I'm not going to lie, I've been stalling on writing this last installment (the prior parts can be found here). How does one sum up four months in one post when it feels like SO much happened in those weeks and months? Anthony returned from Lebanon and we'd officially spent half of our relationship up to that point half a world away from each other. I got used to sleeping through the night again (no more 3am phone calls) and he got used to the Colorado time zone. School began again for him and he went back to teaching as I adjusted to a new full-time job. One weekend in August (the 24th to be exact) we went out to Smash Burger (which I'm currently craving like madness, but alas, Baby Girl does not like beef, apparently). I distinctly remember sitting in the restaurant when Anthony asked me if I'd like to join him in Michigan for Thanksgiving. In all honesty, I hadn't completely expected it. The last time we talked about me meeting his family it seemed as though he thought our meeting was at least a year out, but here he was asking me to fly home with him and meet his family for the holiday. Of course, I said yes. We went back to his place after enjoying the deliciousness of Smash Burger and we played Guess Who together. I kept catching him glancing at me with a look I'd never really seen before, but when pressed, he wouldn't tell me what he was thinking. After a few disappointing (for me) rounds, we snuggled on the couch and with me in his arms, he told me he loved me for the first time. It was a pretty incredible day indeed. (I reciprocated the sentiment!) September and October consisted of more dates and getting to know each other even better. He spent more time with my family and I spent more time with his friends. He also asked me to join him in Michigan for Christmas and New Years. I stubbornly told him that I'd never spend Christmas anywhere but with my family unless I was engaged or married, and we were neither so I'd see him at New Years but that was it. (I really can be stubborn!) As the Thanksgiving trip grew nearer, we began to share even more stories about our past - stories that, for both of us, bonded us together and showed us just how much God had been writing our love story all along. The closer the trip got, the more my friends became convinced that Anthony would propose to me over Thanksgiving. I thought otherwise. He kept telling me that I was going to love my Christmas present, so I thought he'd propose over New Years, or perhaps he'd even wait until the following April, which was when our anniversary was. One night, while driving back to his place after dinner out, I brought up the topic of rings. I
asked him if he'd wear a ring after he got married (I left out the "if WE got married" that was burning in my brain). He said of course he would, so I started asking what kind of ring he wanted, which led to him asking me what I wanted. I decided to be a punk and started in about wanting platinum or some top of the line ring (honestly, I could have cared less aside from not wanting yellow gold). Not long into this conversation he seemed to have a change of heart and stopped me from going any further. This was pretty consistent behavior out of him at that point - we'd (really, I'd) start talking about marriage, the future, etc. and he'd kaput the conversation. Only after the ring conversation - sitting in his car on a cold November night - he told me that I really shouldn't get my hopes up. At all.
I started to cry. Big time cry, which was only the second time he'd ever seen me truly cry (I'd cried plenty on the phone with him, but never in person - that's how you know I really, really trust someone, when I let them see me cry). He somehow consoled me and we called it a night soon there after.
Little did I know that at that point he was already designing the ring and plotting the proposal. That following Monday he took a half day off of work to drive across town and ask my parents for permission to marry me. I've heard stories of how 'the ask before The Ask' went, and though my Dad tried to play hardball, Anthony eventually got permission. He told my parents of how he'd made my cry that weekend, and my Mom later told me how I'd completely broken his heart when I burst into tears that night (what else was I supposed to do? The man I loved told me not to get my hopes up!).
Anthony went to my parents with his most prized possession in the world as he asked them for their most prized possession (me!). He won them over and a few days later, he won me over when he asked me to be his wife. He did everything in his power to make sure that I didn't believe what all my friends already knew - he wanted the proposal to be a complete surprise, and believe you me, it was. It is hard to believe that was already a year ago, but I couldn't be more grateful to be his wife and the mother to his sweet baby girl.
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