Four years ago today I got the most expensive Christmas present I will likely ever receive. I’d been dating this guy, Jason, for most of the year. I was in love. I wanted to marry him.
I had it on good authority that he wanted to marry me, too. We’d talked about rings, and had been going out to eat less while he was pinching his pennies. I knew he was getting close to having enough (however much that was) but we worked at the same church, and I knew he got paid on the 7th of the month.
He’d dropped a couple hints that he wouldn’t be able to afford a diamond until sometime after that paycheck, or maybe the next.
So I woke up on December 1, 2007, thinking it would be just like any other day.
Well, almost. My grandma had just died, and the funeral was that morning. So either way, that Saturday was going to be a day to remember, but not in the way I expected. (Little did I know how much Jason was sweating over our family tragedy. Was it tacky to propose hours after a funeral? He wan’t sure.)
My sweet then-boyfriend held my hand tight as I quietly cried through the service, saying my final goodbyes to a woman who’d really been taken from me by Alzheimer’s many years earlier.
We smiled through our tears during lunch, sharing happy memories of my “meme” with those who loved her most. Afterwards, Jason made an elaborate charade of pretending to arrange guest tickets to Silver Dollar City for us (even though he’d had them for days) as a “diversion” from the sadness of the day.
We changed into warm clothes, and off we went.
I love Silver Dollar City at Christmastime. I distracted myself with cute shops and rides and hot chocolate. And of course, the lighting of the tree on the square – magical! Just being there thrilled me, so when the swinging bridge was closed after dark I didn’t give it another thought. I just dragged a nervous, pre-proposal Jason to the Wildfire roller coaster line so that we could ride it in the dark.
As you can imagine, I was more than puzzled when he stopped to “sit down and rest” before we walked back to the car. I was even more confused when our lighthearted joking took a more serious turn.
But then he pulled out a one-of-a-kind oval cut diamond, set in white gold flanked by smaller, triangle-shaped stones.
And all the deepest questions of my heart were answered. For the rest of my life I’d get to wear the most beautiful ring I’d ever seen as a symbol of my commitment to stay with my true love and best friend through anything life would throw at us. It was a perfect moment. A perfect day. A perfect start to our happily ever after.
I’m so glad I said “yes.”