I have said yes to a lot of stupid things in my life. Skipping most of Econ 101 my junior year. The Apple River Trip of '04. Almost every shot of whisky consumed. I have also said yes to a lot of really amazing things in my life. The University of Minnesota. Alpha Chi Omega. My house. My current job. In all my 31 years, not a single "yes" has ever been more confidently, emotionally, or excitedly uttered as the one I delivered (through sobs and laughter) on January 10, 2014.
This guy, my best friend, the one who makes me laugh until my sides hurt, swoon so hard I fear I may never recover and makes every single minute of my life better, asked me to marry him.
I should have been suspicious when a friend randomly called to celebrate my birthday. I should have questioned why she would be willing to come and pick me up AND drop me off. I could have gotten confused when she randomly called an audible and suggested drinks at the Iron Horse after dinner. But it wasn't until we got out of the car and she took off running inside. It wasn't until I saw my Tommy standing in the vestibule of the Iron Horse Hotel that I knew for sure something was happening. There he was, in my favorite flannel the man owns, looking nervous as hell.
Now let me tell you, this man has, on more than a handful of occasions, brought me to tears by just randomly telling me how he feels. He's got a way with words and he's not afraid to show it. (Even if he's showing it in a Farm & Fleet parking lot as we're about to go look at grills and it catches me so off guard I end up sobbing my way through the bird seed aisle. True story.) So when he started to talk and his voice quivered and I saw tears, I knew shit was going down.
He walked me over to a corner of the patio in the front of the hotel. I know there was screaming from inside. He took my hands. I don't remember everything he said. (It felt like maybe I blacked out from happy?) I know he told me he loved me. And I remember just before his voice cracked completely and he started to really cry he got down on one knee. Then, he asked me to marry him. And I remember a flood. Of memories. Of emotions. Of moments in my life that made me question if this moment would ever happen for me. (You don't spend a three year block in your late 20's/early 30's without that coming into question more frequently than you'd care to mention.) And once the flood passed, I remember feeling a relief that I can't find words for. An affirmation that I found him. My partner in crime, my best friend, my future husband.
And then, I realized, right before he got down on that knee I had heard a noise I knew. See, my inability to contain tears is a direct inheritance from my mother. Except she tries to pretend she can lock it up. And she does ... until she can't anymore. And when that moment happens a little gasp comes out. I realized right as he took his knee I heard that all too familiar gasp. As we hugged and kissed I heard more screaming. Tom asked, "Do you want to go inside?" to which I responded, "Do I know those screams??"
We walked inside the doors and just when I thought I couldn't possibly feel more love than I did in that very moment, I was hit by another flood. This time in the form of my family and my best friends and the people who loved me while I waited for him. The people who carried me when I couldn't anymore. The people who kept hope alive when I wanted to give up. The ones who assured me with each break-up or bad date that somewhere out there HE was waiting for me. And they were right. And I was so damn happy to be immediately surrounded by all those people with him. One by one, they threw their hugs around me and my (at this point VERY) ugly cry face. Friends from Milwaukee, my mom & dad, friends from Minnesota, my brother and sister-in-law, friends from Texas, friends from high school, my nephew, friends from the internet. All of them, right there champagne in hand, ready to toast me and my new fiance.
It was, without a doubt, the most incredible night of my life. The next few hours surrounded by all those amazing people flew by. I have never felt such deliriously high amounts of happy and love in my whole entire life.
I'm so thankful for Tom for planning such a special night for me. I'm thankful for my mom and Sukie and Holly for knowing when my Tom wouldn't be able to handle ALL the planning and stepping in to assist. I'm so thankful for the friends who made it to the occasion. I'm BEYOND thankful for Danielle bringing a camera and capturing what I couldn't possibly remember all of. I'm thankful for whatever I did in life to deserve these people and this man and the ability for it all to come together in one night of stupid levels of happy.
Oh, and of course...I'm pretty happy to have this pretty lady adorn my left hand.