Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Tale of Three Proposals

So, I'm an engaged woman. (Well, actually, I'm a married woman. We got married over brunch on Monday, but more on that later.) A mere fourteen years after jb offered me a piece of dried pineapple and struck up a conversation about Ani Difranco, here I am, with a ring on my finger and daydreams of proclaiming my (perhaps obvious) love and commitment to my partner, best friend, and parent of my children.

Really, jb has (sorta) proposed thrice. The first time, was many years ago, early in our realization that we wanted to be each others' forever. For a few different reasons (some my fault, some not) that first proposal ended badly. Both jb and I were left feeling slighted and we've both had to sift through some complicated feelings about proposals, engagements, and weddings. Thankfully our feelings about each other weren't complicated and we just kind of swept that whole ordeal under the rug and got on with the business of being married (without actually getting married) and building our family.

Last May, when same-sex marriage became legal in PA some of those complicated feelings resurfaced. At least for me. I was wondering - Should we get married so we have that legal safety net? (How very romantic!) Should we take this as an opportunity as a do-over? Try to fix what was broken all those years ago? Should I be the one to propose this time? Should I hint that I would like a second chance to say yes? There were many, sometimes conflicting, thoughts swirling through my head - and many feelings of sadness, fear, resentment and hope. I was surprised at how strongly these feelings came back. Could we salvage this skipped chapter in our love story? Or maybe it would be easier to sweep it back under the rug and keep living this - pretty great - life we have worked out without a wedding.

Months passed. Life continued. I was beginning to think sweeping it all back under the rug was the best option for us - why fix what isn't broken? I clearly still have feelings about missing out on that rite of passage - but is it worth dredging up all that hurt? Nope. Definitely not. Unsavory feelings get stuffed down deep and maybe covered with cheesecake for safe measure. It's the way of my people. So, I tried to put it out of my mind.

This brings us to the second proposal. (Full Disclosure: jb does NOT count this as anything close to a proposal, but this isn't her blog) One day, fairly recently, we got a letter. jb opened this letter, read it, made a disgusted face and "Ugh!" sound, and then tossed said letter into my lap. As I scanned the letter I realized that it was from jb's employer stating that now that same-sex marriage was legal in the state of PA they were dissolving domestic partnership benefits. If our family wanted to continue to have health insurance we needed to get married by X date. "Are you asking me to marry you?" I asked, and poor flustered jb blushed and stammered that she just wanted to share the frustration of being commanded to get married in a matter of months.

It was ridiculous. Even if we weren't bringing this proposal baggage into the situation with us, who throws together a wedding in a few months at the request of their employer? So obviously my plan to forget the whole marriage thing wasn't an option - we at least needed to get legally married to protect our family. So now we were facing uncomfortable feelings/conversations/situations with a ticking clock hanging over our heads.

After a couple heart to heart chats with with two good friends, I decided what I needed to do, was to let jb know that not only had I been thinking about all this before the letter, but that many of those dormant complicated feelings had resurfaced. It was only fair. Also to let her know that I wasn't sure what we should do. It seems strange to get engaged after so many years...and redundant to get married. Yet, that's what I wanted. I didn't want anything over the top, or extravagant...but I wanted her to ask me, and I wanted to stand before our friends and family to declare our love and commitment. I acknowledged that she was in an impossible place. I know she was probably dealing with her own feelings about putting her heart on the line again (even though there's a pretty good chance I was gonna say yes...), and let's face it, jb gets nervous about ordering a sandwich...this must have been beyond daunting. Still, I wanted a chance to get it right this time. (Says the girl that just has to sit back and be asked.)

So, I had lobbed the (very unfair) ball into jb's court - and jb delivered. The third, and final proposal happened on Easter Sunday. After we presented the kids with their basket, jb said she had a basket for me. It consisted of potted fire tulips (ones that are orange/red/yellow -my favorite since forever), my favorite chocolate, dried pineapple (throwback to when we first met), and a tiny box with a beautiful ring the color of jb's eyes. jb got on one knee and was sweet and adorably flustered as she asked me to marry her, and I said "or course." Perfectly sweet and simple.

This one stuck. It's a good thing, too, because we had to get down to business. You can't fool around with losing your health insurance when you have two kids - so as soon as we got back to Philly we went down to City Hall to apply for a self-uniting marriage license. Then, on Monday we went to brunch with our two chosen witnesses (my mother, and jb's brother daniel), filled out the paperwork, kissed and shared a meal.

So we are legally married. We've been married in our hearts for a long time. And... I think we will also have a low key ceremony to get married in the wedding sense. With so many proposals, it only makes sense to match with so many stages of getting married.

I'm happy to finally be married to my true love. I'm grateful jb wants me as a wife. I'm grateful she was willing to risk asking me again. And I'm so glad I get to choose her now and always.


  1. Jill S.4/16/2015


  2. Rachel4/16/2015

    This is a beautiful story. I think love is something that happens realistically. Thank you for continuing to share your stories with us!

  3. Thanks for reading :) I think you are right. I'd say there is quite a bit of romance in my life, but it can escape the untrained eye since it doesn't manifest as the grandiose gestures dripping in diamonds and ball gowns we are groomed to expect. Still, I wouldn't trade it.

  4. Awww...what a beautiful story! Gave me all the happy feels and warm fuzzies :) Congratulations...your family is lovely and I love reading your updates when I'm catching up on my favorite blogs.

  5. nancy gallagher4/27/2015


  6. Catherine Brinkley5/05/2015

    Awww... I'm all verklempt and teared up. What a beautiful, messy, long path of love!