I want to share our engagement story. A) because it was the coolest/weirdest day of my life, B) because I want it in text so I never forget the little things, and C) when you share the story hundreds of times to family and friends it gets watered down and sometimes the details are the best part.
So here. May 2nd, 2015.
Let me start a few days before on Tuesday night April 29, 2015. Mike and I were meeting our friends Brandon and Rhyll Brown and the Long Beach Miller’s Children’s Hospital to meet their baby, Radford, for the first time. He had been in the NICU for about a month, having been born 10 weeks early. I pulled into the parking lot and saw Mike sitting in his car. I can’t explain it, but I was just relieved to see him. I’m always relieved to see him.
Only two people were allowed in the hospital room at a time so Rhyll took me in to meet Radford. He was so tiny and perfect and it was really nice to spend some good quality time with Rhyll, who I have admired and respected since the day I met her. When our time was up, we went out to sit in the hallway while Brandon took Mike in for his turn with Radford. Rhyll and I chatted about life and all the crazy stuff that had been going on with Mike’s house, my job, and our relationship. Since I am normally a very private person this was different for me but it felt good to say out loud all the things I feel for Mike.
Michael is the calm to my storm. I feel good when I am with him. I love his sense of humor and I am more comfortable with him than I am around anyone else. He loves Sawyer, and though that may sound silly, it means the world to me. He is considerate and kind. His friends are really good people, which says so much about him. I am physically and emotionally attracted to him. We constantly say “I Love You”.
Mike and I spent some time after we left the hospital just hanging out in his car and getting ice cream. Somehow the idea of going to Salvation Mountain came up and we decided we would drive out for a little day trip on Saturday morning. He took me back to my car and we kissed for a minute. It felt special and sweet and I felt a big mushy tidal wave of love for him. I normally do, but this time it was different (ugh, look at me, I'm such a romantical mess!).
I spent the rest of the week busy at work but really excited about our upcoming trip to the desert. When Saturday morning came I got up early, walked Sawyer and was in such a great mood. I was happy to be able to spend the day with my boyfriend on our little trip going to a place we both had talked about for a long time. When I got back from the walk I showered and got ready and came downstairs to find Mike vacuuming, which I thought was hilarious for some reason! He just looked so cute in his black tee and cutoff shorts just vacuuming the house that early on a Saturday morning.
He had already loaded the car with his camera bag and film so we hopped in and took off. We had planned on stopping at The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs on the way out for breakfast, so for that next hour we just chatted about us and our families and friends and the house and Sawyer. It was calm and easy and sweet and we held hands and I was comfortable.
Brunch was amazing, as usual. We ordered ricotta pancakes and the big breakfast and Mike colored a kids coloring page while we waited for our food. After breakfast we continued the drive out past the Salton Sea towards Salvation Mountain. The drive was beautiful and if you've never been out past the Salton Sea, you need to go. It's creepy...in an abandoned, cool way.
When we finally pulled up to Salvation Mountain, we were both blown away. That place is just so cool, and definitely worth the trip! There weren't a ton of people there, which was nice, so Mike loaded some film into the camera and we stared wandering around. Just as we were about to start taking some photos, a bunch of people showed up and all of the sudden the mountain felt too crowded. Mike seemed annoyed which I noticed was strange because he hardly ever gets bothered by anything. We decided just to walk around for a bit without taking more photos until some people cleared out.
We read all the quotes that covered the painted hill, climbed up, around and down it, and then wandered into the little caves on the side. There were so many things to take in visually; colors, photos, words, the construction of these pockets in and rooms. I was so happy to be there experiencing with him! We took some photos inside and then found a little back cave and sat down in the shade to hang out for a bit.
Mike told me he had a little gift for me. I started to get nervous. I didn't really expect anything, and I hate surprises, so I wasn't really sure what it could be. Although we had talked a lot about getting engaged and had worked with a jeweler to design a custom ring, I had done the math in my head and from what the jeweler had told me, the ring wouldn't be finished for another couple of weeks. Mike pulled out a medium sized box from his camera bag, wrapped in Lego paper. I calmed down a bit because I knew he wouldn't propose with a ring inside a Lego wrapped box haha. I opened it and found a card in which he'd written so many sweet things about our life together and how he was so grateful for me. I am grateful for him too. So much.
I got a little teary and finished opening the gift to find a little figurine of a wooden palm springs house made by Megan McKean, an Australian artist I had mentioned to him before. The gesture was incredibly sweet. Mike has always remembered the little things.
Then he said he had a second gift for me, but I had to stand up for this one. This is where I realized exactly what was happening. You know when you're in disbelief and things don't seem real, so you just kind of stammer and ramble off something stupid. That's exactly what happened. When he said "you need to stand up" I reacted by saying "no, no, no, no, no, no...". Uhhh, oops. I didn't mean "no" at all. I definitely meant the opposite.
I think when you finally reach that point in your relationship where you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, it's impossible to not think about what the proposal might be like. I had pictured it a few different ways, but none of the time I spent thinking about it prepared me for the way I felt when it was actually happening. I was SO SO happy! I was also super shocked and excited, all at the same time. I mean, he was TOTALLY NORMAL all day! I hadn't suspected a thing!
Mike grabbed me by the shoulders and said "Yes, stand up, this is happening". The whole thing was such a mess that it was hilarious and perfect and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. As I looked down at Mike, down on one knee, he looked nervous for the first time all day and it was the sweetest thing ever. He told me he loved me and wanted me to be his wife...forever. I said yes (obviously/duh) and he popped open the ring box and it was even prettier than I ever thought it could possibly be.
I am so grateful that we shared that moment privately, just the two of us. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. It was just a day we shared together, having fun, being normal. I can't wait to share my forever with him.
Wife is a weird word. But I'm looking forward to getting used to it.