the ring & the story

The first time Chris proposed was in Vegas. Palm trees, casinos, wedding chapels, and restaurants blinked past the windows of the limo. My two sisters and brother-in-law sat watching.—though I can’t quite remember any of that when it was happening. I can only remember Chris.
He looked so handsome in his black suit and tie. “Don’t look at me,” Chris said nervously. His hand was reaching in his pocket. “My hand is sweaty…I can’t get it.” His face was flushed. But then he was on one knee in the moving limo. Instantly at the sight, I started crying and oddly enough laughing too. He opened his mouth and out tumbled the most honest and loving words. “I know this isn’t traditional but we aren’t very traditional…” he started, his voice a bit shaky. It was true. I asked him on our first date, I asked him to be my boyfriend, I asked him to move in with me. And then came the beautiful part, the part where he told me how much he loved me and how he would make our lives the best he could if I said yes and how I was the only thing he really needed in his life to be happy. It was the part where I just melted in my seat.
And I remember in between Chris’ thumb and pointer finger was a $6 ring from Claire’s. He grinned big at me, promising to give me the ring I deserved one day. I was teary but smiling. More than smiling--beaming. Shocker--I said yes! Minutes later we got married in a little chapel surrounded by only my sisters and my brother-in-law. Then this photo was snapped.
The second time Chris proposed was at home. It was this past Friday, he was working late and I was with my friends. He called saying he finally was back. I asked him if he was hungry. Take-out? Fast food? Sit down food? Food at home? He dodged my questions and asked me when I was coming home. I told him I’d be on my way soon. “How soon?” he asked. After the phone call, I got caught up in talking that I left twenty minutes later than I meant to. 
The house was dark when I opened the door but the living room was lit up. Blurs of candle flames lit up the entire living room. I said how romantic, I wish I would’ve brought some food so we could enjoy the setting. Chris laughed and pulled me closer to the coffee table. That’s when I could read it: marry me. (I blame not wearing my glasses for not noticing sooner.) He was proposing! He was proposing! I saw the (big) box angled strategically on a mirror. He took my hand in one of his, the other held the box, and we sat next to the coffee table. “Do you want to see it?” he asked. 
And inside was the most meaningful (/beautiful) and sentimental gift: an engagement ring and wedding band.

Love isn't always perfect. It isn't a fairy tale or storybook. And it doesn't always come easy. Love is overcoming obstacles, facing challenges, fighting to be together, hold on and never letting go. It is a short word, easy to spell, but difficult to define. And impossible to live without. Love is work but most of all love is realizing that every year, every day, and every minute was absolutely worth it. I'd never trade a second of what I have with this man, my husband.