I, Kirsten-Anne Elizabeth, am going to be married to Ryan Craig by the end of the summer. By August 5th, to be exact.
Why August 5th, you ask? We didn't want to get married in the middle of the semester (ruling out September-mid December) and our winter break is only two weeks in length and will be crammed with holidays, visits, cold weather, bleak winter atmosphere...plus, December is too far away. So we thought and prayed about marriage in August and felt that was our best option if we wanted our families to attend. So, here we are. Seventy-four days until I'm entering a new stage of my life.
An avid reader of this blog (and friend of mine) pointed out this little blurb from a previous post a few months ago that amused him greatly:
"I am in NO position to be married now. No way. Nuh-uh. But I can't help but flush green with envy when I see a happy couple that isn't super cheesy and just look content to be in each other's company."
What I've learned from this entire experience so far is that there is nothing prior to a relationship that prepares you for marriage. You can take cooking classes, know how to clean your room and keep a place tidy and also know how to get along with people without immaturely storming out and calling him a meanie, but there is nothing that quite prepares you for the inspiration that comes and the personal revelation that you'll receive that the man you're staring at is the man you'll be staring at for time and all eternity. And there is nothing quite like the feeling of peace when you have that thought and instead of freaking out (like I would have three months ago), I realize that what I'm feeling is true.
Yes, it was a short dating period. We'll be engaged longer than we dated before getting engaged. And I would always criticize those people who got married quickly and wonder how someone can know so soon. My parents were one of those couples, so I can't judge too harshly since they've been married for 36 years and are still going strong and growing together. But I had no idea I would be one of those people. I had NO idea that marriage was going to come so soon for me. I wasn't planning on this! Believe me when I say that marriage was not under my 2011 New Years resolutions! I was accepting of the fate that I would be married AFTER I got my degree. But Ryan just had to show up to FHE and lure me in with his shy demeanor and child-like energy.
Anyways, I'm done trying to convince all of you that this is as much my choice as it is Ryan's. Just trust that we have the best intentions in our hearts and aren't doing this just because we had nothing better to do with our summer.
I guess you'll be wanting the engagement story? Funny thing: there really isn't one. I can give you the 24 hour period though since that's more of a story than the actual proposal. But really, this story starts back on Tuesday of this past week. Since the topic of marriage and how we wanted to be married already came up a couple of days previous, we decided to go ring-browsing so I could show him my favorite designs and he could choose from there. So we go to some stores and I tell him what I like about some rings and what I don't like about others. And after an hour, I'm exhausted and my finger is chaffed so we go back home and that was it for talking about rings. We were going to go again on Thursday, but he felt he had enough of an idea to pick one.
Ryan apparently bought the ring the very next day when I was at my interview with Cracker Barrel. I had NO idea, as he was not dropping any hints that he had bought the ring. He was so convincing at this from that moment to the proposal that I was getting discouraged about getting the ring sooner than next week. So, with the ring bought, he made plans to have a nice dinner after I was done working on Saturday. I didn't think anything of it because the next weekend we had another nice dinner planned and it was going to be on our two month anniversary and in Salt Lake City...so that looked like the more likely time I would receive a ring.
Jump up to Friday. At around 9pm, we decided to go on our usual walk down the Provo River and to our favorite duck pond/park area. This is a walk that we take almost every Sunday and it's become something sort of meaningful and special to us. When we get to the park (after a lot of creepy people passing us and dark tunnels, mind you), I head to the swings and the playground and we just swing and I play on the structure like a kid. Eventually, we find both of us at the top of the slide area in that little enclosure that you see on every playground and everything feels so perfect. I can't remember feeling any more at peace than at that exact moment. And I remember thinking "If Ryan had the ring right now, I would be so okay with him proposing to me on this playground structure."
And, guess what? HE HAD THE RING. I was snuggled up to him on his right side and his hand was weirdly placed on his right thigh at the base of his pocket so that I wouldn't FEEL THE RING SITTING THERE. He told me later that he wanted so bad to propose at that very moment, at the place we return to every Sunday, and was about to but he hadn't officially gotten permission from my dad! ARGH! So, we got off the playground and walked back, my finger still bare.
Come Saturday, I had an inkling that Ryan might propose. So I tell people at my work this fact and because the track meet I was working at was going to go ALL day, I was trying to see if I could leave early. They told me I could leave right at that moment. So I worked a total of 30 minutes that day. Ryan had some other things he needed to do like laundry, errands, the basic stuff. So I sat at home and painted my nails (in case a proposal came that night) and did my hair nice and just prepared half-heartedly for a nice evening. When 7:00pm rolls around (we had dinner reservations at 7:30pm at a nice italian restaurant) he gets a call and goes outside to take it. I'm freaking out because I'm afraid it's the bishop telling him that he needed to do clerical things at our church building, ruining my nice dinner. But he came back and when I inquired, he told me that it was just his work calling. So then we go to the restaurant.
The food and atmosphere were fantastic. There was a live accordion player singing and roaming the restaurant. We split a delicious dessert and overall had a nice time. At this point, I had completely forgotten about a proposal. So when he started fishing around in his pocket after we were done eating and started saying "So, before we go, I have a question for you..." I was completely and utterly shocked. I'm pretty sure my eyes bugged out and my heart stopped for a minute. Ryan then got down on one knee in front of me and asked those fated words: "Kirsten, will you marry me?" And I said something like "Oh gosh!" and watched as he put the ring on my finger. Yes, readers, I didn't even say yes, but he already knew the answer. I hugged him and gave him a very modest yet earnest kiss and couldn't stop smiling. The couple eating near us were staring and our waiter said congratulations. And we were out of the restaurant and I was absolutely excited and bouncing back to the car, staring at my hand and then staring at him and smiling.
We went to tell his family, I called my family and bestie, Sara, and I don't think I stopped smiling at all. I'm still smiling as I recall the events of the past couple of days. Oh, and that phone call that I mentioned earlier? That wasn't his work. It was my dad returning Ryan's frantic calls so that he could propose at dinner. If my dad hadn't returned the call, Ryan would've waited to propose AGAIN. Thank goodness dad called back. Whew!
So, that's really it. And now I'm in the process of telling everyone that I'm engaged and will be married August 5th at the Jordan River Temple in South Jordan, UT. SEVENTY FOUR DAYS. Save the date, friends and family. It's going to be a day to remember.
Oh, and pictures of the ring.