50-33 – Our Engagement


This was inspired by the prompt, Engagement from my memoir writing group. The original prompt came from The Sun magazine.

It really is an exaggeration that our engagement was a disaster. To be fair, I didn’t know it was a disaster until later, but my future husband’s plans did not go as planned. One reason is planning is hard, and planning a surprise is hard and even he would admit, he’s not good at it. Right now, he’s planning a birthday surprise for my 50th in a few weeks, and I know it’s stressing him out. 

At the time of our engagement, I didn’t know that we would be getting engaged despite thinking that it would/should happen soon. We were on vacation in Pennsylvania.

My future husband had planned on a special dinner on a boat; not quite a cruise, I think , but the timing was wrong, and so we arrived too late to do that. There were no more tickets or the last boat had already left. I don’t remember. He was trying to come up with something else that would match his vision for this evening and there was a smaller boat that we could rent. I was appalled. I hate the water. I’m terrified of it and boats. I’m not sure why this never came up before but I was adamant that no, I wasn’t getting on that rickety, little boat. Nope. Nuh-uh.

We ended up going to dinner at the Chi-Chi’s in Harrisburg. There was a two hour wait and then they forgot about us. This was actually apropos because on our first date five years before, we were at a Chi-Chi’s with a waiter who forgot us and we ended up eating for two plus hours. That first date culminated with the movie, Stealing Home which we thought was about baseball, but was actually about suicide. That was my second first date movie that turned out to be about suicide. Maybe I should pick the movies from now on.

We did eventually get engaged on that trip, in the hotel room right before his self-imposed “deadline” – my husband likes to commemorate anniversaries, so our first date, engagement, marriage are all on the same date or the day after. It’s really very sweet.

The ring he gave me was his grandmother’s ring that his mother brought over from Northern Ireland. I treasure it and twenty-two years and three kids later, our disasters still seem to be working out.