Day 5 – He asked, and I said, “Yes!!”
Getting engaged during the holidays is very exciting. I know firsthand because on December 22, 2007, my husband proposed to me after 10 years of dating. Ah – yes, you read that correctly… 10 years! So, was I surprised? I was downright shocked; especially since I am pretty good at knowing what is going on behind my back. Obviously, I missed all the signs on this one, but in retrospect, I’m so happy I did. Being caught unaware made it so much more special.
It was a Saturday night and I thought we were going to a Christmas party in upstate New York. I was putting my make-up on and I could see him looking at me strangely, but I honestly just brushed it off. I figured he was waiting his turn to get to the mirror, so I was trying to finish before he would complain I was taking too long to get ready.
My parents were visiting from North Carolina for the holidays and staying with us. I remember as we were leaving to go, both, including my sister were sitting perfectly on the couch with the oddest looks on their faces. I imagine that they were trying to act “natural,” but they were far from it. Again, I had no clue, just figured it was me. They all said, “Bye, have a good time and we will see you later.” Little did I know that “later,” would only be in about an hour.
So, we headed out the door and it was absolutely freezing that night. It had snowed earlier in the week, the ground was covered in snow and ice and being the fashionista I was, I had on heels. Wrong shoes for the weather, but I figured we would only be going from the car to the door.
As we were driving, he said to me, “let’s stop over at the lookout point to see if we can see the George Washington bridge at night.” I said to him, “Are you nuts, it’s freezing out.” He said, “come on let’s just see for a minute.” It was very foggy that night and I knew there was no way we would see anything never mind the bridge.
So as he is getting out, I open my side of the car door and look down. There is a nice patch of ice, and I know I’m going to take a fall the moment I step foot on it. I am trying to slowly get out and make my way over to where he is standing. Now this rest stop is not a grassy field. It has slate and rocks, so I was holding on for dear life trying to walk in my heels without planting it on the ice.
As I am walking over to him I realize there is no one else around us (almost as if he planned that) and he takes my hands and begins to talk. At first I am thinking to myself, “Oh my God, is he going to propose to me?” After 10 years of being together, I wasn’t sure if this moment was ever going to come but Gabe proceeded to get down on one knee and take a beautiful box out of his coat pocket, open it, and then begins to tell me all the beautiful things you want to hear during a proposal! I wish I had a video of that moment because it’s one of the times in your life you want to relive over and over.
He asked me to marry him!!
He opened the box and I was so overwhelmed, he tells me he loves me, I make him happy and he wants to marry me! I started to cry as he put the ring on my finger and all I could say was, yes, yes, yes!!! He totally surprised me and it was really a special moment for the both of us.
After standing there for a little while both crying and laughing, it was as though the cold had disappeared and suddenly I felt nothing but happiness. I realized that we were probably going to be late to the party and he tells me there is no party, but I do have another surprise for you. So I couldn’t imagine what else he could do to surprise me after this. So we got back into the car and began to drive back towards home, but all I could do was stare at my ring, cry and stare again at my ring. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going but when he said to me, do you want to call your parents or your sister, I said no. He was shocked to hear that, but honestly I just wanted to remember that moment and take it all in before I called them.
We finally started to drive into an area that was starting to look familiar, he had made a dinner reservation at one of our favorite restaurants overlooking New York City. The Liberty House. Little did I know that when I walked into the restaurant, I would see my parents, my sister, and her boyfriend (my future brother-in-law) all waiting for us to arrive! My mom came running over to me with a beautiful bouquet of yellow roses and gave me a big hug. Everyone was hugging each other, laughing and the smiles filled every corner of the room. It was a beautiful evening and I can’t believe everyone had known all about his plans and managed to keep the secret so well.
December 2007 was such a wonderful time of the year for me. I was engaged, I was surrounded by my family and friends, and I was going to marry my best friend. Before we left the restaurant, we took a few pictures in front of their Christmas tree. Last year, Gabe and I went back to the Liberty House for dinner to celebrate our engagement there and we made sure to take pictures in front of the Christmas tree again. I will always remember that night and how special it was.
Getting engaged during the holidays is such a magical experience. It made my love for Christmas that more special. That evening was as though all the lights, decorations, and Christmas magic were made especially for us.
He asked, and I said yes!