Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Romantic Interlude

I am missing writing about my life – it’s hard with a blog – I want it to be a journal of our life and times – but I also always have so much to say about, well, nothing at all.  Like, for instance, there is no root beer in France – they’ve never heard of it, never tasted it.  Chalk one up for a totally American phenomena!

But really, this interlude is mostly a love story – the story of the night André proposed to me…. it was written in reaction to a friend whose son (20) just got engaged to his girlfriend.  Her son did a very romantic proposal and she likes the partner, but she was a bit worried they were too young….

I got married at 22 – André was 23 and we are still going strong almost 11 years and 3 kids later....but lots of people said we were too young at the time. And for all you romantics out there, here's my engagement story....

I'll set the scene... it's a normal day at work - and, though André and I work in different companies in Philly, they are located across the street from each other and we are practically living together as well, so we walk back and forth together each day....  We have been dating for 2 years and had gone through so many things together – but always in love and always close.   We were serious (from about the third date!), and had discussed marriage, but there was no timetable attached.

First, he picked me up at work with a dozen roses in his arms and then, when I turned away from the big hug I was giving him, a horse and carriage had somehow appeared next to us on the sidewalk. I was surprised and pleased – I love flowers and horses.  This was just the kind of thing André did on a fairly regular basis during our courtship period and it always made me feel so special. He gallantly asked if I'd like a ride and, naturally, I agreed! After our lovely ride across the city we ended up at The Chart House (a very schwanky seafood restaurant that we totally couldn't afford) and dined like rich folk. I got king crab - awesome!  I was just in, well, food heaven and didn’t notice André concernedly checking his watch.  I had no idea there was more in store for me that night. 

We headed out of the restaurant and he stopped for a moment by the coat check. Turning around he revealed our custom painted matching helmets - which must have been hidden there earlier in the day. Here’s where I start to get suspicious – what is going on here?  That's right folks, the mild mannered André most of you know and love used to be a die hard motorcycle rider (don’t ask me where his tattoo is!)  I was brought up with a healthy fear of motorcycles and actually dated him for over a month before consenting to go along (really, folks, a month is a long time). By now though, we had been dating 2 years and were hardened bikers, transporting tables and venturing as far as DC on vacation using only our two wheels. So, the helmets might have seemed a natural next step on our evening. But, there was a catch. The motorcycle of his dreams had just recently blown up (Yes, that's literally true - but it's another tale entirely) and we were temporarily using his mother's car.  So, when he asked if I wanted to go for a ride, I was mystified - but said yes (of course).

Sure enough, a motorcycle was in the parking lot and we hopped on it, zooming over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We made it just in time to stand together at the gazebo and watch the end of a sunset over the Schuykill River and Boathouse Row. I love that our relationship began in Philadelphia and that now we have made our home there – the city really is a part of our love story.  We walked over to the side of the Art Museum. This was the place he took me for the very first motorcycle ride we had ever been on and (though only a month in) had made out quite a bit!!! I can’t really describe how I was feeling – I think I knew, on some level, that this had to be the proposal, but I also thought it might be an elaborate set up – to trick me into thinking it was the proposal when actually he had something else planned entirely.  I also think there was a part of me that never believed he would actually propose.  Yeah, yeah, I know he loves me and I love him, but am I really loveable enough to marry?  Is it possible that anyone could want such a totally flawed human being for, like, ever?  Is he sure?  He’s just so, so, wonderful and I’m just so, so, not!

Then he knelt down and started singing. He sang a song that he had written for me, in honor of the occasion. Now, I need to stop here to explain why that was so extraordinary. André doesn't like to sing, can't carry a tune, and also can't memorize for beans (the man has 3 children and still stumbles over twinkle, twinkle little star) so it was truly amazing that he had reached so far out of his comfort zone to make my heart melt. Here are the words....
My love for you
Shall ever grow
My need for you
Doth ever show, my sweetie
Your heart and mine
Be no more twain
Stay here with me
One and the same.....

Then he gave me a ring set with my birthstone (amethysts) and a diamond and asked me to marry him. Once I stopped crying enough to breathe, of course I said, YES!!!  (I may not deserve him, but I’m nobody’s fool)

Wow, that was fun to write - he is still such a catch!!

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