My hubby and I have been together since 2001. We married in 2006. He is the most amazing man, and I couldn't ask for a better husband. The unconditional love he shows for me would make any woman jealous. The way he looks at me from across the room or his touch still makes my heart melt.
I am often asked the proverbial, "How did he pop the question" question. It was one of the most romantic moments in my life that I will certainly never forget.
To say after three years of dating I was getting a little impatient to hear those magical words would be an understatement. I would find myself hinting, hoping to get any kind of clue that my engagement ring would soon be placed on my finger.
"You know, Jessica and Ryan have only been dating a year, and they’re engaged."
Long pause. Did he flinch? Sigh? Smile? Anything. . .? Nothing.
I had come to the conclusion that I was never going to get my ring, and then one day, while we were visiting my parents, my dad walked in to the bathroom while I was putting on my makeup. He shut the door.
"John just asked me if he could marry you."
My heart stopped; I think I may even have stopped breathing. I tried not to squeal in excitement. I didn’t want him to know that my dad had just told me the soon-to-be-announced good news.
Not knowing when he would pop the question, I played it cool, but days, weeks, and months went by with nothing happening.
Did he change his mind? What could I have done to make him change his mind? We had been getting along so wonderfully. The wait was agonizing. He couldn't have changed his mind, I reassured myself. I just needed a plan. I knew exactly what I would do. . . bring up rings.
For the next few weeks I strategically emailed John a picture of the kind of ring I liked—a yellow gold band with three oval diamonds. I could tell by his responses that he was taking note. Then one day he said to me,
"When we are in Pennsylvania this summer, let's visit Mr. Bucci and pick out your ring."
Mr. Bucci is a long-time family friend who happens to be one of Pittsburgh's most popular jewelers. He worked with my grandfather who passed away on my second birthday. Before, and especially after my grandfather's passing, Mr. Bucci always gave my family the "royal treatment" when it came to buying jewelry.
I couldn't wait for summer to get there so we could take our trip to Pittsburgh. I remember entering Mr. Bucci's store, with hundreds of rings in sight. It was any girl’s dream to have that many sparkling diamonds in front of her. I tried on ring after ring until I finally found the ring.
I begged and pleaded with John to let me show my family the ring since they wouldn't be able to see the it until the next year when we were visiting and I just knew we weren’t getting engaged anytime soon. It took three and a half years to get to this point, so I wasn’t holding my breath for the engagement to actually happen anytime soon. John agreed, and I wore the ring to my grandmother's house.
Everyone was in awe with the beauty of my “someday” engagement ring. I noticed the smile on John's face as he watched me admire how my ring sparkled in the light. I loved my ring so much that I made a deal with John.
"I promise to give the ring back to you in the morning, but can I please sleep with it on?"
I didn't want to give it back and thought perhaps if I had it on long enough John might just forget I had it on. He agreed, and I went to bed staring at my ring; the happiest girl in the world.
Did John forget the next morning and let me continue to wear my ring? Afraid not.
"It’s time to give the ring back. Hand it over."
I pouted for a bit, but gave in and turned over my sparkling baby to him.
When was I going to get my ring? At least I was able to wear it for a little while. I should be happy that I got to wear it at all.
That day John and I had plans to go to Moraine State Park, just the two of us. We had wanted to go for a walk to get away for a little while. My mom had mentioned that a few family members were going to the outlet mall, which John and I also enjoy, so I mentioned to him,
“Why don't we go to the outlet with everyone today and we can go to Moraine tomorrow."
“No, we planned to go to the park today. We have to give back the rental car tomorrow. . .we need to do this today," he replied sternly.
I knew we had made plans to go to Moraine State Park as we really love being there, but I didn't understand what the big deal was.
It was beginning to cloud over, and I wondered as we made our way through the winding Pennsylvania roads if we would even be able to take our walk with the looming grey clouds overhead. Once we arrived we found a trail that looked suitable for a wheelchair, so we parked the car.
As John got out and was pulling my manual wheelchair out of the trunk, the heavens opened up. Quickly he put the chair back in the trunk and rushed to get into the car.
"Well, I guess there went our walk," I said.
"No, let's drive around the park once. The rain never lasts long like it does in Florida," he answered.
Moraine State Park is rather large, and it took us about 20 minutes to drive around and return to our starting point. The rain had stopped, so we parked the car and again John went to open the trunk. Strike two. Here came the rain again.
At this point I had resigned myself to the fact that this walk was not happening. However, John insisted that we drive around one more time to give it a final try.
Why in the world was this walk so important? For goodness sake, I thought, we’ve now spent forty minutes driving around. What more could we see? I just didn't understand.
The third time proved to be the charm. We got out of the car and John pushed my wheelchair down the not so even path into the woods. This was meant to be a biking/hiking trail, so it wasn’t paved. What I hadn't realized was that it had large roots coming up from the ground, huge rocks and sticks everywhere . . . certainly not wheelchair friendly.
This wheelchair had no seat belt and I feared one of my wheels would get stuck in the soft dirt beneath me, or worse yet that John would hit a tree root or rock and I would land face-first into a pile of leaves.
John kept saying, "Isn't this nice?" Wanting to be supportive of his efforts I agreed, yet I was white-knuckled the whole time, with my heart in my throat as I held on for dear life the further we went into the woods.
Finally after what seemed like miles he stopped. As I unclenched my grip and breathed a sigh of relief, John said to me, "You see, if we can get through this we can get through anything together."
As sweet as the sentiment was, I was trying to pull my wits back together as well as look for wild life. It isn't everyday that I find myself in the woods, you know.
When I turned my attention from trying to find Bambi, I noticed that John was kneeling beside me on one knee with my ring in his hand. I couldn't believe what was happening. John was proposing!
As he told me how much he loved me and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, we both cried.
When he put the ring on my finger he said, “Now you will never have to take it off again."
I started to feel a light sprinkle coming through the canopy of leaves above us. The rain had started again, and there we were in the middle of the woods, but I didn't care. We sat there, holding each other and kissing and enjoying what would be the most romantic moments we had ever shared.
The rain started to come down harder, breaking through the leaves with more force, so we decided it was time to head back to the car. Surprisingly enough, the trip back through the uneven terrain seemed nowhere near as turbulent a ride. It must have been the power from my glistening ring. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. I think I was in shock that the moment had even happened.
As we broke through the coverage of trees, the rain was really coming down. We both were soaked to the core when we got back into the car. Again we kissed, and I just sat there, ecstatic that we were finally engaged!