I already posted this story on my website, but I wanted to have it over here, too.
So I like to say "we've announced our engagement" rather than "we're engaged now" because we had decided a few months ago that getting married would be a grand idea. But we thought it would be good to wait until after the move and we got things more settled around the house and our lives before we announced anything. And we wanted to go get a ring, but there just hasn't been time...
So we were going to visit my family in Texas for Thanksgiving and we decided that it would be good to tell them while we were down there. Saturday night at dinner we did just that and everyone was very happy and Mom had a great time introducing Erica as my fiancee at church the next morning. Monday morning my dad took me aside and asked if we were having an artist friend design a ring or some other big plan like that. No, we just really haven't had time. "Well," he offered, "would you like your grandmother's ring? She never had an engagement ring, but it's her 40th anniversary ring. It'd need to be resized..." Would I? And how!
I carried the ring around with me all afternoon in my pocket. I thought about keeping it a secret until we got back to Chicago and making a big production of it, but I knew I couldn't wait that long to share it with Erica. So when we got back to my parents' house from lunch, I asked Erica to come sit with me on the backporch. It was just a little chilly (for Texas, that is -- it was probably 65° or so) and we cuddled up together on a lawnchair and my mom brought us out some blankets. We just held each other and talked about things for a while and then I asked her to reach into my pocket (I wasn't trying to be cute, we were all crammed together in that lawn chair and I couldn't reach into the pocket myself). She reached in, but all she was finding were receipts. "What am I looking for?" she asked. A little box, I said. Well, she knew right away what it was and she was, I'll say, delighted. And I was, too. And then we took a nap :-)
I think we got the best of both worlds -- we had mutually decided on getting married (I really think the whole "waiting for him to pop the question" thing is ridic.) but I also got to surprise Erica, if not with a proposal, with a ring.
Delightful... that's what it is. Erica makes me happier than I ever knew I could be, and so I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, but this gives me a chance to announce that to everyone, and that fills me with delight. Yay! And then we get to get married! (Well, next we get to plan a wedding...)