Yesterday, Casinodad & I celebrated 12 years of marriage. In this post two years ago, I talked about how we met & left it w/ a "to be continued w/ the proposal." Well, I guess I should probably make good on that promise!
After he had asked for my phone number on Christmas Eve of 1996, he called me the day after Christmas. (Truthfully, I think he wanted to call me as soon as he got off work that day...he was so excited!) We talked on the phone several times before we actually went out...delayed a bit because I got sick w/ a cold. Our first date was shortly after New Year's Eve. We went to dinner at Chile Verde, a Mexican restaurant that is no longer open, then went to see Jerry Maguire. I think it's probably the last Tom Cruise movie that I liked. We stopped at the coffee shop next door when the movie was over. I think Casinodad was still a bit nervous because he ended up spilling hot chocolate on his shirt :)
We talked a lot that night & I think both of us knew deep down that we were destined to get married. We were pretty much dating exclusively from the start, even though we were taking things slow. We'd both had previously relationships that ended badly & wanted to be sure this time around. By Valentine's, after one of our dates, he told me that he loved me. My response..."Are you sure?" (Probably not the best question when someone professes their love to you!) Even though I knew I loved him by then, I wasn't ready to voice it for another couple of weeks. I think my comment gave him pause to think & fret. As soon as he got home, he called me, very worried that he had ruined our relationship. I assured him that he had not. By my birthday, at the end of February, I was ready to tell him that I loved him.
Shortly after that, we started talking about marriage & looking at rings...not making any specific plans because we wanted to wait a while. Basically, we were unofficially engaged. At the time, I was a store manager for Blockbuster Video & a coordinator for one of our church's music ensembles. I liked my job, but had some late hours. Once a month, we had to complete a store inventory & couldn't start until the store closed at Midnight. Inventory for April of 1997 just happened to be the night before Easter. Casinodad was to pick me up before the Noon Mass at church. He wanted to meet earlier to exchange our Easter presents, but knowing that I wouldn't be home until at least 4am, I wanted to sleep as long as possible & wait until after Mass.
I was in the cry room putting my flute away after Mass & the door to the church was open. Casinodad was talking to my best friend & overhead snippets of their conversation. That's when I started to get a little suspicious. She was basically asking if he'd done it yet.
After Mass, he seemed really nervous & couldn't wait to get back to my apartment. Hmmm! Something was definitely up! He wanted to exchange gifts as soon as we walked in the door. I gave him his first...a silver pail filled w/ men's toiletries from Bath & Body Works. He handed me a big oval-shaped basket that was holding six miniature plastic eggs & one larger one in the middle. I was told to open the little ones first. Each one held a small piece of construction paper w/ something written on it: "Beautiful, Brown Eyes," "Kind Heart," Soft Skin," Great Sense of Humor," "Enchanting Voice," & "Long, Flowing, Lustrius, Curly, Brown, Hair." And, in the larger egg was one last note: "My Sweet (my name), Look at the bottom of this Easter basket to see how much I love you. Love, (his name)." Underneath all the green fake grass was a green box & a beautiful, simple 3/8 carat diamond ring. Casinodad knelt in front of me & proposed w/ tears in his eyes. With tears in mine, I accepted!
(to be continued w/ the wedding...I promise not to wait two years this time!)