If you are just seeing this, don’t forget to go back and read the first three parts of the Team ’76 series:
After our first kiss, Paul and I knew something big was happening. We had decided before then that we would be exclusive but we still weren't totally sure where this was going even though we both had suspicions. After our trip to the ATC and our very romantic kiss on the bridge, we continued chatting as much online as we possibly could and attempted to see each other every weekend when possible.
Paul lived in Olympia at the time and I lived in Issaquah. Those towns are about 75 miles apart but driving back and forth was often a challenge given traffic. There was one occasion that I left work early to drive down and have dinner with Paul and meet his sister and niece and because of traffic, it ended up taking me almost four hours to get there. And then another hour back home. Needless to say the distance was tough but in hindsight I also view it as a total blessing. It gave us the opportunity to really get to know each other more through chatting online as well as texting/talking on the phone. It forced us to take things slower (if you could consider our romance "slow" considering how fast everything went) and to miss each other more during our time away.
Sometime in November, Paul told me he loved me. I don't remember the day or time but I think that is because I already knew. Although I would typically think three months is certainly not enough time to know whether or not you love someone, I feel like our age had a lot to do with it. We were both in our mid-30’s. We had both had numerous relationships in the past and life experiences.
We knew who we were, what we stood for and what we wanted out of a partner.
Once we found that in each other, it just made sense. There was no waffling or questioning or doubt. We also knew that it would not be an easy road considering the circumstances (Paul’s two kids were soon to be teenagers along with shared custody), but we also both had a very strong faith and relationship with God and we knew that together with His help, we would be able to persevere.
After we both knew that we loved each other and were committed, marriage was an obvious next step. Neither one of us saw any reason to delay or postpone that decision. We discussed getting married often and dreamed about what it would be like. Paul had only been to one wedding prior (his own!) but I of course had been to MANY. Despite being older, I still wanted to celebrate with an actual wedding at someplace beautiful in the Seattle area. I had been dreaming of a wedding for 30+ years and was at a point where I was pretty certain it was NOT God’s plan for my life, and yet here it was in front of me.
I couldn't resist putting together an awesome celebration.
The planner in me went into overdrive and I started researching venues and dates. We didn't want to have a long engagement, but we also knew that venues booked up quickly! We started looking at dates for the summer time as well as venues in the area.
We visited quite a few venues in the area and based on price, location and availability we ended up booking the Edgewater in Seattle BEFORE WE WERE EVEN ENGAGED. I know, I know…how ridiculous is that? We picked 6.10.11 mostly because it just made the most sense with our schedules and the Edgewater was open. It was a Friday and it was going to be perfect. When we picked the date, Paul mentioned something about it seeming familiar but brushed it off. A few weeks later he remembered that was also his parents anniversary! He had totally forgotten and now we would share a wedding anniversary with them. How sweet is that?
By this time it was December and my parents were coming up to Washington for Christmas. It would also be their first time meeting Paul. I knew that Paul wanted to talk to my dad first before asking me “the question” so I knew that it was coming sometime soon. When my parents arrived, introductions were made pretty quickly and we made a trip down to Paul's house at some point after they arrived. I'm not sure where we headed after that, but we strategically left with my mom and I in my car and Paul and my dad drove together. I still don't know exactly what conversation took place in that car, but I am pretty sure it included a lot of Paul nervously putting off the subject and some of my dad trying to get him to just talk about it already. In the end, Paul knew it was ok to ask so now the only question that remained was....when?
A few days before Christmas, Paul, my parents and I went on the Christmas boat which is a totally fun thing to do when you live in Seattle at Christmas Time. They decorate an Argosy ship and you boat all around one of the lakes and there are groups that sing Christmas music. Paul met us there after work and didn't get a chance to change so he was in his Army uniform for the boat ride. I found out later that he had the ring with him and planned to propose on the boat that night, but since he was in his uniform and everyone was looking at him and shaking his hand and thanking him (happens every time we are out and about and he is in uniform) he chickened out and couldn't do it.
On Christmas Eve Paul was over at my house and we were all just hanging out waiting to go over to a friends house for the evening. I went to take a shower (I think) and when I came out, Paul said he had my present for me and it was this HUGE wrapped box. I started opening it and then my parents left the room so I knew something was up. I unwrapped box after box (they were all nested together) until I got to a tiny little box at the end. I opened it and Paul got on his knee. As he went to grab the box and get the ring out, I noticed his hand shaking uncontrollably. My heart melted with the cuteness of it all.
I don't remember anything he or I said, but I do remember telling him, “you have to say it!” because he wasn't actually asking the question. Typical Cinnamon.....
He asked if I would marry him and of course I said yes.
My parents came back out and we all laughed about how awkward it was and Paul told me that his original idea was to somehow take me down to the Hard Rock Cafe (where we met for the first time) and ask me in front of it, but he couldn't work out the logistics.
The ring he gave me was a temp ring that the jeweler made. Paul had picked the diamond and then wanted to take me back to pick the setting, so they gave him the stone on a simple band until we went back to pick something out.
We went to my friends house and shared the news with everyone and then I posted this on Facebook so it would be official. We all know nothing's official until it makes its way to facebook ;-)
After knowing each other for four short and amazing months, we were engaged and ready to take on the next chapter in our lives!!
Next up in the series: The Day