My Best Birthday

Today is October 1, and fifteen years ago today, J proposed to me. I was stunned speechless. 

I’m not sure why I had the impression that J wasn’t the marrying kind of man. I really believed he’d never ask me to marry him. There was never a doubt that he was loyal and committed, but…I don’t know. He’s never really presented as a sentimental man, and I had always attached marriage to overt, stereotypical romance (which really isn’t a good move, to be honest). 

He’d teased me for over a month that he had gotten me a present. (J is a GIGANTIC tease. He is almost a sadistic tease. He’s ruthless.)
The last week of September in 2004, I asked (begged) him for a hint, because the prospect of this gift had just been hanging over my head too long and I’d reached a breaking point. He laughed. And then he gave me a hint. He said, ‘You can cook with it.’
I don’t know how many of you actually read my blog posts, but I’m a cooking show addict and I love to cook and I love to eat. So I totally thought he bought me a stand mixer or something (which was legitimately exciting!).


I like cooking and eating and watching television programs about cooking and eating, so the thought of getting something for my kitchen and cooking/eating habits wasn’t a feminist let down. That would have been J paying attention to what I like and what makes me happy and then getting me an appropriate gift. 

When we woke up on the morning of October 1, before we even got out of bed to brush our teeth, he said, ‘Do you want your gift now?’
It was the morning, so now I was thinking ‘probably a waffle iron, because breakfast.’

waffle iron

But he pulled out an engagement ring.

Years later, on the Cafe Disco episode of The Office, this happened…

not cute 

J couldn’t have plagiarized The Office, because he proposed in October of 2004 and that episode didn’t air until May of 2009, but…I mean…Pam nailed how I felt about that proposal. I didn’t want some big flash mob production number. I wanted to know he meant it. And I did. He gave me that ring before I brushed my teeth. That’s love right there, folks.

Then we went to the zoo together and out to a nice dinner. And I didn’t really call anyone or tell anybody that we got engaged. J was (and still is) my best friend, so that’s who you call when your boyfriend proposes, but he was…kinda…y’know…THERE. And involved. That was a great day of just being together, just the two of us.

I’ve had several people in my life ask me for our engagement story…how and when J proposed. I’ve written before that J told me he planned to propose on a trip we took together, but the trip went awry because of crazy weather, so he did this instead, which is…honestly…the perfect way in my head he could have proposed to me. It was just us. It was at home on a regular morning when we were quietly together. Sure, it was my birthday, but…I love that J proposed to me in an ‘ordinary’ way on an ‘ordinary’ day. I had people (who obviously don’t know me well at all) ask if J asked for my parents’ blessing or asked their *permission* before he proposed and then reacted with surprise when I told them ‘no.’ I guess maybe that’s weird to people because we live what looks like a ‘traditional’ life together now that we’re IN marriage, but I like that he didn’t ask anybody to bless his plans or intentions or give him permission to marry me except ME. I’m glad he valued my agency over myself and my own life and decisions. I like that he knew then, just as now, that our marriage is ours, and he knows who we are. Who he is; who I am; who we are together. So he didn’t make a big production and he didn’t involve any other people in his plans. Just us.
I like just us.

This is the best memory I have of October 1. I doubt it will ever be topped.
That was my best birthday ever. No contest.
Thank you, J. The best thing I ever did was tell you ‘yes.’ 

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