Andrew and I have been dating for over 10 months now, and well, I wasn’t always the most patient girlfriend waiting for an engagement. I teased him relentlessly about getting married!
In early August, we were all planning on going up to my mom’s weekend house in northern Washington for a day to celebrate Andrew’s birthday, and go to the ocean, and swim. I had told Andrew before who was all going to be there for his birthday, but he forgot. One day he asked me “Who is all going to be there? Is your dad going to be there?”, and I laughed and said “No way! why would my dad be at my mom’s place?”. I shrugged it off, but inside I was thinking to myself….why would he ask that? he knows my dad and mom are divorced. Silly silly man! That is really what started me guessing as to when he was going to propose. I actually thought that day was when he was going to propose, and I was so disappointed when he didn’t. It turns out, when I was with my sister, he was talking privately with my mom that day, and asked her for her blessing to marry me!
The second clue for me was that he started sleeping here more often, and we went from 1 night per week to 3! And now we’re up to four! There were many other hints the last couple months, and while I did “log” them, I was too scared to put two and two together in case I got my hopes up for naught. The weekend before he proposed, he dropped hints about rings, was asking me how I’d wear them, and said “don’t worry, your wishes haven’t been ignored”. My final clue was less than a week before he proposed, I think it was our 10 month anniversary! We were cleaning up after dinner, and all the sudden out of the blue he said “We need to get out of the city”. And I thought to myself, that’s so random and strange. Why would he say something like that? That really was it for me though…I KNEW something was up at that point. Luckily though, I had used a gift certificate from one of my bridesmaids (she’s been a really close girlfriend for a few years now) and got a manicure and a pedicure that week, because I was suspecting something was up anyway.
Saturday the 18th dawned bright and clear, and we a had a fabulous drive up to Mt Rainier together. We stopped for Starbucks, had a nice breakfast together, and got to Sunrise at Mt Rainier to begin our hike. On our way up the mountain, I coyly said to him “You know, it would be so romantic if you proposed at the top of Burrows mountain while we’re hiking!”. And he said to me…yes, he actually said this…. ” I hate to burst your bubble Joanna, but I would never do that. What if the stone fell out of the ring at the top and you lost it?”. Ugh. Right at that moment I accepted defeat and said to myself “Joanna, he’s going to do it on our one year anniversary in two months. Just wait, it’s coming”. I texted my sister and said “Ugh, he’s not proposing today. I just know it I doubt he’s even bought a ring”.
The hike was amazing, but it was physically hard for me as I was battling a chest cold (that I am still getting over!), and the elevation at the top was 7400 Feet! We hiked a good 3 miles up (and down) the mountain. The views were spectacular, and I loved every moment of it even though I was exhausted. Finally, FINALLY…we reached Kings Throne on Burrows Mountain, with Mt Rainier in all its majesty spread out before us. The view was amazing, and we enjoyed our picnic lunch of fruit, beef jerky, nuts and a few other random goodies. Andrew was a little antsy though, and seemed agitated. Reason in point being that right after we sat down, a very large, VERY loud and VERY obnoxious group of native Chinese people sat down on the side of Kings Throne right next to us. They were so loud we couldn’t even have a proper conversation with each other. I was actually laughing as quietly as I could because one of them men in the group laughed so loud, and sounded just like a donkey. It was hilarious. Andrew wanted to leave though, and I just wanted to relax a bit, so we walked around the top a bit and asked another lady to take a couple of photos of us. He kept expressing his irritation at how many people were on the mountain that day, as usually Kings Throne/Burrows mountain isn’t as busy. Andrew kept asking if I wanted to leave, and I finally gave in…as I was still secretly hoping he would ask me at the top.
I was a little pissed on the way down. Not a lot, but disappointment in not being proposed to, sore feet, a chest cold, and hiking 6 miles all combined to make me feel less than stellar. We still had a great descent though, and talked nicely about wedding stuff for some reason…I mentioned one thing to him about a bouquet I wanted to do (more on that later!), and he got all weird about the cost of it, and really made me frustrated because he just wasn’t listening to me. I just shut up at that point and made my way down the mountain. When we got to the view-point, he asked me if I wanted to sit at a different spot, but I said no because the log there didn’t look very comfortable. I was so incredibly tired that I just wanted to sit down on the ledge, drink water and try to catch my breath. He kept looking around the whole time we sat down, getting more and more agitated that so many people were on the mountain, and at the view-point too.
The last half was the hardest for me as my lungs were burning, and I was simply pooped. I just wanted to be done, and was looking forward to an amazing burger at the cafe afterwards. Andrew was amazing…stopped whenever I had to, shared his water with me (I drank more than a gallon of water that day!), and offered to carry me up the trail if I wanted. I adamantly refused and kept putting one foot in front of the other. But I did stop every 20 feet or so to try and breathe without feeling like I was going to keel over.
Finally….the glorious sight of pavement hit my eyes. We were at the parking lot! We dropped our stuff in the Honda, and I had a bit of hissy fit because I couldn’t find anywhere to wash my hands, as they felt gross and sticky. Finally got my hands washed and we went into the cafe to eat, where I drank a huge bottle of Gatorade and nearly fell asleep waiting for our food. After our mid afternoon lunch, we looked at the gift shop and purchased a magnet. I just wanted to go home, I was so tired, but Andrew insisted on looking at the gift shop. We paid for our magnet, and walked out…on the steps he says to me “I need to talk to you about something”.
Cue panic. Oh shit I was scared. I kept saying over and over “did I do something wrong? what did I do wrong?”, and he kept saying over and over I did nothing wrong, but I didn’t believe him and thought he was going to break up with me. He made me sit in the back of the Honda and started talking, but I can’t remember what about. My heart was pounding a million miles a minute and I was practically experiencing fight or flight again. Then all I heard was…
“I’m on orders” ”I have to report to Ft Riley in December”.
Tears, hysterical sobbing racked my body as I just broke down. Oh I was upset. I could barely hear a word Andrew was saying to me, and I was devastated. I couldn’t believe this was happening.
But then…then something clued in my head and as I looked over at Andrew, I saw a smile on his face, and I said “So that’s why you said…..” (I was remembering when he has asked me recently if I would do a quick wedding and then a vow renewal later on)….and then more smiles from his beaming face. I started to clue in on what was going on, and vaguely remember him saying he didn’t want to be without me, how he wanted me to go with him even thought it would be hard. Then I saw him fumble for his camelback, and he started pulling things out and throwing them all over the Honda. He said “I should have put it at the top”, smiling at me the whole time. His big gorgeous dimples were twinkling, his eyes were sparkling. I was still crying at this point, in disbelief…not even daring myself to think it was actually happening, that he was actually going to propose…
And then in his hands, a navy blue box magically appeared. He opened it and took out a velvety blue box, and I was still crying. He flipped the top and my beautiful sparkly ring was sitting there. Then those magical words….
“Will you be mine?”
And he slipped the ring on my finger. And I cried. And we kissed and hugged.
I screamed when I called my sister and told her. Andrew told me he wanted to propose at Kings Throne, but the group of Chinese people ruined it for him, and then he wanted to propose at the view-point, but there were again…too many people. He had to do it that day. And so he proposed, and asked me to spend my life with him in the back of my Honda Pilot, in the parking lot at Sunrise on Mt Rainier. The most perfect proposal.
I’m so excited to be his wife and grow old with this man!