a minute or so. I remember vaguely my mom asking what she missed and someone coming out of the bathroom. Nonetheless, we missed the Blackhawk’s Christmas Special as hugs, kisses, congratulations, and pictures were being taken. I don’t think too many people minded.
So begins THE NEXT CHAPTER….