When you think “proposal”, what pops into your mind? For me, it used to be a romantic dinner, a bended knee, flowers perhaps. Our engagement story didn’t exactly turn out like that. I suppose you could call it romantic comedy, with an emphasis on the “comedy” part.
On the weekend before my 30th birthday, I had a feeling John might propose. It’s not a surprise by any stretch, as we’ve known since we met that we wanted to marry each other and have a family together. Yet for some reason, I thought he was planning a surprise birthday proposal. After dinner with my family, we went to our house for cake and gifts. My mom looked absolutely giddy and I thought to myself, they know something I don’t know! Just seconds later, John asks me to close my eyes and I open them to a blue mountain bike with a bow on it. I smiled, thanked him for the bike and even sat on the seat for a picture. Looking at the picture now the disappointment was obvious. I was wrong, there wasn’t going to a birthday proposal after all!
On Wednesday, my actual birthday, I got a call from John telling me he’d broken his nose playing soccer. When I got home to see him, our poor cat (rest her furry soul) had peed all over our new couch. We’d rolled up every rug as precaution and even put plastic sheeting over the couch, but it didn’t work. She’d gotten under the plastic and peed on it anyway. John, with two Kleenex shoved up each nostril and blossoming raccoon eyes, looked at me in utter dismay. Our cat was so sick and we knew we’d have to put her down very soon. We pet her, cleaned her up and tearfully began scrubbing the couch.
After the clean up, John went to rest and I brought him some ice for his nose. On the bed, looking so tired and sore, and he said “Happy Birthday!” and we both started to laugh. Little laughs at first that turned to tears-streaming-down-face silliness. He handed me an envelope, and inside I discovered a list called “Things I love about Alison”. I read it, loving this little birthday treat amidst a hellish day. On the bottom it said, “Turn me over” and on the back was a picture of a ring (my ring) with the words “Will you marry me?” written below it.
I laughed. I cried. I forgot to say yes for the first 15 minutes. And then the full story came out. John had asked my parents months ago for their permission to propose. They said yes, of course, and John ordered me a custom engagement ring to be made by an independent jeweler in Ontario. But the ring hadn’t arrived. He’d been waiting all along for this ring before he proposed, and at the last minute decided to propose on my birthday anyway… ring or no ring.
This may not be what most would envision as a romantic engagement by any means, but we still laugh about it all the time and it’s a story I’m sure we’ll tell our children and grandchildren someday. A story about cat pee, broken noses and above all else, love.
Our wedding is August 20, 2011.
*As told by Alison Dixon.