Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Engagements

Baby Makes Six, my January release (that’s still on shelves!) is a story of an estranged couple with three young girls, a baby on the way. It’s a sweet story that focuses on long lasting love, the kind that grows and matures over time. There’s a conversation in the novel between Shawn and Eddie that focuses on the first time they met. There’s also some thinking about the first years of their marriage. And, of course, getting engaged.

Here, so close to Valentine’s Day, I’ve been thinking about romance and engagements, too.

I got engaged on my 22nd birthday. I remember the moment well-not only for the obvious reason-but because of everything that didn’t happen. See, even back when I turned 22, back before I was ever brave enough to try writing, I was still a dreamer and a planner.
I knew that a proposal was on the horizon. And I was determined for it to be perfect.
Here’s what I knew: 1) Tom, my boyfriend, had flown to Houston to have lunch with my Dad. Tom never told me, my Dad did. We weren’t jet setters, so there was only one reason Tom was hopping on planes for lunch.
2) I had plane tickets to visit Tom in Dallas, in just two weeks. (I was living in Arizona at the time.)

So I knew, of course, that was going to be the big proposal! I pictured dinner, roses, wine…candlelight. Tom on his knees, telling me I was impossible to live without.

Um, it didn’t quite happen like that.

By 9 am on my birthday, I was in a mighty bad mood. And sad. I had a very good reason. No one had called me. All my life, birthdays were a big deal. We called each other. We celebrated! There was always a race to see who was going to be the first person to send birthday wishes. All during college, I was woken up at 6 and 7 am by a phone call, with someone in my family telling me happy birthday.

Anyway, that morning at 9am, no one had called. I. Was. Not. Happy. I had only arrived in Mesa, Arizona two weeks earlier for a teaching job. I knew nobody. And it was hot. We’re talking August in Arizona hot. The only thing I had planned for the day was Tom’s phone call at 11.

By 10am, I was in a bathing suit and off to the pool. Still no one had called and I was sick and tired of staring at that quiet phone. I sat out in the sun until 11:30. Then, deciding I was too sweaty to even hop in the pool, I wrapped myself in a towel and walked back to my apartment. I was going to shower, finally wash my hair, and do something during the day, even if it was just going to the bookstore and out to ice cream.

And that’s when I saw Tom. He was standing on the sidewalk in the sun, in khakis and a blazer. Sweating. And pretty darn ticked off. I stared at him in shock.

He scowled. “You were supposed to be home at 11,” he said.
I answered with my only explanation. “No one called me this morning.” Like that was going to explain everything.
Tom sighed. “Do you know how hot it is?”
I glared right back. Pointed to my sweaty, stringy hair. “Obviously.”
Then he walked right up to me, thrust a diamond ring my way, and glared. “Do you want to get married or what?”

Yes. That was my proposal.

I nodded and burst into tears. I’m still not sure if I was crying because a)my boyfriend of 4 years had proposed, b)I looked absolutely horrible for the Biggest Event of My Life or c) someone really had remembered my birthday.

I didn’t think it was the stuff of romance novels, but now, 21 years later, I think maybe I was wrong. The whole thing was symbolic of the two of us. Tom’s a good guy. He tries hard and does things like fly to my hometown to receive my father’s blessing-and calls my family to tell them what he’s going to do…so no one would call and ruin the moment. I’m the dreamy one, full of romance and big plans. Things don’t always turn out the way either of us imagine, but, as my son would say, ‘it’s all good.’

I still can't help but smile as I think about standing on that sidewalk, smiling and crying. Now I’m glad I wasn’t proposed to in any other way.

Anyone else have an engagement story to share?

14 comments:

Heather Webber said...

It's all good is absolutely right. And, I don't know, it seems really romantic to me...

Leigh Duncan said...

Guys like your Tom and my hubby have a special place in our hearts. And deserve a special place in the books we read and write.

shelley galloway said...

Heather,

now it does, kind of seem romantic! It did the trick, anyway. I'm thankful for 21 years of marriage.

By the way, I bought Truly, Madly at the bookstore yesterday. It's such a great book!

shelley galloway said...

You're absolutely right about that, Leigh. : )

Winter said...

<}:^) My boyfired of 2 years made me chase him around the basement of his parents house for my engagement ring right before we both took off in different directions to go to college. It's was weird driving up with his sister who was my roommate at the time, she was the first to know too. Nothing overly romantic about it, but I still love telling the story, knowing it's something different than anyone else has.

shelley galloway said...

Winter,

That is a great story! I'm glad you 'caught' that ring!

linda s said...

I think your husband is such a romatic. Imagine flying to see your father. Twenty one years is a lot of love. dh and I are a tad more impulsive. No proposal. No ring. At a party over a few good bottles of wine, our best friends and dh and I decided we should get married. Them and us. Next weekend. Good idea! The church and the minister were free. So we did. Double wedding. Almost forty years ago. lol

Linda Henderson said...

I don't really have an engagement story to tell, but yours was great.

shelley galloway said...

Linda S.,

I LOVE your story. Gosh, it sounds so exciting! And stress-free! And a double wedding, too. Do y'all still see the other couple?
Congratulations on forty years together.

Shelley

shelley galloway said...

Linda H., Thanks for commenting. : ) We really appreciate everyone stopping by and visiting our blog.

hope you're having a nice day.

Nicole S said...

I think it's a great story. It's not traditional, but to me it's a good thing. It's unique.

shelley galloway said...

Nicole, my husband now says the same thing. Now, he actually kind of sounds like he planned that whole 'do you want to get married or what?'

linda s said...

Shelley
We still do weekly emails. I really enjoyed reading the love stories.

Marcie said...

Oh Shelley! It wasn't funny at the time, but now it made me laugh. I could imagine him standing there sweating and thrusting the ring at you.