There comes a time in every blogger’s life when she feels she isn’t up to telling like it was: when she does not feel capable of doing a story enough justice to offer it the meaningful place in her personal history to which it belongs.
And so it is with the proposal.
When we first started discussing getting married, Rich and I quizzed every married couple we knew: how did he propose? Was it wonderful? Was it special? Were you surprised? Did you choose your own ring? And the lovely people we knew told us stories funny and happy, sad and unexpected. Proposals ruined by over-zealous passport controllers, proposals delivered in bed; outside the jewellers window; up mountains, on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and in fancy restaurants across the land.
Then Richard asked me where my dream proposal should be, and I had no right answer beyond, where I’m happiest.
On Saturday morning we woke up early, pulled on our yuckiest painting clothes and nipped into town to buy a shower rail. It was raining. Richard had white gloss up his arms and I had a hole in my top. Three hours later we had a shower rail, a birthday card for a little girl called Amelia, a cheese and onion sandwich each and a classically beautiful diamond solitaire ring, the kind middle aged ladies in the jewellers had had re-sized to fit my awkward finger…
Or else let me re-phrase that: In the pocket of his shorts, Richard was carrying a classically beautiful diamond solitaire ring and I was carrying a cheese butty, because there had been no proposal and according to Rich there wasn’t going to be a proposal for a very long time to come. Oh, and just to confound my distress I wasn’t to tell a single soul about our twinkly secret.
For at least a few minutes, dear Reader, let it be understood I could barely fathom why a person would want to marry the kind of person who saw fit to dangle a glittery carrot in front of her face before snatching it away and swearing her to secrecy. I am after all the kind of woman barely able to hold her own water let alone hold in something quite so delicious as a quasi-engagment complete with ring.
And yet, I managed to behave myself. Though we were soon after summoned to a pretty pub garden in the kind of terribly English village that would take your breath away to sup afternoon gin with my Mum and Dad, and my Mums sister Barbie and her husband Steve, still let it be known that I kept my mouth firmly zipped and my hand resting on the ring box anyone with half a brain would have been able to have seen outlined in his pocket.
Darlings I said nothing. Though he teased me all the way back to Mum’s house. Though he whisperd sweet nothings about glittery somethings whenever everyone left the room, and though keeping secrets is about as alien to me as wearing a leopard skin thong, still I kept my mouth shut.
And then it was nine thirty and we had eaten roast chicken and salad in the garden and all the chairs had been carried in and much wine drunk and Finley had retired to Mum’s front room with Richard, to to practise drawing apples, and Barbie and Mum were laughing and I was cosy in the bosom of my family. Cosy and happy.
When in came Finley, shushing the grown ups as he stood in front of me, shouting in his little seven year old voice for everyone to be quiet and looking at me with eyes as big as egg cups. And I looked at him and he looked at me, and Rich leaned forward and put his head on my shoulder, as my little boy opened up the box containing my ring and said… Mummy will you marry Richard?
Readers I was floored. Totally and utterly, beautifully floored. I cried and said yes to my son, and then I cried and said yes to my Richard and then he told my Dad there was a bottle of champagne stashed in the salad drawer, and Dad made an impromptu speech which to my blurry memory seemed to be all about how wonderful RICHARD is, and then we all drank to happiness and our tomorrows.
I told him to propose to my where I’m happiest and he couldn’t have got it more right. All that and a memory that puts my little boy right at the heart of my forthcoming marriage.
I couldn’t be happier. I love them both so much.