Tuesday, October 26, 2010
This is the last photo of me while I was still, technically speaking, 'on the market'. Even though I wasn't really. CP and I had been dating for just over 2 years at the time the photo was taken. It was Easter 2003. The next day CP asked me to marry him.
This is where CP asked me to marry him. Except that it was empty. And there were drought cracks because it had been dry for so long. And there were burrs. And we had about 6 dogs surrounding us, running like mad, excited to be off the chain. Now it is looking very different. We were sitting on the pipe to the left of the photograph.
I knew he was going to ask me. I had thought (hoped) he would do it the day the first photograph was taken. My parents had arrived in St George on the Friday. Over dinner, CP asked my father for permission to marry me. It's all a little blurry now, but I think he may have said something along the lines of "I know it's a little old fashioned, but it's still important to me..." To which my father replied something to the effect of "If you need me to supply a ladder so that you can just run away together..." And that was that. We had all but sealed the deal. All I had to do was wait. I knew he would ask me that weekend because my family was out and we were all heading down to the farm so that our families could meet. And we had spoken about it for so long that it was no surprise.
On the Saturday night we did the big family dinner thing on the farm. Still nothing. Not that I can blame him. It's not like in the movies with romantic backdrops and sentimental background music to help things along. It would have been too nerve racking for CP to do it with all the family around. Even though he knew I would still say yes.
I was really starting to think it wasn't going to happen. Time was slipping away quickly. I think I even started to think that maybe it wouldn't happen this weekend (which would have been fine too), and so I stopped getting my hopes up.
On Sunday morning, CP and I went for a walk. This was all very normal. When I had stayed at the farm previously, it was common practice for us to take the dogs for a walk and sit down and have big 'talks' along the way. And so it was on this day. We sat on the pipe beside the empty dam. I swatted the flies away from my face. My hand a continuous window wiper. CP sat beside me and held my hand. He spoke about how different things looked after it rained. He told me that this was the farm at its worst, and that you couldn't imagine how amazing things could be with a little bit of water. He spoke to me about how hard things were for a farmer during a drought, and that if I could love him like this - at his worst - then I could only ever expect things to get better. And then as we sat there surveying the damage of 5 years of drought (or more), CP asked me to marry him.
There was no ring, no bended knee and no formalities. It was just the two of us, making a verbal agreement. And then we walked hand in hand back to the house.
After someone asks you to marry them, and you experience a whole range of emotions in a single moment, the minutes afterwards are somewhat more subdued. At least they were for us. We felt like we had the best secret in the world. The thought of racing home (ringless) and announcing that we were engaged, just seemed a little too cheesy for my liking. So we kind of just hung around smiling goofily for a good half hour before I really felt that something needed to be said.
We told both sets of parents within minutes of deciding that it was what we needed to do. And it was more like,"So, yeah, CP and I have decided to get married. So I guess, ummm, I guess that means we are engaged." than cliched romantic moment. But more than anything it was 'us'. It was our style. Our way of doing things. Even though it was no surprise to me, it was not at all what I expected. There were no tears, just an incredible feeling of joy.
Every time I drive past the dam, I think about that day. I think about the farm at its worst, and how lucky we have been since then. I think about how far we have come together, and as individuals. And I am so grateful to be a part of this. And while now I proudly display two rings on a very special finger, our marriage is about more than that. It's about us making a life together, and creating a future for 3 very special little people. It's about sharing this life with people we love, and making a home for us all. And I think we are getting better at it all the time.