Four years ago this weekend we got engaged. Surprisingly, in the same city we now call home. Dan was at the Marine Corps Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. Quantico is the epitome of a military town so when I came to visit we always stayed in D.C.
The proposal wasn't a surprise. We had been talking about marriage for a month or so by that point and discussing rings and such so I knew it was coming. Additionally, I brought the ring.
I brought the ring to my own proposal.
It was purely logistics. You see, I wanted a particular kind of a ring - an art deco, 1920s vibe is what I was going for. Dan and I scoured the internets and discussed ideas and apparently I had expensive taste because everything that came close to what I wanted was at least double our budget.
Dan's mom, Lisa, came to our rescue. When she heard what we were looking for she offered to show me her aunt's engagement ring. This was slightly disconcerting as I didn't want to come look at the ring and completely hate it and then find some polite way to tell my future mother-in-law, um, no.
I went over to their house by myself - Dan was in Virginia - and nervously asked to see the ring. She brought it out and, while it was stone-less and tarnished and in need of a good cleaning, it was beautiful. The setting would fit a modest stone. The filigree was delicate, intricate, and stunning.
It was perfect.
And it was in my possession.
So, when I went to see Dan the following weekend I was charged with bringing the ring to the man who had yet to ask me anything.
When I got to D.C. I put the ring on the side table and said, nonchalantly, "This is yours, to do with whatever you want." He laughed and scooped it up.
That was on Friday.
Saturday we spend touring historical landmarks in the district. My mom incessantly texting me, "Has he asked yet? Has he done it? Are you engaged? You gave him the ring, right?"
"No, mom. Yes, he has the ring. You'll know when it happens."
Sunday it snowed. We celebrated his birthday early with incredible steaks at Fogo de Chao and then we walked over to the mall. And, just behind the White House, he got down on one knee in the freezing cold, with no one else around, and he asked me to marry him.
He had a whole little speech which I don't remember now but I remember that it was beautiful and it made me cry and forget the cold.
I said yes and he slipped the stone-less ring on my finger. And it didn't matter that I had to bring the ring. In fact, looking back now I'm happy that I did. It made us both a part of the proposal. I mean, he asked in the traditional fashion, but this was a decision we were both making and that we were both a part of. And then we were engaged.