Here is part 3 of our story. The story that birthed us. The story that is still being written today. Read part one here. And part two can be found here. Only one more installment remains until you're all caught up to present-day Chris and Caitlin. That's when you get to join us and walk alongside us as we approach each new day.
So it took Chris months to kiss me. It was even more months before he said, "I love you." And unlike my impatient waiting for him to make the first move, I was the first one to say those three words.
Without finding and reading through my journal from that time, I have to say I *think* we said "I love you," for the first time in April. It was a Sunday evening. I'm pretty sure we had Easter dinner at Chris's apartment. We spent the evening cleaning up and watching How I Met Your Mother. It was nearing time for me to go home. We'd just turned off the TV so I could get ready to go. But I turned to Chris, nervous as all get out, because I'd been avoiding a hard conversation all day.
Instead of dwelling on it, I just opened my mouth and let the words flow. It was not a fun conversation. We were both crying. But it was a beautiful conversation full of grace, forgiveness and redemption. And before I knew it, I was telling Chris, "I'm in this. I won't leave you. Because I love you."
I knew enough at this point that Chris sitting in silence meant he was thinking. Times like this, he never spoke out of turn or without thinking through every word he wanted to say. So, I waited.
And soon he responded with, "I love you, too."
Within days, Chris was planning a trip to Indiana to see his grandparents.
You see, both sets of Chris's grandparents have long legacies of marriage, faithfulness, Godliness and love. Grandma B had two special rings from her marriage to Papa B which she promised to Chris and his twin brother. So, after that hard conversation and the knowledge that a ring was waiting for Chris in Indiana, I knew once he was planning the trip, he was planning to retrieve the ring.
So, I let him go. I missed him like crazy. But I couldn't wait to see how he pulled this whole thing off.
A few weeks later, Chris told me he was planning a fancy date for us (DING DING DING!). We had reservations for a delicious French bistro near the park where we spent much of our early dating days (DING DING DING!). I was to dress up and look pretty (DING DING DING!). And Chris looked mighty fine himself.
I knew that night was THE night. I rushed home from work and was blessed to have some dear, life-long friends visiting that week. They helped calm my nerves, paint my nails and curl my hair. They were giddy right alongside me and were psyched to be a part of this day with me.
Chris picked me up and we jumped on the train to head downtown. As soon as he arrived at my apartment, I tried looking for the ring box. I spent the entire trip downtown, dinner and walk around the park trying to find the ring box. No such luck.
We finished our fancy dinner and headed out for a walk around my beloved boardwalk where Chris asked me out for the first time just months before. We stopped and observed nature at each pier, just like that fateful walk months before. We made our way past the spot he asked me out. I wasn't nervous or mad that he didn't stop at the right spot. I knew what was coming.
We got to one of my favorite piers and saw some little ducklings flitting around in the pond. I was so caught up in those little ducks that I didn't notice Chris pulling away. I went to turn around when he pulled me close. Once again, he said a whole bunch of nice things. I was way too freaking excited to pay much attention.
And then Chris was on his knee. He reached down, pulled up his pant leg and reached into his sock to retrieve the ring box. A-HA! What a clever man!
After saying the best four words I'd ever hear in my life ("Will you marry me," if you were curious...), Chris stood up and I got to see the ring up close. And I was in awe. The ring was and is beautiful. But what made it so much more amazing is that it's the only ring like it with a history of deep faithfulness. It now donned my hand, a symbol of all that was and all that is to come.
I was actually so enraptured by the ring that I forgot to say yes. When I got my wits about me, I realized Chris had asked me the question and my response, whether cliched or blissfully romantic, was straight out of Pride & Prejudice, "Yes! A thousand times yes!"
Once the ring was on my finger and the kissing cooled down, Chris told me to take a look around because we had an audience. I turned around and saw my best friend jump behind a structure. He went on to tell me that our two friends (the ones who you learned about in the previous chapters of our story) had been following us and taking pictures the entire time we were walking around. We have our entire proposal caught on film.
We met up with our friends and shared a few joyous moments together. We called family, we posted to Facebook, and then the planning began.
The planning wasn't just for our wedding day. It was for our life beyond our wedding day. I was dreaming up where we'd be in 2, 5, 10 years. I was wondering what our kids would look like.
I quickly came to realize that I could plan all I wanted but there would be no comparison to reality, to the plan God had (has) in store for us.
Blog Header Photo Credit: Christine Kay Photography
Proposal Photo Credit: Kirsta Muscat