Many of you have been chomping at the bit to know when, where, and how Chris proposed to me on December 14, 2013. So, I won’t keep you in suspense a moment longer!
Let me just preface this by saying this is no over-the-moon, tear-jerker, viral, YouTube phenomenon. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. This ultimately was memorable and special to us. For those of you who know me, my tastes and styles tend to reflect I’m more of a classic, simple kind of girl – so for me, this was perfection.
I love Christmastime. There’s something magical in the traditions, aromas and sights of the season – from picking out a tree to stringing up lights to curling up with a big mug of steaming hot chocolate (with Bailey’s of course). White lights are my all-time favorite. I love any excuse to decorate with them throughout the year. There’s something romantic about them and they way they can transform the look and feel of a space.
And, when it comes to Christmas trees, I have to confess I’m a little like Buddy in Elf, and can’t resist enthusiastically pointing them out (my fiancé can attest).
With that in mind, of course I was beyond thrilled that date night and Chris proposing had both those things in it.
This past week was a very busy one for both of us – so much so we had to push our midweek date night out to Saturday. At that point, we were thrilled to get the whole afternoon and evening to ourselves – it was like kids getting let out on spring break – the whole evening we goofed off and didn’t have a care in the world. That whole afternoon we got to veg out, and then took our time getting out the door for dinner at Original Pete’s in Midtown, Sacramento (they have delicious pizza – some of the best in town). After our meal we ended up bumping into people we knew from church, who were singing Christmas carols to the people brave enough to face the cold weather during 2nd Saturday (it’s an art walk type thing where galleries and shops stay open later and host various artists). It was fun getting to sing along with them for a few songs.
We then hopped in the car and parked in between the Capitol building and the Tower Bridge (which is painted gold and is a city landmark) with the plan of walking across the bridge and then walking to see the big Christmas tree in front of the Capitol. I’d never been across it (driving or walking) since I’ve been here, so Chris thought it would be fun to do. When you cross the bridge you are officially in West Sacramento. There’s a bike path and the Riverwalk on that side (take that, San Antonio). Looking across the water, you see the lights of downtown and Old Sacramento (and there Christmas tree). Unbeknownst to me, Chris was trying to locate the “perfect” view of the Sacramento skyline to propose. Aloud, he mentioned he wished he had brought his Nikon SLR along (photography is a fun, little, side hobby). Much to his chagrin, there was a couple with a camera and tripod doing long exposure photographs in the very spot he thought might be the best view of the city.
He decided to try Plan B: the Capitol Christmas tree. When we arrived, there were a lot of people snapping photos…of course I joined them. As I admired the tree, Chris said, “I just thought it would be more….impressive.” I laughed at the bummed tone in his voice, and wondered why the size of the tree mattered to him (since he’s not really into Christmas decorations), but pushed it to the back of my mind. As I discovered later, the public, crowded setting didn’t feel right to him.
Chris said, “We could go drive over to the Old Sacramento Christmas tree. Don’t they have a Theatre of Lights going on or something?” I replied (thinking he was being really sweet because he knew my enthusiasm for Christmas trees), “No, I’m good. Let’s go home and mix up drinks and watch a Christmas movie.” “Well, let’s drive back quickly to the Riverwalk and see if the couple has left that spot,” he suggested.
As he drove us over there, I was distracted with posting photos to Instagram. Got out of the car still debating of which filter to use (maybe I get a little obsessed at times), and forgot to put on my gloves (much to Chris’ delight). I said through chattering teeth, “Babe, it’s cold.” “You’ll warm up,” was his male reply.
We found the spot. He put his arm around me as we looked out across the river aglow, flickering with its reflection of the lights from the city, with the Old Sac Christmas tree in the distance. He started reminiscing about how much has happened in our lives in just the past three months. I added a few comments here and there, but was wondering why Chris was suddenly getting a little sappy (not that I minded)…
…Let me backtrack for a minute. Knowing our engagement was around the corner, we had booked a beautiful venue the weekend before – a 30-acre ranch with a Redwood grove on it in Santa Rosa, which we’re both excited about! Over Thanksgiving Chris kept asking, “So what cut do you want? The princess cut, right? And you’re a size 8, right?” All the while he was sitting on the ring and knew exactly what I wanted: a cushion cut and that my ring size was 6.5. But I didn’t know that, and assumed it was just a guy forgetful thing. So, the detailed person I am, thinking I’m being helpful, send him an email with a visual, the kind of cut, and my ring size. In one of the conversations we had he said he wouldn’t be able to get the ring until after the New Year. However, he was still convinced that somehow I knew and was on to him. Even my dad said, “Yeah, knowing my daughter, she knows.” Nope. No clue. Totally gullible. That man is good…
…Now back to the main story and continuing the conversation. I said, “And now we have a venue and are looking into invitations…big stuff.” After saying this, with his arm still around me, he craned his head sideways to meet my gaze, and with a twinkle in his eye he said, “Well, there’s only one thing left to do.” While I was looking puzzled – still convinced in my own mind that there was no way he had the ring – he knelt down on one knee, while whipping a box from his coat pocket, and said, “Rachel, will you marry me?” (I am reliving the emotion as I type this). As I caught the sparkle of the ring in the moonlight, it suddenly struck me this was really happening. I was so surprised I put my hands over my mouth, and then waved my arms enthusiastically about, and half-squealed, “YES! Yes, I will!”
He slipped the ring on my finger. The perfect fit. It was exactly what I wanted. But more importantly, he was the man I wanted. His love, and getting to do life with him “until death do us part,” is infinitely more valuable and beautiful and breathtaking – not to mention the best Christmas gift ever.
(sorry about some of the blurry pictures – my body was shaking from the cold)