I didn't die, and he didn't judge me.
All he said was, "I'm not there yet."
That "yet" powered me for a few months, gave me hope that there could be something more, and that he had actually given it some thought already.
With each passing week, during the return trip home from our Thursday hangouts, I asked God what more I should do. Each time I got a feeling that I should just keep waiting and be patient. On January 7th, 2016, I asked one more time. I was like, "Alright, I can't keep waiting. I need to move forward or move on. This isn't fair to me, and it isn't fair to him." I swear, I almost heard the words aloud right there in my car: "Just a little longer."
The next week, on January 14th, my good ol' hangout buddy asked me to meet him at the bookstore before we went to a movie. It was a random request, but nothing too crazy. I agreed, and that was that.
We were perusing the aisles of books, talking about our favorite authors, and he stopped to tell me about a grand adventure he wanted to go on. He wanted to take a cruise down a river in Germany to tour multiple castles and historic sites. He started talking about different people he brainstormed to bring with him on this adventure, and I sort of checked out in my head wondering why on earth he was telling me all this.
Then it happened.
He said none of his ideas were good, and of all the people in his life, he kept coming back to me. He wanted to go on that adventure with me, and that's why this was officially a DATE.
That first date was one of the happiest turning points of my life thus far. We've enjoyed the last few years together, had our ups and downs, traveled a little, laughed a lot, and grown a ton.
This wonderful man's name is Richard Ward. I was friends with his mother, Becky Krizan, a few years ago through church. She introduced us and was bent to get us to fall in love from day one. For a while, I thought she was nuts, especially for being so convinced I'd be perfect for her son even though she didn't really know me yet. Over time, I grew to love her like a second mother.
Then one day, Heavenly Father decided He wanted her back with no warning; that was a little over 4 years ago. At this point, Richard and I were really just familiar acquaintances (it seems oxymoron-ish, but I'm making this a valid description, thank you). The day of Becky's passing, Richard found me on Facebook and reached out to see if I was OK. Remembering that impresses me immensely, even just now as I write it. We became friends on Facebook that day, then I pretty much planned his mother's funeral service. It was a true labor of love, especially when I had the unique opportunity to help dress her body for the family viewing. I will never forget that experience...
This is how our weekly hangouts began; we both needed a break during a time of mourning, went on a walk on a Thursday afternoon, and decided we should do it again. Walks turned to walks and movies, which turned into walks, movies, and a "Yeah, I could eat." For a year and five months, we were strictly Thursday people with maybe two exceptions total. It was our thing, and it's still our thing. Date night is on Thursday every week; we swapped it for a Friday once and it felt like the world came crashing in, so it was decided we'd never do that again.
The greatest part is that date night can be on Thursdays forever now, because on May 17th, 2018, Richard asked me to marry him! We met up for date night after work, he handed me a dandelion, then a model train caboose (my favorite train car). It was heavier than a typical model (hashtag train nerds) and I looked at him wondering what was going on. He said, "Open it." I replied, "But models don't open." He answered, "This one does, just open it."
The roof came off, and there was an old opal ring of his mother's.
Richard had been waiting to propose until the first sign of spring, a flower, had emerged in his sights. The dandelions on that morning were in full bloom in his backyard, so I should probably thank them next year. Ha ha!
He explained that the ring was special because it was one he knew his mother had loved, but it was a placeholder so I could pick an engagement ring out that I wanted. I asked him why he didn't just pick out a ring and give it a go. His response was this, and I quote, "I knew better than to do that." A few days later I picked out a ring that is beautiful, low-profile (I can wear it with gloves with no issues), unique, and totally me (black diamonds, come one, you know that's me).
Now that I have all the little details out (so many people have asked), I just want to take a moment to say how grateful I am for Richard in my life, and how excited I am to be marrying him in less than a year (May 2019). He understands me, watches out for me, knows all my quirks and secrets, and is my very best friend. It's amazing how life takes twists and turns unexpectedly, and sometimes later than we had planned on. Neither of us are all that young anymore (I'll be 34 and he'll be 39 at the end of this month). We're hoping we can have kids, but are bracing ourselves for challenges in that department based on age, known health issues, family history, etc. We'll take each day as it comes, which I have grown more and more fond of doing as the years have passed by. There's a nice charm in just going with the flow of things and dealing with challenges as they arise.
If you've made it to the end of this blog post, I thank you for spending a few minutes with me.
The Future Mrs. Ward
|My modified caboose-turned-ring-box and THE first dandelion of spring (in Alaska).|
|Richard's mother's long and well-loved opal ring.|
|This is us!!!|
|We're goofballs... engaged goofballs!|
|My engagement ring arrived! I have fluffy but small hands, and this is perfect!|