Last night, in bed with a sweetly snoring husband, I began thinking about a conversation I might one day have with a possible offspring.
I guess it's part of the "American Dream" (for women, anyway): the perfect boyfriend, the perfect proposal, the perfect wedding. When these things come to mind, certain images of this perfection are also called up. The engagement ring in the dessert/champagne flute, the princess bride, the happily ever after. And while all these things are well and good, they don't even come close to what I would consider perfection.
I have been with my husband for almost three years now, and just over one year of marital bliss. I thought about the night we officially became engaged. It wasn't anything special; he didn't surprise me with some romantic plan (well, romantic being incredibly subjective). In fact, my engagement symbol wasn't even a ring. It was a necklace, with the word "Beloved" carved in a Celtic script. He couldn't wait; it came in the mail and he had to give it to me right away.
Last night, as I thought back to these powerful memories, I realized that they make a pretty boring story about how my romance with R has grown (from a conventional viewpoint). I started tracing it back to the beginning, when we rediscovered one another after a few years. That, I saw, was the romantic story. It's hard to have a beautiful engagement story (which is almost requisite for a woman; all of the "oh, how did he propose?!" questions are pretty embarrasing after telling the "he pulled the necklace out of the post" answer several hundred times) when the engagement itself has no definitely beginning. So, our romantic story begins at the beginning. It is virtually impossible to have a sweet engagement story when you know from the very first moment that you will marry this being. I am lucky that I can say that.
We didn't need a flowery engagement. It happened in stages, really. We knew, from the first moment we ran into each other on the street in a quaint mountain town, that this was IT. When you know from the beginning, what's the point of wasting money on a fancy restaurant, or hotel room? There was nothing, for R and I, that could be more romantic than our daily life together. We moved in together immediately (like, within a week). When he came back from visiting with family in Savannah, he brought me a woven flower made from dry palm fronds. When I had my head busted open at a punk show, he drove 3.5 hours (from where he lived at the time) in the middle of the night to make sure I was ok. Waking up to find him in my bed the next morning was such a beautiful moment. I knew then that this man would do anything for me, that he had no fear of being open, loving, and true to himself. We had no problem with "I love yous" or the marriage discussions, or kids discussions. There was no awkwardness, because we were free to be ourselves with one another.
Now, three years later, with many good and bad memories between us, I can easily say that I love him more deeply than I have ever loved anyone, including my family. He is my heart.
So, when the day comes that my child asks me how Dad proposed to me, I'll say, we didn't need a proposal honey. We knew from the first moment we saw one another that we would be married, and live our lives together.
I don't think you can get more romantic than that.