Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Engagement

Since I haven't been so good at keeping a journal (understatement), and since I missed writing about some fairly major life events (another understatement), I'm going to be playing catch-up for awhile. My plan is to try and write about past events on/near their anniversaries. Maybe even more frequently if I get ambitious.

I had moved to San Antonio at the end of December after graduating from BYU (December 2007). Jay and I met January of 2007 and had been dating since that April (more on that later). When I graduated we knew we loved each other, but since 90% of our relationship had been long-distance and the longest we'd ever spent with each other at one time was two weeks, we wanted to spend more time together before we decided if we should get married.

By about mid-February, we were both pretty sure. Rather, Jay had been pretty sure for awhile; I was the one vacillating. But I was sure enough that I knew I would say "yes" if he asked me. We had looked at rings a couple times and he knew the style I wanted, but I had no idea if he'd actually bought one yet. I was super scared to get engaged, but I still started telling Jay that if he wanted to get married in May/June, he needed to be popping the question ASAP (I know a three-month engagement sounds insanely brief to many of you, but it was just about perfect for me; if I could do it again, I would prefer 3.5-4 months just so I would have had time to track down a few more addresses).

On March 1st, 2008, a sunny Saturday morning, Jay picked me up for a date. The night before, we had gone to Fredericksburg, a quaint town about an hour and a half away. He had been very secretive about the whole thing, and I was mildly suspicious, but apart from having a great time and realizing once again how much I loved him, it was an uneventful evening. So I was entirely unsuspicious the next morning for our outing to the San Antonio mission trail. Even when he showed up with a gorgeous bouquet of pink tulips.

We left around 11 and started visiting some of the old missions around town (though the Alamo is by far the most famous, I think the others are much more impressive and interesting).

We had fun admiring the old architecture, and we decided that people back then were significantly shorter than we are now (or, at least, significantly shorter than Jay).













This mission was the most impressive, in my opinion (I don't remember which one was which--I think this one was San Jose?)--it even has a dome!


Call me a snob, but I've never been much impressed by "old" American architecture: the oldest of it is mainly only 200-300 years old, and most of it looks incredibly primitive. I guess I'm guilty of comparing it to ancient Greek and Roman architecture from literally thousands of years ago that still looks better than our "ruins." That being said, I was moderately impressed by this facade: if you squint your eyes and ignore the rough cement/adobe walls on the sides, you can almost imagine the statuary is from a small European church. It really is beautiful, and the fact that it is "old American" (albeit with a distinct European influence) makes me like it even more.

After visiting a couple of missions, we somewhat randomly found a secluded little aqueduct. It's technically part of the mission trail, but since it is off by itself (about a mile from the Espada mission), there weren't many people there. It featured a river flowing under the aqueduct: a double arched bridge-type thing that had water flowing in the channel on the top. The stones it was constructed from were old and moss-covered in places. It was a romantic spot: dappled sun and shade and the sound of rippling water. We decided it was the perfect place to eat our picnic lunches.

(Self portraits by the river just before lunch)


We talked and laughed over ham wraps and granola bars, sitting in the cool shade with our backs against the inner part of one of the arches. It was a pleasant and peaceful afternoon, and we were the only ones there. Once we finished eating, we walked through the arch and stood by the side of the river with our arms around each other, just looking at the green and the water. After a few moments of contented silence, Jay said, "So, what would you think if I proposed to you right here?"

I got really confused, thinking he wanted me to help plan it out for sometime in the future, and said, "Like, right now?"

And then, in what felt like slow motion, he knelt down, took my hands, and said those four words that every girl, secretly or not, has looked forward to her whole life: "Will you marry me?"

And typical, unromantic me, instead of melting into a little pool of sentiment around his semi-recumbent knees, was still confused. I was smart enough not to open my mouth, but here's a glimpse of what was going on underneath the surface: Is he practicing?

Almost as an afterthought, with a practically audible "oh yeah," Jay let go of one of my hands and reached into his pocket and pulled out a black shoelace with something sparkly tied in the middle of it. And suddenly, with that black shoelace, reality crashed through my stupor. (Apparently Jay had worried that I'd notice if he had a big square ring box in his pocket, but he didn't want the ring floating around by itself in case it fell out, so he tied it to a shoestring. Such a problem solver.)

I looked at him with wide eyes, my mouth slightly open. His smile was a mix of nervous, expectant, and pleased for so obviously surprising me. He held the ring up to me.

I didn't answer immediately. This was a big moment, and I didn't want my response to be a reflex. I thought about the decision I'd already made to marry him and the reasons why. I thought about how much I loved him and how good he was to me. I thought about starting a family with him and raising our children together. And then I looked into his eyes and smiled before leaning in for a slow kiss.

"Yes," I said. And then, with trembling fingers, he untangled the beautiful ring he had picked out himself from the shoelace and slipped it on my finger. He kissed me then, and I pulled him to his feet so I could wrap my arms around him. I rested my head on his chest as we held each other and gazed across the river. I was scared down to my toes, as I always am at crossroads in my life, but I felt a sense of wonder at the commitment I had just made and the miracle of true love reciprocated. I felt like everything in my life--all the choices I had made and courses I had taken--had culminated in this eclipsing moment.

A few minutes later, just as a couple of cars pulled into the parking lot, we turned to leave. As we crossed under the arch, we asked a woman to take our picture. I wanted to announce to all the new arrivals that we had just gotten engaged, but I restrained myself--anyway, I felt like they'd have been blind to not see the neon sign blazing on my left hand. (We got engaged right about where Orange Shirt is standing.)

We hit another mission or two, and then, again somewhat randomly, found this small waterfall on our drive home. We pulled over and took some pictures. A month or so later, we returned to this spot for our engagement photo shoot.

In transcribing all of this at last, I feel like parts are missing and that I haven't done it justice. I've included a few pictures in this post; for more, click here. I can say, though, that it was a beautiful, exciting day.

And that today, one year later, I would say yes again in a heartbeat.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Lindsay, you don't know me very well at all. I am Jay's cousin. We met briefly when you came to Andrea's ward a few weeks ago. I found your blog off Lindsay's (jay's sister) blog. I love to be able to keep in touch through blogs. After reading your blog, I feel like I know you better than I actually do :) I just wanted to let you know that I am following your blog and that it is linked on my blog. Next time you guys are in Houston we'll have to get together.

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  2. Awww, I love hearing other people's love stories. Especially when there's pictures to accompany them. :) It's a wonderful story that I'm sure you'll be so glad to have recorded for posterity.

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