Year of Life Changes: He popped the question edition

I have a fiancé! His name is Jeff, and a few weeks ago he said to me, “I just want to be a hero for you.” And he is. He’s the hero I never knew I needed, but still everything I’ve been praying for.

He was concerned about ruining the romance and element of surprise, but I could only handle so much unknown stuff to worry about, so he did confirm that a proposal was forthcoming early this year. I’ve been alluding to it, but I didn’t know any details. I even told a coworker on Friday that I was convinced that he didn’t have a ring yet. He had reservations for dinner last night at Mercy Wine Bar, one of my favorite places and where we had our first date almost two years ago. At dinner, I could tell he was nervous, and I was, too. If the huge pile of leftovers in the fridge are an indication, we hardly ate.

He proposed with a rose

He proposed with a rose

I have snapshots in my mind of Jeff walking toward the table after dinner with a long-stemmed rose in hand and a huge grin on his face. Aww! right? Oh wait, why is that rose sparkling?! He got to the table and said, “I love you!” and I said, “I love you, too!” And then he was down on one knee in front of me and I saw the ring and I was vaguely aware of a dull roar around us as people realized that there was a proposal in their midst. I wish I could remember what he said exactly, but it was something about how happy he is with me and would I marry him. I said yes, but I was shaking and oddly scared to let him put the ring on. I was afraid it wouldn’t fit — what an odd thing to fixate on in that moment.

We took some time to sit together and just bask in the moment, assisted by the champagne our server brought out to us, but that didn’t last too long. We walked to the nearby Whole Foods for some champagne and dessert, went back to my place and sat out on my balcony to talk about the experience because it was a gorgeous night after a beautiful warm spring day. (Today, however, it’s freezing and ice is falling from the sky. Welcome to Texas, y’all!) It was too late to call my parents, but Jeff couldn’t wait, and I couldn’t either, so we started sharing the news.

Aquamarine engagement ring

Aquamarine engagement ring

About the ring: Very early 2013, Jeff took me to a jewelry store under the guise of wanting to walk around the mall for awhile. He would have moved heaven and earth that day to get me any ring in the store that I said I wanted, I have no doubt. Why do I believe that? Because he did move heaven and earth to get me the ring that I eventually wanted, and he did it in a timeframe that was comfortable to me and best for us.

I’m one of those tree-hugging, people-loving, think-global-act-local, put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is anomalies in Texas. As part of that, I did not want a diamond. I have a conviction about the diamond industry, and I want no part of it. I have a whole rant about diamonds; I won’t get into it because I already know it, but I hated the idea of Jeff spending his hard-earned money on some belief that “diamonds are forever” because of a heinously funded marketing campaign that started in the 1920s to convince people that a man should spend X times his income on a particular rock or metal. (OK, I worked most of the rant into that. Whoops.)

I wanted something different! Jeff and I are special snowflakes, and no one else’s relationship is like ours, right? After a lot of deep reflection and discussion — I made the joke more than once that if a sapphire is good enough for Princess Diana, it’s good enough for me! — we started looking at everything, everywhere. I’m obsessed with Art Deco, sapphires, and making sure my relationship with Jeff is perfectly us. Our first date was on my birthday, so I thought it would be so sweet to have aquamarine, my birthstone, in our ring. I was adamant that Jeff not take on any debt for a ring. Basically, I set some tough limitations on the poor guy’s options, because it’s easier to go to a big box ring store, get credit, and buy a diamond. To me, that just reinforces what’s wrong with that industry, but nobody asked me. Luckily, Jeff cared about all of my concerns and wishes.

So much of the unique stuff we found and loved was expensive, and that was disheartening. I had a chat with my college roommate about what I loved and the realities of the ring industry, and I realized that I really wanted a specific look. After that, I researched like the crazed researcher that I am and found a jeweler in Boston that offers highly customizable pieces with certified jewels.

Jeff got me exactly what I wanted: A bezel set aquamarine with a white sapphire halo in white metal. Dreaming about a ring is a superficial thing, I know. I always believed that pining for the perfect ring is kind of a mean measure of “did he listen to me?” As much as I loathe these tests, I love that my fiancé went beyond my wildest dream! Perhaps I’m a hypocrite in that story because I didn’t want bling, but I wanted bling. I wanted something with sentimental value. And I so got it. When I stare at the ring for too long, I start to cry. Jeff, my hero, understood my sentiment without judgement and made my dream a reality.

I know I’ll have so much to write about the actual wedding stuff, but we’ve decided to wait a bit to get started with that. We can’t wait to celebrate our life together and our families and friends, but we are enjoying the glow of the recently engaged! I have a finacé!

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4 thoughts on “Year of Life Changes: He popped the question edition

  1. Alison says:

    I love all of this! So so happy for you and it sounds like you’ve found the perfect partner for life.

  2. Auntie E says:

    Sweet story! I love the Aquamarine. Whatever works for you is the perfect choice!! Life is good!!

    • ashleyblyth says:

      Thanks, Eileen! When I told mom a few weeks ago that I didn’t want diamonds, she said something to the affect that my beliefs are noble and all, but I will accept whatever he gives me with the spirit in which he intended. So, I was prepared for whatever, but it means so much that we have something that’s special and unique to us. I can’t wait to show it to you!

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