Jose Can You See?
Will You Marry Me?

June 25, 1999

This evening Zoe's school had their annual end of year program/recital. This involves about 40 kids, ranging from two to six singing, playing piano, reciting poems, and doing dances. All together it was a cute fest. Every single second was recorded on video for posterity.

Parents packed the auditorium of a neighboring elementary school. The only place your likely to see more high tech camera equipment is at a professional sporting event. And there it's usually being used by television crews. Don't get between a parent and their toddler performing.

I've been getting a little preview of the night's festivities for weeks now. Zoe has been belting out a variety of songs. She unfortunately inherited my lack of singing ability combined with my love of singing. We make quite the duo. Ear plugs anyone?

A favorite has been the Star Spangled Banner. She sings it with gusto. At the top of her little lungs. She's got the first two or so lines down, and the last few. It's the middle stuff that she hasn't quite gotten. She sings. All the way through. But it's her own special version. And it changes every time. The middle part I mean. There are fish and flowers usually. Some of it she mumbles. But nothing will stop her. I figure she is singing what she thinks she hears.

She is not alone in her misunderstanding of the words. I learned this listening to all the kids sing. The start strong, get through the middle, and end strong. It's absolutely delicious.

It was a fun evening. The performance was followed by a pot luck. Lots of starches. Macaroni and cheese for days. (We brought some, and so did about eight other mothers.) Everyone ate and the kids ran around afterwards. I would mark this evening down as a success.

Today is mine and Chuck's fourth wedding anniversary. He recently recounted the story of how he lost his wedding ring on our honeymoon. I will now take a step back in our personal history and share with you all the story of Chuck's proposal of marriage to me.

It was Christmas time, 1994.

Chuck and I had been in couples counseling some months prior to this. In counseling I made it clear that we were either engaged by the end of that year or he was going to have to move out. I was unwilling to spend any more time in a relationship that was not going in the direction I wanted to. I was too old. I loved him but was willing to sacrifice that if he wasn't willing to take that next step.

The holidays were quickly approaching and not one word has been said. I was hoping that he'd propose to me at Christmas.

As it turns out Chuck's dad and his two daughters decided to come out for Christmas. This always puts a wrinkle in things. As it is, we have to split time between his mom and family and my dad and family. Adding his dad and kids into the mix, at an already stressful time of the year, is a lot. They were going to stay with us. O.K.

Christmas Eve we spend with Chuck's family. Do gifts and stuff. No ring. Christmas morning we spend with his dad and daughters at our house. No ring. My dad and sister come over in the late afternoon for dinner and more gift exchanges. Still no ring.

Not only no ring but not word one about it. I was getting madder and sadder with each passing minute.

The day after Christmas his sisters go to Disneyland with his brothers. When they get back his dad and the girls are going to leave. They'd only been in town for three days but it was the longest three days of my life. And getting longer by the second.

Finally, about 9:30 that night everyone is gone. Not a minute too soon.

As they pull out of the driveway I go into our bedroom. I'm seething by this point.

Chuck comes into the bedroom and lays down in bed with me. As a little back story, all Chuck had been talking about for months was the fact that he wanted a laptop computer for Christmas. As if. (He always has a few of these requests that he puts out there. This year it was a Boxter and some other really reasonable requests.)

Anyway, back to our saga.

Here we are laying in bed and Chuck said to me, "Well, I guess I didn't get a laptop." Oooooooh. Big mistake. I think he realized this the second the words came out of his mouth. To this I replied, "That's OK, I guess I didn't get engaged." Oooooooooh. Big silence. He knew he was in trouble.

Then he said, "Will you marry me?" I said, "Fuck you. I don't want any pity proposal." I was crying.

Nice hunh?

Then he starts going on about how he had been shopping for rings, hadn't picked one out yet, and didn't want to ask without a ring. Also, he had this big plan to propose to me at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. We were going to be at a party and he had it all planned.

He said he realized where the conversation was going and had no choice but to ask but then I would be disappointed when I found out what his plan was.

Well, I was a little disappointed that I ruined what could have been a romantic moment but I don't even know that I would have gone to the party with him that night since it was d-day and there was no indication to me that he was going to do anything about my ultimatum.

To make this long, rambling, and now amusing story, short, I finally said yes.

Here were are four years later, happily married. I'm more in love with Chuck then that day four and half years ago. (Although I did recently realize that the lovey doveyness I feel is in direct relation to the amount of sex we're having. Oooooh. That was personal.)

We've grown together as a couple and separately as individuals. I think this is what it's supposed to be like, not that either of us have role models in our life to show us.

Happy anniversary honey. I love you.


Until next time. . .