Finally, I can start writing again!
True confessions: for the past month and change, I have not written because I was afraid that I would spill the beans. All of the beans. Really cool, totally awesome beans, but… it wasn’t time yet.
Now it’s time…drumroll please… I am sooooo excited to be able to announce that C and I are engaged to be married!
I can’t even begin to describe how thrilled I am that I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend, and one of the nicest people I know.
I didn’t mean not to write for a month and a half. At first I was just caught up in the excitement of having him home. It’s surreal, after having someone unavailable to you for almost a year, to have them suddenly back again. So surreal, in fact, that it made all the little things (grocery shopping, doing dishes, watching a movie) almost unbearably delightful. It felt like such a luxury to say, “You know what? Let’s go out for dinner tonight” and just go somewhere together. I’m sure you’ll all find it in your hearts to forgive me for enjoying the hell out of that month and not worrying about my blog!
It’s true that we’ve been plotting for a little while. We bought an engagement ring together while he was home back in May – I was so excited that he let me help pick it out! It was a very special experience for us, and a sweet little promise to hold onto while he went back to Fort Campbell.
And no, he didn’t give me the ring before he left… that part came later.
Anyone reading this who is (or has been) married or engaged will recognize the error that we made here. It is completely impossible, in my estimation, for a woman to keep her cool after she knows that somewhere there is a ring with her name on it.
I say that even as a feminist, a practical bride-to-be, and a relatively level headed person. It’s true for me because a) it’s really exciting to know that your honey wants to take that next step, and b) I HATE surprises and any variation of not knowing.
After C returned to TN at the beginning of June, we realized that being apart just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. We had been talking for most of the month he was home about where we were in our relationship and what the next steps were. At first we had been thinking maybe a late December wedding would be nice, but then I had a minor breakdown at the thought of being apart for another six months. Then we talked about me just moving down to TN, but the major challenge was the Army’s regulations for men of his rank– there was no way for us to make things work unless we decided to make it official. As we gradually started to make plans for how we could be together, I realized that saying ANYTHING was going to let the cat out of the bag. So we made the decision as a couple to wait until it was completely official (i.e. ring on my finger and parents notified) before making the announcement.
Now for the part that I’m sure some of you have been skimming this for: The Proposal.
I have to say, for something that I had been expecting for fully a month, C did an unbelievable job of surprising me and making the moment both romantic and memorable. This past Saturday night (July 9th) was his Battalion Redeployment Ball, celebrating the work that they had done during their time in the ‘Dab. They held it at the Maxwell House Millenium Hotel in Nashville, and EVERYONE was there– and looking very snazzy, I might add. (Pic below!) The evening was very pleasant; lots of time to schmooze and enjoy meeting everyone. I would say that there were close to 300 people in attendance, but I particularly enjoyed meeting all of the men who C had served with downrange– it was a chance for me to thank them for bringing him back to me physically and mentally intact.
As much as I was enjoying myself, I was also succumbing to my shoes… I love them but they are NOT made for walking/standing long periods of time! (Oh, admit it… every one of you has a pair of shoes that are like that.) So, when he went to the bar to get a refill, I stayed at the table and (literally) cooled my heels. It turned out later that would be a very important element of what was to follow…
Fast forward two hours, through the posting of the colors, the speeches, the awesome slideshow of photos, the food and dessert. We were relaxing at the table, and I had kicked off my heels again. I mean it. My shoes were not on my feet.
Suddenly one of the First Lieutenants grabbed the microphone and called out “Specialist Sosa, where are you?”
It would be an understatement to say I was surprised when C jumped to his feet and said, “Here Sir!”, and then ran up to the front of the room, because he’s a PFC and it’s pronounced “Sou-ZA”, thank you very much. I was looking around with everyone else who was thinking “What the hell is going on?”, and then I have to admit my next thought was: “How did he manage to get in trouble when I haven’t left his side all evening?!”
It was then that I caught one of his senior officers looking at me out the corner of his eye, and there was just something about the way he smiled at me that made me think “maybe I should put my shoes back on…” I tried to be as subtle as possible about slipping back into my heels, and I had just gotten the second one on when I heard the 1LT at the microphone say, “Amanda, where are you?”
That was the moment at which everything became a blur. I felt electric… my adrenaline was pumping so hard I could feel it pounding in my ears. I remember one of the SGTs taking me gently by the arm and leading me up to the front of the ballroom, where one of C’s friends sat me in a chair, and then everything just faded away as the man I love got down on one knee in front of me, presented me with the beautiful ring we had picked together, and asked me to be his wife in front of half the battalion.
I said yes, of course.
I ‘un-blurred’ about the time that he slipped the ring on my finger, and I stood up and kissed him and the whole ballroom started to whoop and holler. I was completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of hugs and congratulations that we received right then and there– it seemed like an endless line of his friends and superiors, each saying nicer things to me than the last about the man I had just promised myself to. Even the Lieutenant Colonel asked to see the ring, and welcomed me to the Army with a big hug.
Yes, there are pictures of all of this, and as soon as I have them they will be shared.
I came to find out later that all this plan came together while I was sitting at the table in the bar waiting for C to get our drinks, and his CO found out that he had the ring and was planning to propose. Thank God for those stupid shoes!
Speaking of pictures, there is one other fun thing we decided to do this weekend… I realized a few weeks ago that I really wanted to have some nice, professionally done photos of the two of us, so I surprised C by hiring Paul Rowland, a Nashville area photographer, to do a photo session with the two of us this past Sunday. It just so happened to turn into an engagement session!
Paul has a fantastic website that houses his blog and lots of examples of his work– C and I are his front page image today! It’s just a teaser, but there will be lots more to come. We had a great time exploring downtown Nashville with Paul, and I’m *super* excited to see the rest of what he has up his sleeve.
As of right now, the date that we’ve settled on is August 19th, 2011. I know that some of you are probably thinking “Why the rush?” but for us it’s really more of a “What took so long?!” Neither one of us wants a big wedding, and so we intend to be married in a very small ceremony in Clarksville and then get down to the business of making a life together.
So… in a little more than a month I’m going to be packing up all the worldly possessions that will fit in the back of my Ford, and caravaning with my parents down to Tennessee. Am I excited? Hell yes. Scared? A little, but I think it’s only natural. Feeling blessed? You betcha.