Alright – where did we leave off? Ah yes. The elevator. As we walked into our hotel room, half buzzed and newly engaged, I knew better than to bring the conversation up. But I did anyway. “How long have you been planning this?” I asked. His answer was not specific. Apparently, he had asked my dad back in November for his blessing. He had also started ring shopping back then. These were all positive signs that he had a plan. But then it fell apart. After an hour of going around and around – he finally copped to planning the engagement right after our airplane chat just a few days before. Originally, he was planning on waiting until our trip to Italy in September but he decided he just couldn’t wait any longer, so he pulled it together in 2 days.

This crushed me.

You see, as a hopeless romantic, I wanted this moment to blow my mind. The last thing I wanted was for him to have pulled it together over the course of a couple days without a real plan, without the right ring, and without involving my friends and family. This didn’t fit into my plan. My dream for my relationship with Brandon has always been this future moment where the people around us fully celebrate our love and are truly happy for us. At the time were close and had moved mountains to get where we were. But we still weren’t quite there yet. And our engagement happening in this way was a not so subtle reminder of how far we still were from getting everyone to be supportive. That night, I felt trapped. I couldn’t share our news with anyone besides my parents since Brandon hadn’t shared it with his family yet. This amazing thing had just happened and now we needed to wait 3 weeks until we were back in town to be able to share it with the people we loved. It felt like we were in hiding, somehow ashamed of this incredible life change,

A pit grew in my stomach that felt a bit like resentment.

I wanted to marry him – there’s no question. I just didn’t want our engagement to start like this. I thought we were on the same page that it would happen when everyone was ready. But it turned out we weren’t. Looking back now, as I fell asleep that night with puffy, red eyes – I wish I could go back and tell myself that it was going to be okay. That this was going to make us stronger. That this was his way of showing me his love. But that night, I was overwhelmed by a sadness that is still painful for me to recount. I didn’t want to go to bed upset but I wasn’t going to find the peace I needed in the answers he was giving me. We were both sad. For Brandon, he realized that he jumped the gun. But that’s how we’ve always done things. Our entire relationship we’ve pushed forward without the full support of everyone so, from his perspective, why would our engagement be any different? People adjust and there’s never going to be an “ideal” time. He knew we were both ready and he didn’t want to wait another day without knowing I was going to be his bride. Poor Brandon also didn’t fully understand how important the engagement was to me. I mean, we had never really talked about it much. We had the occasional conversation but I never told him that I had a vision for how I wanted this moment to look. How was he supposed to know? So when the time felt right to him, he was so excited to do it then and there that he just went for it in his own way. I’ve since found beauty in this. I mean, how can I get mad that he was so excited to ask me to marry him that he frantically put it together in a couple days to make it happen? It’s just not what I had pictured. Through this blog, I get to share my story. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Some parts of my story I’m not proud of but I also get to reflect and share how I’ve learned from these moment. This story doesn’t exactly shed the most positive light on me. I am fully aware that it’s likely that I’ll come across as ungrateful and even shallow for not jumping up and down when this beautiful moment happened. But here’s the thing: that’s not my truth. This completely took me by surprise and it was another reminder of how our age gap has changed everything about how I thought I would fall in love.

But this is the greatest lesson I’ve learned:

The things you might have thought were important about love sometimes go flying out the window when you actually experience it. I am truly in love with someone I couldn’t have dreamed up when I was making up fantasies about my prince charming as a young girl. I couldn’t have imagined experiencing the love I have with Brandon. There is no one who loves me like he does. My ugly, my crazy, my moments of insecurity. He takes that all in and gives me more love than I ever knew possible. I wake up each morning and truly know that I am the absolute luckiest woman on this planet to have a man that adores me the way he does. I never question where I stand with him. He empowers me. He trusts me. He encourages me. He is more than I deserve. My sincerest hope is that every person experiences this kind of love in their lifetime. It’s the greatest thing you will ever know. So what if the engagement wasn’t perfect? This man wants to marry me and I’ve known for years that I want to spend the rest of my life with him. It’s never been a question of “if”. That’s why I didn’t hesitate when he asked. My answer, after the initial shock, was “of course I will sweetheart.”  Was the engagement perfect? No. Was it his raw expression of love? Absolutely. What I’ve come to realize is he wanted to marry me despite the inconvenient timing. What could be more beautiful? Amidst the chaos of our lives, here he was, getting down on one knee, humbly asking if I’ll be his forever. I might have gone to bed upset that night because I didn’t understand then what I do now. I wouldn’t have our engagement any other way. The best part is what happened next. See you tomorrow. Xoxo Natalie  





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