Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Talking About Forever

Over Christmas break that year, Daniel and I would talk every night on AOL instant messenger, rather than on the phone. (I’m not really sure why) One night, out of the blue, Daniel typed:

“You know what I’ve been thinking a lot about lately?”


“Marrying you and if it would work.”

There was a long pause as I tried to figure out how to respond. I wasn’t freaked out or anything—after all, I had been thinking about it, too. I ended up replying with, “Oh really? And what have you come up with?”

“Well, I think we would both want at least four kids, am I right?” And he went on from there to mention raising our potential family Catholic, the fact that we were obviously attracted to each other, etc. I agreed with everything he said, typing short responses in between what he said with a huge grin on my face.

Daniel was sure to explain that he certainly wasn’t anywhere near making that kind of a commitment right now (after all, we had just met a few months before), but that he saw it as a possibility. I assured him that we were on the same page, and that was that.

After that conversation, a whole lot more “if we get married” statements would find their way into our days together. At some point, the “if”s turned into “when”s—I’m very sorry that I can’t remember more details on how exactly this transition happened. The point is that it happened.

And somewhere along the way Daniel asked me to marry him, in a half-joking, half-serious kind of way. I told him yes. And he kept asking, over and over again for the next couple of years—each time with a little more serious and a little less joking, but we both knew that “the real thing” wouldn’t come for a while. We joked about how we were “engaged to be engaged.”

Of course, as time went by we were growing more and more certain of our love for each other and our desire to be married someday. We couldn’t wait to get engaged so that our plans would be “for real.” By the time 2007 rolled around, Daniel told me that I could expect a proposal sometime that summer…

That will be a perfect story for next time. Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2008

"I Love You"

My friend Caroline and her boyfriend recently said “I love you” to each other for the first time, and I am so happy that she is happy. Hearing her story got me thinking (and her wondering) about the first time Daniel and I said “I love you,” and when we started talking about the possibility of marrying each other.

The first thing Daniel said about marriage happened after we had been dating only a couple of weeks. It was a silly “if” statement he made as he was getting up to turn on the tiny television I had in my dorm room. It was something along the lines of, “If we get married, we are getting a big flat-screen TV.” I think I responded with, “Oh really?” and that was the end of that.

I am the one who said “I love you” first, which I really didn’t plan on doing. We were relaxing in my dorm room and my roommate at the time, Maria, left to go down the hall. I was laying my head on Daniel’s shoulder and we were holding hands. We were quiet, and I don’t remember what we had been talking about before, but apparently it had gotten me thinking. After a couple of minutes, I took a deep breath and said, “I have something I want to tell you, but I’m scared to.”

“What is it?” Daniel asked. I deliberately kept my gaze fixed across the room. My heart was pounding. Another minute went by.

“Well…” I said, in barely more than a whisper. “I just wanted to tell you… that I love you.” I still didn’t look at him, and what felt like forever passed by in silence before Daniel said quietly, “I love you, too.” Letting out the breath I had been holding, I sat up quickly to look at him.


“Really,” he smiled. “How long have you been wanting to say that?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know,” I said. “A while. But I didn’t want to say it so soon.”

“Me either,” Daniel replied. “That was brave of you. I was planning on saying it at Christmas.”

It was the middle of October. We had only been dating about a month and a half. Shocking, believe me I know! I didn’t tell anyone for a while, and I don’t think my parents knew that I loved him until a long time after that. All I know is that I didn’t want anyone to tell me I said it too soon. I knew it was probably too soon, and today I would probably tell any eighteen-year-old who “fell in love” within two months of meeting someone that they were crazy. But I knew that I loved him. I just knew. As far as I was concerned, there was no point in waiting. Luckily for me, Daniel felt the same way. And luckily for both of us, we didn’t get it wrong.The subject of marriage wouldn’t be seriously brought up at all for a couple more months…

Friday, November 14, 2008

Family #2

As I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before, Daniel and I are opposite bookends in our families—I am the oldest of seven, and he is the youngest of five. Both large families, but very different in the sense that all of Daniel’s siblings are grown and out of the house, some of them with families of their own, while all of my siblings are still at home (with Marie at college for parts of the year). My parents are a good number of years younger than Daniel’s parents, too; they practically grew up in different generations.

Daniel’s parents were also married and started having children young, soon after graduating from high school. His Dad worked nights and his Mom worked days so that there would be someone at home with the kids. Daniel was born with four older siblings waiting for him—two sisters around ten and eleven years old at the time (I’m not 100% sure that’s right…), one five-year-old brother, and a two-year-old sister.

As the youngest child, Daniel (or “Danny” as he was and is called by his family) was the one being taken care of, just like I helped to take care of my younger siblings. He also had a role model in his older brother, which is something I never experienced. When Daniel was little, he always wanted to do everything his brother could do, which was often difficult since he was five years younger. From a very young age, Daniel was playing video games, watching TV, and reading comic books right along with his brother. In the meantime, somewhere not too far away, I was playing dress-up and dolls and getting my nose stuck in books that were above my reading level. Sometimes I imagine what Daniel and I would have thought of each other if we had met when we were little kids—we were two very different children!

When Daniel was starting high school, his family moved from the small house in the neighborhood that had clearly gone downhill since his parents had moved there to a house in a rural area similar to where my parents moved. Today, Daniel’s brother is in med school in Alabama, the sister closest to our age is living in West Virginia, and his two oldest sisters are married with children and living elsewhere in Maryland. Daniel’s parents are now both retired.

Spending time at their house is extremely different from spending time at my family’s house; it’s amazing that Daniel is able to fit comfortably into both environments—he has become so much a part of my family that he now knows, at least to a certain extent, what it’s like to be at both bookends. I still only know my own, and I am not the best chameleon. I guess I still have a lot of learning to do…

Friday, November 7, 2008

It's Here!

I interrupt this family thing for an announcement (sorry, you’ll have to wait till next week to hear more about Daniel’s family): My dress came this week! And even though it’s not exactly identical to the one in the picture, it is beautiful!!!

Last Saturday, I received the email saying that the dress had been shipped, and when I entered the tracking number on the postal service’s webpage, it said they had already attempted delivery twice that day. I was having it delivered to my parents’ house, thinking that it would be delivered on a weekday when I would not be home to get the package. No one was at my parents’ house, so they took the package back to the post office. I was so disappointed that I missed it; I could have had my dress already and known whether it looked like it was supposed to look.

Caroline and I were driving home from work on Tuesday when I called home to see if the dress had been delivered yet, but apparently it hadn’t (there was no package on the front porch, which was where I had specified it should be left). A little while later, my Mom called to tell me that it was in an envelope in the mailbox! I was shocked, and really worried. What in the world was a dress that was shipped in an envelope and shoved into a mailbox going to look like?

When I got home, I rushed over to the elementary school to vote, then over to my parents’ house to get my dress. The envelope was much bigger than I had been imagining, and was very padded. Inside the envelope was a clear plastic pouch, and inside that was the dress. At first it looked funny, but I realized that it was inside out. Once I had it fixed the right way and held it up, I already felt better. The lace was different from the picture, but not worse.

To figure out the rest, I had to try it on, so I ran up to my sisters’ bedroom in the attic where there was a nice full length mirror. My sisters Jane and Annie came with me. The dress fit almost perfectly—the only issue is that the sleeves are a little tight on my shoulders and feel sharp where they rub on my skin. My Mom and I are going to try to loosen them somehow.

When I got home later, my friend Lauren came over to see the dress so I had to put it on again (such a chore). Then, when Caroline got home I had to try it on one more time. This time, I kept it on for a while to stand in the mirror and admire how beautiful it was! It’s just the dress I’ve always wanted, and I actually got it for only $180 from somebody in China off of ebay, and to top it all off it got here in an envelope in my parents’ mailbox!! Who needs expensive bridal shops? I really wasn’t expecting too much, so I am thrilled with the way it turned out! And of course, I can’t wait to wear it. I would post a picture, but then Daniel would see me in my dress before the wedding, and I told him he could only see the dress on the hanger until then!