The Proposal

I’ve known for quite awhile that I wanted to marry Tony. I don’t think we would’ve went out on more than a handful of dates if he hadn’t been the kind of guy I could see myself with long-term. And I think, at least to a degree, the same was true for him.

Around October of last year, Tony and I were talking and he asked me how early I thought it would be okay to get engaged. At that time, I knew that I was already ready to say yes, but I told him that I thought dating for a year would be a good idea.

A couple of months later we traveled to Colorado with his parents to go skiing. On the way home, we had a pretty extensive discussion about our wedding and what we each had envisioned. We’d talked about a general timeline for our future, and had tentatively decided that getting married in October of 2012 would be ideal.

Christmas rolled around, and even though it hadn’t been a year, I thought I might get a ring. Then Valentine’s Day. Then our one-year anniversary. No ring.

Instead, from about the time of our anniversary on, Tony’s tone about “our wedding” changed when it came up in conversation. Instead of “when we get married,” he started saying, “if we get married.” And when people would ask us directly, he’d blow it off like it wasn’t coming anytime soon.

At first, I thought he was just trying throw me off so that he could surprise me. But then a few more months passed, and I started to get a little worried. Maybe he had changed his mind and decided that he wasn’t sure if I was the one he wanted to marry, or maybe he just wasn’t the marrying kind.

Finally one night as we were about to fall asleep, I asked him if he still thought he wanted to marry me. He said yes. I asked when he was going to ask. He replied it was complicated, and that I just needed to drop it.

So I did. I figured that based on his response, we were probably several months away from getting engaged and pretty much threw our earlier timeline discussion out the window.

Fast forward a few weeks to Saturday, June 8. It was Symphony in the Flint Hills – a performance from the Kansas City Symphony setup in the middle of the Flint Hills. This event has been going on for several years, and it’s something I’d always wanted to do. Knowing that Tony loves being outside, and has an appreciation for cultural events, I thought he might like it too. So for our one-year anniversary, I surprised him with tickets.

That day was beautiful. It was windy and warm, but tolerable. We’d packed a blanket, a couple of Gatorades and a bit of cash to get a bite to eat. We parked in a pasture and then hiked about a half mile or so to get to the event venue.

There were thousands of people there, so we knew that it would be important to stake a claim on spots for the concert before we did anything else. So we walked to the western edge of the seating area and spread out our blanket about halfway between the front and the back. We didn’t have a great view of the stage, but we decided we didn’t really care about that so much – we just wanted a great view of the landscape, especially as the sun began to set.

We ate dinner (massive BBQ sandwiches) and bought a cookie for later. We jammed into a covered wagon ride and went for a short ride. Then we looked in the art tent, and moseyed around to listen to bits and pieces of last educational talks that were going on. We were mostly trying to soak everything in and get our barrings so we would know where to go after the concert when it was dark. We were both really interested in the stargazing activity that was planned that night.

Once the concert started, we were settled on the blanket, enjoying the sounds of the symphony, the landscape to our west and each other. It was such a neat feeling that we were witnessing something so rare and grand in scale (both the concert and the Flint Hills themselves).

The entire time I was quizzing Tony to see if he was having fun, if he liked the concert and  what he thought about the event. I hadn’t been sure that Tony would enjoy the experience as much as I would when I bought the tickets, so I really wanted to make sure he was having a good time. Luckily for me, he was.

As the symphony began their last piece, the sun was starting to set. In fact, the last notes were played not too long before the sun finally dipped below the landscape. It was all very well timed.

As the masses started to move out. Tony and I decided to linger at the blanket and enjoy the last bits of light and the colors of the sky. It would still be awhile before the stargazing would take place, and there wasn’t really anything better going on. So we were just laying around hanging out and enjoying each other’s company.

Out of the blue, Tony asked me, “So how much did these tickets cost?” I answered and immediately started to justify the (somewhat) pricey tickets, when Tony stopped me and reached into his pocket. He pulled out a little red package, handed it to me and said, “I just wanted to make sure my anniversary gift fell in line.”

At this point, I was completely, completely caught off guard. We’d just had one of my favorite moments of my entire life, and there it was, about to get even better. Tears started to well up in my eyes.

Then Tony said, “My sister always told me to warn you if I gave you jewelry in a ring-sized box and it wasn’t a ring.” So as I’m struggling to open the tiny package, my mind quickly started racing… what does that mean? Is he saying that as a warning, and this isn’t really a ring? So I tried to play it cool and not have a reaction until I knew exactly what I was opening. It felt like it took forever to get that darn little box opened.

But then, there it was. A beautiful engagement ring. And Tony looked at me and asked, “So, do you want to marry me?” And I said, “Of course!”

The rest of that night was a bit of a blur. I do remember at one point thinking I was glad that it was dark out. I knew if people could see how big I was smiling as we walked around and checked out all of the different telescopes at the stargazing station, that they’d probably think I was a bit crazy.

Symphony photo provided courtesy of Gary Jones at jones huyett Partners. I wish I would’ve realized he was there. I would have had him take a real classy photo of Tony & me to mark the occasion.