This may be a long story. Bear with me, if you will. I have pictures!
Andrew and I have been dating since our sophomore year of college, but we became friends our freshman year because Lindsay was friends with both of us. I worked at Ridge Haven the summer after my freshman year, and he wrote me letters that whole summer -- and for all of the past three years. I have an entire drawer full of letters. He still writes me letters from med school.
His fall break began Friday, October 29, so I went up to his house in Chattanooga the day before. I had a delightful time hanging out with his mom, talking and running errands, and when Andrew arrived Friday afternoon, we spent a relaxed evening at his house. He and I had to get up early the next morning.
Saturday, Andrew and I headed to Nashville for our fourth Avett Brothers concert! We both love this band, although, the first time I had him listen to them, he hated them. But he's completely converted now. So, we drove over to Nashville, and spent most of the morning hanging out at Cheekwood Gardens.
Andrew taking a picture.
Something like the picture Andrew took.
After Cheekwood, we hit up the Old Spaghetti Factory for supper and walked around downtown Nashville until time for the concert (and we both decided we don't like Nashville very much at all, especially compared to Chattanooga). We saw the Charlie Daniels museum, a pedalling tavern, and a Mennonite gospel group singing on a corner and hanging out CDs. Oh, and lots of people in crazy Halloween costumes. Then, the Avetts!
They were all dressed as mummies!
We got home around 3 in the morning, and crashed until time to get up for church Sunday morning. I was somewhat discouraged Sunday morning, because I had (completely unfairly) placed expectations on Saturday. So, I braced myself for a ring-less week, and was frustrated with myself for being frustrated. Not cool. We enjoyed ourselves Sunday, and helped his mom with the Trunk or Treat at his church. We made oodles of cake balls.
Chocolate cake balls with white coating. Yum!
We made about 200, and they were all devoured (or dropped by young children).
We were dressed up as farmers, with hay in the back of Andrew's truck, so I'm not entirely sure that our elegant snacks matched our rustic get-up, but people didn't question us. They just ate our treats and were happy. Andrew and I had a blast talking to everyone, and joking with all the kids who came by. A ton of people came from the community, too, which was good.
The rest of the week passed fairly well. I struggled pretty deeply with being content. Most of my disappointment was not directly related to not being given a ring, but with my continued state of being in-between. The period of being at home has been difficult for me in the sense of not having any definite plans, but also not being able to make any definite plans, because of waiting on Andrew. And I felt like the waiting was being stretched out more painfully. I struggled with covering up my discouragement, because I very much did not want Andrew to feel manipulated, to feel as though I wanted him to change his plans, that I didn't trust him; I didn't want him to feel guilty. I felt very surely that this was my fault, my problem.
We did some more fun things, like go to see the models of the Nina and the Pinta in Chattanooga, and carved jack-o-lanterns (my first time ever).
Andrew being a pirate on the tiny Nina.
Andrew's anatomically correct heart and my dinosaur.
Then, Wednesday, we were playing our second or third game of Stratego (again, a first for me), and somehow I just started telling Andrew what a hard time I was having, and why it was hard to wait, to be in-between. It was incredibly relieving to be honest with him, and for him to hear me and hurt for me, and to also promise that he was seeking to do what was best for us. We both sobbed, and it was so good.
We sat right under the bridge for our picnic, on a flat area just wide enough to lean against the stonework and stretch out your legs to the edge of the water. This was a place we had stood and talked the last time we came there. Andrew brought Coke in glass bottles, carrots, grapes, and chocolate chip cookies. We devoured our chicken, and then sat and watched the water go by. I was so relaxed, being free of the anxiety I had felt all week; our conversation had somehow put my heart at peace with waiting. I was ready and willing to wait more, so we just sat quietly against the rock wall.
Then, Andrew began telling me how he appreciated my honesty the evening before, in telling him how I was struggling. He told me he thought that honesty was one of the strongest things in our relationship, and something he treasures deeply. "So", he said, "I made you something!" He asked me to stand up, and pulls out of the picnic basket
I exclaim, "It's beautiful!" Reader, it is a lovely box. It is so smooth it feels like glass.
He then pulls a key out of his pocket, the skeleton key he has worn around his neck for years. He tells me, "this is the only key that opens it." That was when I began to tear up; my world became slightly foggy. I opened the box to see
another handmade box.
I looked up to see him go down on one knee.
He asked me to walk with him, to be his best friend, his confidant, his support, his companion on the adventure the Lord gives us -- to marry him.
I was completely teared up, but I managed an enthusiastic yes!
The smaller box opened to reveal a glorious ring.
He picked it out completely independently from me.
Why Watson Mill? I asked the same thing. We agreed early in our relationship that to help us maintain purity, we would wait to kiss until we were engaged. He told me that this spot, under the bridge, was the first place he had ever wanted to kiss me. And I think he decided then, years ago, that it would be the place.
We're getting married! I couldn't be more pleased.