The day we got engaged, Todd and I had some time after our massage appointment to wander through Ferndale before dinner. We stopped in a cute boutique selling mostly locally-made handicrafts. I admired the jewelry, and we bought a baby card for some friends. As I was checking out, the girl behind the counter said, “That’s a cool ring.” Of course I had been admiring my diamonds all day, so I looked up about to say, “Thanks! I just got engaged this morning!” But I realized she was looking at my right hand, admiring my silver ring from Niger. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very cool ring, but I had new bling on my left hand!
Surely everyone could see that I had just gotten engaged! Surely Todd and I were glowing with our new commitment! My stackable engagement rings were so sparkly and so gorgeous, surely everyone could see that they had just been placed on my finger! At the very least, surely someone noticed how often Todd or I looked at my hand then looked at each other with silly grins on our faces.
But the celebration was just ours and our family and friends. What a weird, surreal, amazing day. The day a girl gets engaged and the day she gets married are probably the most anticipated and played out in her mind. Certainly I had hoped that one day a man would propose to me, but then I entered my late-20s and then early-30s and started convincing myself that it would never happen. I saw other girls as glowing brides but never pictured myself as one. My role was to get excited about others’ weddings, to carefully shop for lingerie and kitchen showers, and thoughtfully write cards of blessing. And I did it with great joy because I love to see my friends get married.
Now I’m the glowing bride? That blue-skied, bright, sunshiney Thursday in Detroit, I did feel like I was glowing. A man I love more deeply than I thought I could love someone, who knows me so well that he knew just when and where and how to propose to me, wants to love me forever! With sparkles on my fingers that are so “us”, we spent the rest of the day doing ToddandJen things: taking pictures around Detroit, eating lunch at the restaurant where we ate the night we first met two and a half years ago, getting massages, going for a walk, celebrating with his family at his parents’ house, and finally going five-pin bowling in Canada.
I stare at my rings (a lot) and wonder (occasionally) how other people see them. They’re just simple, pretty little rings – maybe not as cool to an outsider as the African one – but I stare because they represent so much. There’s so much story behind them and so much story ahead of them. Even though the initial euphoria of that Thursday in Detroit is wearing off, I still catch myself with a silly grin when I look at my hand. Oh my gosh, I’m getting married!