9 July 2014

the story

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on monday, june 30, i had planned a breakfast date with my dear friend julie. although we’d usually plan to meet in the later morning, julie had requested 8am so she could get to a work training. they boy and i were leaving for a couple of days in moab around noon.
the boy was up early and waiting for me to wake up. he was all clean and packed and very affectionate (with a mischievous smile), which made me think something was up, but i assumed it was going down in moab. he asked me to put my stuff in the car before we even drove to breakfast. since we were planning to come back to my parents’ before leaving on our road trip, i thought this was a little weird, but i complied. i thought maybe he had something up his sleeve, but i didn't want to ask questions, because i didn't want to spoil any surprises, and i didn't want to let my mind run away with romantic suspicions that would later cause disappointment.

we drove down parley's canyon bathed in beautiful morning light into emigration canyon to ruth's diner. julie and i ate (our favourite mmmmmmmboy) ruth's biscuits and got caught up a little. just after we ordered our food, i was saying something about the boy and i heard his voice behind me - "that's right." julie looked pretty pleased and excited at the sight of him, and i was genuinely shocked, wondering if he forgot something or why he was there.

"hey," he said, "we need to go to the airport." i just looked at him and said, "huh? what? why?" and he said, "we need to get on an airplane. our flight leaves at 10:10." i looked back and forth between him and julie, who was just smiling, and then thought to introduce them. i felt pretty giddy and remember thinking that i had to have the most goofy smile on my face. turns out the boy had been in cahoots with julie (he had never met her so used my blog and facebook to find her and coordinate an early meeting time and let her know he was going to have to interrupt our meal). we took my food to go and drove to the airport.

on the drive, i voiced a lot of incredulous questions that the boy for the most part did not answer. my mind was racing trying to figure out where we might be going. i was pretty excited that this was happening -- since we had talked very specifically about getting married already, i knew a proposal was coming but i loved the mystery of how it would unfold.

in the airport i avoided any possibility of figuring out our destination until we got to the gate. at the very end of the southwest terminal, i saw the placard on the wall that said "seattle/tacoma." i just thought, "huh, okay, i like seattle, cool place, but...what? why there?" and the boy delighted in my stupor and gave no further information. i didn't know anything about what was planned or how long we were staying or why in the world he chose a place that he'd never been that had no significance to us as a couple. he kept telling me that in a moment it would all come together and i would understand everything - until then i should revel in the mystery.

we got off the plane and headed straight for the rental car area. i literally had no idea what was going on, and kind of had to decide to stop guessing in my mind because it felt like wasted energy - there were no threads to follow that would help me determine why we were there, where exactly we were going, or what we would do once we got there. we chose the most awesome car - a neon green chevy compact and hit the road.

we drove for a long time. the boy seemed pretty chuffed that his plan was working out and that i was totally stumped. he told me we needed to take two stops before we reached our destination. i felt so in love. we were very happy.

we drove into this tiny, kind of run down town and pulled right up to a random house. i was pretty genuinely confused. the boy said he just needed to pick something up so i could stay in the car. seriously, it was someone's rickety house in the middle of nowhere. i spent about ten minutes wondering in the car, and then the boy and this random man came out of the house with a bunch of backpacking and camping gear, and they loaded it in the trunk. our next stop was olympic national park visitors' center, so the plan was starting to come into focus. but i still didn't know why we were on the olympic peninsula of all places, or how anything was going to go down. the boy asked me to look around in another part of the center while he picked some things up, which turned out to be a bear canister and a permit. he assured me that we weren't hiking too far or hard, and that things would make sense eventually.

we drove a couple of hours more. the scenery was truly gorgeous, and it was the sunniest, loveliest day. we finally reached a parking lot and parked the car. we packed up our gear and just enough stuff for overnight. the boy had come prepared from california with freeze dried meals, snacks, and camping tools. we started hiking.
 
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the trail was pretty spectacular - fern-lined boardwalks through dense rain forest, the sun dappling down through rare breaks in the lush. it was so beautiful - but i kept thinking "there are plenty of beautiful places in utah, where we just were!" i asked the boy if we were there just because it is cool to get on a plane and go somewhere or if there was something significant about this place. he assured me it would make sense at the right moment.

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when we came around the last corner of the trail and saw the ocean, the views truly took my breath away. it was starting to be golden hour and the whole world around us was just gorgeous. there were lots of rocks and some islands out in the water, which was very calm since the waves broke further out. we walked along the trail through the campsites - there were about ten occupied - and found a good spot and quickly set up camp. 

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the boy grabbed my hand and asked if i wanted to go explore. he was so calm and sweet and affectionate and the sky and sand and sea were glowing. we walked hand in hand until we realized the tide was low enough for us to scramble along some tidepools to get onto one of the islands. we came around the corner just in perfect time and he held me close while the sky changed and the sun disappeared along the horizon. i was standing in front of the boy, his arms around my waist, and my head against his chest, and i could hear his heart beating, and we just soaked it in for a bit. i thought to myself that this had to be the setting that he was going to propose in, but then i questioned if he was faking me out and there was something else happening later under the stars or in the morning. i also felt completely calm and figured i'd be freaking out a little more if this was it.

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then, he took me by the shoulders, turned me around to face him and said, "charity." i thought, "maybe it's happening!" and i said, "yes." he looked at me silent for a tiny second and then just said, "i love you." i giggled a little and said, "i love you, too." we watched the sky change a bit longer. i mentioned that this was a pretty neat place to watch the sunset, since we were so far west. he just agreed and we stood there a bit longer admiring the beauty. it really was pretty spectacular - the canadian rockies in the distance, the calm water, the wispy orange clouds.

he turned towards me again and said, "charity." and he got on one knee on the jaggedy rocks.

he told me that there were a few reasons he chose to take me to this place. he said we were actually at the totally westernmost point in the continuous united states, the furthest point to watch the sunset. he told me that even after all the light is gone, no matter how dark it gets, he will never leave me. he mentioned some other symbolism about that spot on earth, and i interrupted him several time to kiss him as i looked down on his earnest face - i really couldn't help it. "so," he said, "i wanted to ask you if you would marry me." he pulled out a ring box and opened it. i couldn't look at it at all. i was amazed that i wasn't freaking out. i felt so so so at peace. he said, "so, will you?" and i said, "yes." he said, "i've been wanting to give this to you for a long time," and slipped the ring on my finger. i could not look away from his face! i pulled him up under his arms to standing and hugged him.

that moment seems so blurry now, but i remember welling up with tears and just holding him so tight and things were just quiet and i felt so calm. after a minute or so, i think i said something like, "oh my gosh! this is happening!" and made some weird excited noises. i asked him if he would ask me again, so i could more fully register the surreal moment, and give my answer more loudly and definitively. he didn't hesitate for a second, knelt down, said some more lovely things, and declared, "charity jade eyre, will you marry me?" i said a very enthusiastic yes, kissed him and asked him to ask just the question one last time. the answer was the same.

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we took some pictures as the sky continued to change. it was like the space around us was protected and perfect. everything was just lovely and beautiful and kind. i felt these teeny tiny bursts of excited/freaking out but mostly everything felt like this weird peaceful normal. we walked back along the rocks with tidepools between them. when we got back to the beach, we turned around and realized the water was totally illuminated - it looked like it was being lit from below. it was super pretty and magical. the stars were starting to come out. we walked back towards camp and noticed the fingernail moon casting its shine on the water, and the very last reddish light of day lingering in the sky. it was just enormously beautiful.

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we made a fire on the beach and boiled some water and prepared our freeze dried food and shared it out of one bowl. the stars shined and we shined the flashlight on my new bling and we were super tired but deliriously in love. it felt a lot like many other nights we've shared having adventures together, but with this air of sweetness and surreal excitement. we said goodnight, got in our separate tents, and slept until the sun woke us up.

i remember opening my eyes, registering i was in a tent, looking down at my left hand and feeling completely incredulously happy. as soon as i made any audible movement, i heard the boy say good morning. it was just the sweetest thing.

we made breakfast, cleared up camp, packed our packs, walked down the beach, spotted some bald eagles, hit the trail again, hiked out stopping every once in a while to cement that this surreality was real, drove the long way home calling parents and siblings and the salt lake temple along the way, rode on the bainbridge island ferry directly into the seattle skyline, drove to the airport, flew home, picked up our car from long term parking, drove to my parents' house and celebrated with my parents and two brothers. 
 
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^^ that island behind us is the one we were on when he popped the question! ^^
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^^ excuse the swollen hiking fingers! ^^
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^^ mt. rainer was so clear from the ferry! ^^
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^^ i decided to delight all you readers with these two super terrible pictures. just to end this post off right! ^^ 
 
that happened. i still can't believe it. i love so many things about this story - the mystery, the symbolism, the scenery, the adventure, the ring. but most of all i love who asked me the trump-all, life-changing question. he is honestly the best person i know, and i am just so so tremendously grateful for our hard love story - every bit. 

38 comments :

  1. Thanks for sharing this beautiful tale.....wishing you both so much happiness!

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  2. I am delighted with your beautiful story! Best wishes to you guys!

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  3. Let me be the first to comment!

    Ayauidiugooeiubyoep!

    Love you both,
    DAD

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  4. Oh warmest Congratulations!!! What a beautiful couple you make and a truly beautiful love story!!

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  5. What a story! And you tell it so well. I'm so so happy for you.
    Does calling the salt lake temple on the drive back mean that's where you're getting sealed??

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  6. totally stoked for you. he really is the cutest. as are you!

    xoxo

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  7. Congrats Charity! You guys are so great - it was so fun to hear more of the story!

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  8. Thanks for sharing!! I smiled the whole time. What a great story and couple!! Congrats!

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  9. Aww just so excited for you both, what a beautiful story!

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  10. Yay for the story!!! And it's an AWESOME story!! Thanks so much for sharing and wishing you both so much happiness!! :)

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  11. Beautiful and soooo romantic! Thanks for sharing! How did the boy come back into your life? Very happy for you. What a year this must have been for you...so many highs and lows but beauty in all of it.

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  12. Congrats We would love to hear the whole story of the how you came back together (if it is not too personal) You alluded that it is a powerful story.

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  13. Congratulations. What a sweet proposal. I wish you two all the best!

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  14. SOOOOOO amazing and spectacular!! Loved every detail. DYING to know how you got the GREAT pics of BOTH of you that night! Can't wait to see you soon, hope your bring "the boy"!! xo

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  15. Beautiful story, beautiful couple! Oh, and beautiful pictures! In 10+ years you will be beyond thankful for such a great written account and pictures. BEAUTIFUL! (Just in case I didn't say it enough. :))

    Can't wait for more details. When is the big day?! Are you going to keep blogging?

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  16. A million congratulations to you both!

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  17. I just love how both the moment and place were symbolic: The last light, the end of land. Beautiful.

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  18. Wow, what an awesome story! Is it weird that I am unbelievably happy for you even though we don't know each other?! well, I trully am! I hope and pray that you two can be as happy as couples can be!
    Oh boy, you're going to be a phenomenal mommy!
    Here are some unusual wedding terminology: http://dictionary.reference.com/slideshows/wedding-words#bridaller
    =)

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  19. I have a really hard love story too and I think my marriage is so much better for it. You just wait for all the wonderful things coming your way! <3

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  20. Hi Charity - I've been reading your last few posts and I am so happy for you. I've been a blog reader for several years. I "found" you through Shawni's blog.

    I think that your Dad is a very insightful, intelligent person so if he accepts the boy back and is all for this marriage, then that is good enough for me.

    You are smart as well and I don't think you would have taken him back if you didn't know in your heart he was sincere.

    I'm not sure why you broke up last time or who initiated it, but I don't think I want to know. The point is, he's back and seems to love you very much.

    My husband and I also broke up for a few years then got back together. We will be celebrating our 27th anniversary this year.

    Congrats to you both and please keep blogging!

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  21. He's an A's fan so you definitely made the right choice :o) What a wonderful story to share with your kids, grandkids, and many generations to come! Congratulations!

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  22. so happy for you charity :) i'm a long time blog reader who found your blog from your sister's 71toes. congratulations!!

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  23. Congrats! It is a beautiful story! He just raised the bar for every single girl out there. :)

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  24. Congratulations. So beautiful, all of it. This took my place in my beloved area of the NW, and I guarantee there's nothing like it. Especially when you're viewing it with Utah eyes. ;)

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  25. I love everything about this story. Especially the part where you use the word chuffed. Congrats Sister Eyre + The Boy!

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  26. Congratulations to you both!

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  27. Thanks for sharing this story! I love it. It's every girl's dream. I am so happy for you and cool to think that every tear you shed when things were not going well was completely worth it for this moment. It gives me some profound hope! Loves!!

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  28. Congratulations Charity! This is such a beautiful story, I wish you all the luck in the world! Have fun planning your wedding and picking out your dress-I just picked out mine and its such a great feeling!

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  29. I am SOOOOO VERY HAPPY for you and the boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot wait to read more of your blogs..... <3

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  30. So happy for you!! Your story made me tear up. I love proposal stories!

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  31. Fantastic story. Lucky guy. Congratulations, Charity! Happy trails to you two!

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  32. Hi! I also first came across your blog through Shawni's and love to pop in every now and then. I just love your family- I am so inspired by you all!
    I wanted to make myself known and send you a heartfelt congratulations! Your engagement story is just beautiful and not only made me feel giddy, but put a lump in my throat as well. Wow, I don't even know you personally, but I am truly, truly happy and so excited for you!
    I wish you all the best in life with many great memories and wonderful adventures ahead!
    <3

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  33. Nice post,, i'm very enjoyed to visit this site :D

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  34. Just perfection! haha this is way better detail than what you guys explained in person! I am so happy and can't wait for October! love you!

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  35. Another comment from another person you've never met... My husband and I have one of the most sacred and enduring relationships I can imagine (although I'll admit to bias, haha). We've weathered a life-altering medical diagnosis for me, deaths, unexpected job changes, financial challenges, and the general chaos of multiple little kids running around... And I think we gained much of our strength from a "less-than-easy" courtship. It's the climb that makes us stronger, right? And I'm a big believer that you can never truly love someone until you've seen their very ugliest and still choose them. Sooo, with all of that said, I'd like to assert my belief that you and your fiance have a beautiful future ahead of you. God bless you both. :)

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  36. Char,

    I just read this after I was checking out your wedding website (got my invite!! yay!!!!) and clicked on the link. Oh my gosh... I am in tears. My heart is bursting for you and I am so truly happy. This is such a crazy cool story. I can't wait to watch your love grow into an eternal and sacred bond.

    See you October 25th!! Eeeeee!! (Wish we could make it to the temple, but we will celebrate with you in CA :))

    Love you,
    Kaity

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