Engagement

 

I am seventh in a family of eight, but I am the last to marry. Some were beginning to wonder if it would ever happen. Especially after the oldest of my brothers and sisters, at the age of 40, finally took the plunge. Believe me, I have felt the pressure and had begun to wonder myself if I would ever find the “girl of my dreams.”

Actually, that is not entirely true, because by the time Tom got married a year ago, I had already made up my mind whom I was going to ask to share my life with me. In fact, at that time, I had already spent a year with that conviction. That is not to say, though, that there were not many years of anguish over making the proper choice, a choice I have felt so crucial to the story of my life. I had struggled deep within my heart to find that “significant other” person to share my life with and to be the mother of our children. I made up my mind two years ago. I have been comfortable with my choice throughout this period. I have waited till now to ask her in order to allow her the time she would need to know me, and to have the time and maturity to work out her own decision. She was only 18 when I made mine. I would wait till she was 21 before I would ask her to make hers. No one can say now that I was robbing the cradle, nor that I have jumped into this without sufficient reflection. It was a long wait, to the dismay of family and friends, but I’m glad, now that it is over, that I gave so much time and energy to finding the person who will share so intimately and significantly the rest of my life.

The “courting of Angie” is another story. One, I might add, worth telling. Maybe I’ll get to that some day. Right now, though, I just want to capture a few of the details that made the engagement moment so significant for me.

There had been great acts to follow. I have heard the stories of the engagement moments of seven of my brothers and sisters, and scores of others whose lives I’ve shared down through the years. All my best friends have married before me. I had rehearsed in my mind over and over again what I would say and where I would say it. After all, my brother had proposed to Angie’s sister in church before the crib after Christmas midnight Mass. Not that I felt pressured by one-upmanship. I just wanted it to be a meaningful moment. In the end, I opted for the element of surprise. How do you surprise someone you’ve courted for two years?

I had already bought the ring. It was burning a hole in my pocket. Angie’s 21st birthday was approaching. She would have had to be a bit slow not to have figured I would pop the question either on her birthday or shortly thereafter. Angie is not slow. But she was totally blown away when I proposed to her, on a walk in blue jeans, after an ordinary dinner date a week before her birthday. It was no ordinary moment. The tears she shed were tears of joy, which made so memorable this engagement for which I had hoped and prayed for so many years. I’ll treasure ever the joy we shared that night. No words can tell the peace and satisfaction I enjoyed knowing I had brought so much happiness to one I love so deeply. A lifetime of shared love lies before us. We are engaged.

Copyright © 2003 Saint Meinrad Archabbey