1. I had NO IDEA this was coming.
2. I was totally surprised.
3. I cried through practically the entire engagement (read: night).
4. I never really believed that I could be this happy.
5. I am so very blessed. I cannot thank God enough for working a miracle on my heart and in my life. This is exactly as it is supposed to be. This is perfect. And I am SO HAPPY.
About a month or so ago, Josh and I got letters in the mail from The Little Theatre of Alexandria (LTA). I’ve done three shows with LTA and this is where Josh and I met while doing a production of Oliver! in October 2010.
The letter was from our friend Rachel, who produced Oliver! and heads the marketing department at the theatre. Let’s just say the letter made me super excited – LTA was doing a focus group on the evening of November 10th with a few select participants to discuss the direction of the theatre next season. The gist was, they wanted me to come to the theatre, have a catered dinner, and discuss what shows LTA should do in the coming years to ensure it was staying current and artistically sound. It was right up my alley. I RSVP’d yes, crossed it off my to-do list, put it on my calendar, and threw out the letter.
A month went by and I didn’t think much of the focus group event. Josh brought it up a couple of times but it was always in passing. I continued to go about my life, go to work and eat delicious food. Business as usual.
Sunday, November 10th came and it seemed like any other day. We went to church, ran some errands, I got the new iPhone, and we watched some TV while we ate a late breakfast. I had a bunch of things to do in the afternoon and evening and Josh was going to watch football with his dad, so he left and I rushed to get ready. I’m usually behind and Sunday was no exception.
For this next part, I want to be careful to paint this mental picture so it’s accurate. Picture me, standing on a chair in my hall closet, running late and trying to find an iPhone case that I bought a few months ago (read: buried somewhere). I was stressed and rummaging. Additionally, since I had just gotten the phone and didn’t have a case on it, I was keeping it in the box at all times (read: thank goodness I’m a girl and carry a purse so my phone in a box wasn’t as awkward as it could have been). As I was deep into the closet, my box phone started ringing (it was Josh). As I balanced on the chair, I took the box out of my purse, took the lid off the box and put the box with the phone (on speaker) sitting in it on the shelf in the closet while I continued to rummage.
The conversation went a little like this (note: I am fussy and Josh is super sweet in this conversation. Also, my cursing has been edited. Whoops.):
M: Hi. What is it? I’m running late and I can’t talk right now.
J: Hi honey, I just got a text from Rachel and she said since LTA is catering dinner tonight that we probably shouldn’t wear jeans.
M: What? Are you freaking kidding me?
J: It’s ok just we–
M: (interrupting) Honey, no. I’m already wearing jeans. This is ridiculous. I can’t believe how unprofessional this is. They didn’t put anything about a dress code in the letter.
J: Take a deep breath. I know you’re stressed. Can you just grab a dress and you can change later?
M: I don’t want to wear a dress!
I will spare you the rest of this conversation because it’s embarrassing for me how hilariously upset I got about jeans. I eventually I grabbed a dress, got in the car, and called Josh to apologize for being so upset at him when he didn’t do anything wrong.
That afternoon, dress in tow, I went to see my mom, went to see my Grandpa (where I put on the rando dress I grabbed and my make-up), and went to have drinks with my friend Maria before the meeting at LTA.
After we finished dinner / drinks and I walked back to my car to put my leftovers in it (I had only eaten half a sandwich because I knew LTA was catering dinner) and then continued walking the few blocks to the theatre.
About thirty seconds before walking into the door I had this thought: “What if this is all a big joke and Josh is proposing?” NO JOKE! I have no idea why this popped into my mind when it did but then (because I had been thinking this thought every time something romantic happened for the past few months) I thought, “No Maureen. It’s a meeting. He said he needed more time. Six months to a year.”
Right as I walked up to the door, I had one last thought of, “Well if the door is locked I will know something is up and maybe is Josh proposing.” Again, I should emphasize, I don’t know where these thoughts even came from. They were completely out of the blue!
But I walked right up to the door of the theatre and it was open. So, I went inside to get to my meeting. Or so I thought…
I opened the doors from the lobby and stepped into the theatre. It was completely empty. No people, no noise, no nothing. The house lights were out. The stage was lit. There were candles in mason jars lining the aisle in front of me. And I knew. I knew what was happening. I immediately burst into tears.
To try to explain what I was feeling is almost impossible. I was so caught off guard that I didn’t know what I was feeling. My adrenaline started racing, I was crying and I just wanted to see Josh. But he wasn’t anywhere that I could see.
Right at the entrance where I was standing was a music stand with a letter on it. It said “Read me. Use this flashlight.” So I picked up the flashlight and read the letter from Josh. In it, he reassured me that everything was ok and that it was ok that I was probably crying and overwhelmed. He told me to take a deep breath, that he loved me, and that when I was ready to walk down to the front row. There was something for me to watch. He also had a pack of tissues there for me. Let’s just say, I needed those.
I eventually gathered myself and walked to the front row of the theatre. I took off my coat and scarf so that I wouldn’t look like a homeless woman and sat in a seat in the front row that said, “Sit here”. Next to the seat was an iPad and headphones with instructions on what to do next. So I sat and watched the short film Josh had made for me about our life together.
There were clips and pictures of us meeting, us becoming friends, and us dating. I cried and laughed through the whole thing. It’s hard to describe so I want to share it with you here!
Then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
I said, “yes!”, cried more (typical!), he put the ring on my finger, we kissed, took pictures, kissed some more and drank champagne on the stage. Where we met. Three years ago.
It was perfect.
This little pub is where Josh and I used to go almost every night after rehearsals for Oliver! When we were first getting to know each other and becoming friends, we would sit in their booths and share some beer and fries and talk for hours.
It was perfect that he wanted to go there so we headed over. When he opened the door for me and I walked in some of our parents and some friends who live in the area were there screaming congratulations. I burst into tears all over again (are you sensing a trend?).
I. Am. So. Blessed.
The rest of the night was spent drinking champagne, hugging loved ones who who were there, calling loved ones who were at home and generally squealing and staring at my beautiful ring (which Josh designed himself).
And when we finally left, he called me his fiancée for the first time and I couldn’t help but laugh with how excited that makes me and how surreal it sounds.
Life is not a fairytale. I will be the first to tell you that. Sometimes things happen to us that hurt or test or challenge.
Life is better than a fairytale. Because life is real. I can reach out and touch Josh’s face. He is really in my life. I would go through the entire prologue of hurts and tests and challenges again just to get to this moment. This perfect, real moment that we will share for the rest of our lives.
I am marrying the man I love. And I am so excited to savor each and every moment of our journey together.