Betty Beguiles has asked us once again to share a story. This time it’s the story of our engagements. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures, but since we didn’t own a digital camera then and we are currently without a scanner/printer/copier, words will have to do. Unlike most women, I knew when I was getting my ring, but let me back up. In 2001, after dating for 3 years of dating, Jeff promised I was for sure getting a ring. THIS YEAR. Three years is actually a record short period of time to get engaged in Jeff’s family. His brother and his brother’s wife were dating for seven years before getting engaged.
What prompted Jeff to make that statement was that his older brother had gotten engaged the previous Christmas, something Jeff thought would never happen, and Jeff could tell I was feeling greatly left out and he did intend for us to get engaged, but now the pressure was on. Before we met, Jeff’s longest relationship was three months, so the fact that I had stuck by him and him by me any amount of time longer than that was considered miraculous by his family. But, I guess when you find the right one…
The first few months of the year went by. Our anniversary in February, no ring. Easter, no ring. On April 29, Jeff told me (and I admit, I was needling him) that I would get my ring in a month that started with “A.” I was pretty sure that month would be August since a) there was only one day left in April and b) Jeff’s birthday is in August. April 30th came and went. We went through the summer. Then on August 1, Jeff’s birthday, we celebrated and had cake. And no ring. The month went on, I went back for my senior year of college. August 31 came around, no ring. I was extremely depressed.
My mood didn’t improve on September 11, but a co-worker told me then that maybe this kind of event would make Jeff more serious and hurry up and give me the ring. It gave me some hope. My birthday was in October. I held onto what my co-worker had said. Still no ring. Halloween, my favorite holiday, no ring. As Thanksgiving rolled around, I didn’t even allow myself to get my hopes up, no ring.
But around the end of November Jeff started acting very suspicious. No way, we wouldn’t get engaged at Christmas? His brother did that last year (and he was still unmarried). Anyway, as the holiday neared, Jeff gave off more hints and it became glaringly obvious that I was getting the ring at Christmas. Christmas Eve, we opened presents to each other. I opened all my gifts, no hidden ring. Then in the Christmas tree, he revealed two small packages. One contained my class ring from high school. The other contained his class ring from high school…
Christmas morning he drove me down to the south end of Wrightsville Beach (where we had had our first date) and wrote in the sand “Will you marry me?” And would only accept my answer in writing, “yes.” We have a picture in a scrapbook of it. Then we went and visited family to share the good news.
The reasons I didn’t get my ring in a month that started with an “A” were two. One, Jeff decided that the ring he had paid in full for was not enough. Not big enough or sparkly enough even though the employees at the jewelry store assured him that I would love it. And I would have. It’s what the ring meant, not what it looked like. Regardless, he put that money as a down payment for a larger stone. That reason irks me because it makes me sound petty and really concerned with the size of my diamond. The second reason it took longer to get my ring…he wanted to propose on Johnny Mercer’s pier which had been closed for remodeling and it didn’t re-open on schedule. And still wasn’t opened by Christmas, so he reconsidered.
Jeff tries really hard to be a hopeless romantic, but he’s not and his un-natural attempts were both sweet and frustrating. Much like dating the previous three years had been and the ensuing year of engagement was and now eight years of marriage have been. No my engagement was not “natural” or “romantic” or anything to make a movie about. (I’m reminded of the Chris O’Donnell movie where he tells his girlfriend in his marriage proposal that it’s time to “sh@t or get off the pot.”) But it was what it was. In the end, it was unique and has led us to our marriage which is a prize that no ring of any size could ever be.