I've been meaning to blog about this for eons. The incomparable Hallie from Betty Beguiles is hosting a discussion on this very topic, so there's no time like the present. Thanks, Hallie, for giving me that nudge I needed!
Several pertinent pieces of information need to be explained up front:
- Dave and I have known each other since elementary school (St. Francis of Assisi); he was two grades ahead of me. We become close friends in high school, then started dating my last year. We broke up 2.5 years in to our relationship, when we were both in University. And we got back together almost 2 years to the day that we broke up. We've been together since January of 2000, on-and-off since August of 1995. Wowza!
- I am a traveller. I've been to 9 provinces, 34 states, over 30 countries on 5 continents. I've travelled with my parents since childhood. Dave's family are not travellers. And when we got back together, it's one thing that he expressed a huge desire to do.
- Back on St. Patrick's day of 2002, I was finishing up my MSc. and Dave was working. I had a great deal of flexibility to travel, being a grad student, while poor Dave had very little vacation time only a year or so into his career. I'd just returned from a trip to Belgium with my parents while Dave stayed at my childhood home and looked after our cat. I know. I'd hate me, too.
Over green beer - which, while yummy, was inferior to the delicious Belgian brews I'd been sampling for the previous 10 days - Dave and I rhapsodized about all the places we'd travel together. I nabbed a napkin and wrote down our list. And I kept this Boston Pizza napkin in my wallet. We'd look at it from time to time. By then, we knew that this was it for us. We were just waiting for my job situation to work itself out.
Just over a year later - in June of 2003, we found out that I'd be working in Toronto for just over a year, then would be moved to Ottawa. Dave's boss was supportive of his transfer to the Toronto office. And we joked that he could start ring shopping.
Now Dave is notoriously laid back. I expected that he'd pick up a ring sometime over the summer or something. But here's where I need to give an ENORMOUS shout out to Dave's friend Jorge. Jorge has the most amazing jeweller (we suspect that they might be associated with the Russian mob) who only acts on referral. And as soon as Jorge heard that Dave was looking, he leapt into action. Within days, Dave had that ring burning a hole in his pocket.
But then - I was in Ottawa for an extended work trip. Then Leanne - my eventual maid-of-honour - broke up with her long term boyfriend on the eve of her 25th b-day. A girls' weekend was in order. Then, Dave's grandmother DIED. She'd been ill with terminal cancer, so it was no surprise, but the traditional mourning rights did put a damper on his ability to pop the question. The poor man had to sit on the ring for an extra two weeks!
Nanny's funeral was on a Friday. We had another family thing on the Saturday. And on Sunday July 6th, after mass, Dave came over to my parents' house. It was super hot, and he was wearing jeans. My mom and I mocked him and he gritted his teeth, ring box in his pocket. He was forced to bide his time until he was alone with my purse, then he made his move.
Minutes later, Dave started asking me about our upcoming trip to Chicago do visit my friend Ben. "I can't wait to cross that off the list!"
"It's not on the list, hon." I told him, dismissively. Yes - I am a prize.
"I can't remember -- what's on the list?" he continued.
So I yanked out my wallet. I glanced and the now dog-eared list...and noticed his handwriting. "Did you add something to the list?" I inquired. Then I read it.
At the bottom of the list of all the places we hoped to visit together, he wrote: "I promise that I'll take you to all of these places. But there's one condition..." ------>
"WILL YOU MARRY ME?" was penned on the inside fold.
Needless to say, my answer was yes. :)
We were engaged for 15 months, but we had our church and hall booked before a week had passed. We were married in our parish church one week after my 27th birthday.
We knocked a few of those travel destinations off on our honeymoon. In the past 7-ish years, we've knocked off about 70% of them!
The list now resides in our fire-proof box, next to our marriage certificate, our birth certificates and those of our children. I am so blessed.