It's taken me far too long to blog this, but it's been a whirlwind of a week & a half, & I needed some time to process. If you follow me on social media, though, you already know the news: Mike & I are engaged!
A week in advance, he told me he had a fancy surprise dinner planned for us on Saturday night. We often try to surprise the other by heading to a new restaurant or someplace else fun, so I didn't think much of this one - except that he told me I had to dress up for it. After trying on everything in my closet (& some from a friend's), I chose a floral-print maxi dress
The weather that day was gorgeous & I'd recently lamented our lack of decent selfies, so on our way to dinner, Mike suggested we stop at the script Cleveland sign in our neighborhood, which has a great view of downtown. It's a popular photo opp spot, so there's sometimes a line, but when we arrived, the only other person there was a photographer snapping skyline shots off to the side, so we moved toward the sign to take our selfie.
When we got to the sign, Mike pulled me close & began to talk about our life together, about starting the next chapter. Just as I realized what was happening, he dropped to one knee... & then I think I blacked out. OK, I'm mostly joking, but it was a total blur; I felt like I was watching this major moment happen from afar, as though we were characters in a movie.
"Will you marry me?" he asked, & I think I just stared at him for awhile, blinking & smiling, before I could even speak. When I finally did, the answer, of course, was "Of course!" And then I realized that the photographer behind us was photographing us - that she wasn't a random photographer but our photographer, someone Mike had hired to capture the whole moments on (digital) film. He waved over his coworker Ally of Allison Kurz Photography, who congratulated us & took a bunch more photos.
As if all that weren't joyous enough, we still had a dinner to get to, but Mike told me he'd miscalculated the timing because he'd wanted to be sure he had plenty of time to pull off the proposal. He suggested we make one more stop before we headed to the restaurant, & when we reached downtown Tremont, I immediately knew where we were going: The Treehouse, where we had our first date in April 2015. (He chose it because he thought I'd like the neighborhood, & he was right. Now we live just a couple blocks away.)
I always thought that if I got engaged, I would not put it on social media right away. Always the social (media) butterfly, I'd instead take some time to enjoy the engagement in peace & quiet before sharing it with the world. And while I did wait a full 24 hours to post to Facebook, it turns out that a fewww people knew the news ahead of time - because my fiancé (OMG) threw a surprise engagement party moments after asking me to spend the rest of my life with him! That's right, when we walked into The Treehouse & Mike headed for a flight of stairs that leads to the bar's private party room. "What did you do?" I asked...
...& when we reached the top of the steps, I saw 20 of our closest friends & immediate families, all with smiles on their faces & congratulations on their lips. My childhood BFF had even driven up from Tennessee! Do you know how incredible it is to be at a party full of so many of your favorite people? For the next few hours, we celebrated with tater tots & Great Lakes Beer & cookies iced with our initials as '90s tunes played in the background. It was perfect. And it was perfectly us.
When it was over, we gathered some friends & hit up our favorite dive bar to extend the celebration & enjoy the weather. The next day, we met my family for brunch at one of my favorite restaurants, & then we finally relaxed because we deserved it. Whew. What a weekend!
I knew within three months of dating Mike that I wanted to marry him, now that it's official - now that Iand know I get to marry him! - people keep asking us what it's like to be engaged. I guess I always thought it would feel crazy & stressful & OMG-so-romantic-at-home-all-the-time, but the truth is that life mostly feels the same. I'm thrilled that we've made it "official," but we're still just us, reading books on the couch at night & eating chicken teriyaki for dinner & messing with our cat - &, you know, planning a wedding. For the most part, life feels exactly the same as it does every day, in the best way possible, because we already led a life we love - a life that's full of love.
I am so honored to spend the rest of my life with this man by my side. He is my biggest supporter, my best friend, &, as cliche as it sounds, the love of my life. He has changed me. He has bettered me. He has made me happier than I ever knew was possible - & I look forward to many, many happy years together to come.