Later that day we were standing in the kitchen with his sisters. He looked across the room at me and said,
"So, should we tell them?"
Well, as you can probably imagine, they didn't need to be told. They started screaming with excitement and hugging us in turn. His younger sister, who was already married, was beside herself with happiness. She whispered in my ear that she had been hoping for this. I was nervous and anxious, yet I felt so loved and accepted.
The next experience was NOT my favorite to recall. We were walking around the mall in Lethbridge. As we passed a jewelry store, my future SIL stopped us to look at rings. I saw a few that looked nice, and I turned to look at Mr. TD&H. He looked positively green.
"That is more than I thought it would be," he simply said.
Embarrassed, I quickly started to exit the store. I was mortified that he was balking at how much he needed to pay for a ring. For me. I was the reason for his pain!
I think he stayed green for the rest of the day. His sister caught on to what was going on with him. I think she may have lectured him a little bit (hee, hee). He came to me later to apologize about his reaction. I reasoned that it was totally normal to have sticker shock. I forgave him.
But I was shaken. My fears reared their ugly heads. Are you sure you want to do this? Is he "the one"? Really? Shouldn't he feel privileged to pay whatever was necessary to give you whatever you want? I rebuked myself for being to superficial. My knight-in-shining-armor was a man of limited means, and that didn't bother me at all. What was I expecting--a 3-carat rock to wear on my finger? I was freaking out all for nothing!
In time, we returned to school in Provo. It had been a fun, family and food-filled trip that I would not soon forget. Not only did I get the lovely experience of feeling what snow is like on my skin at 40 degrees below, but I also had a private tutorial by my man's Uncle Lawrence on the finer points of Rook. I was also introduced to Old Dutch chips (dill pickle being my favorite--even still!). Ahh, so many memories!
Back in the real world, I was feeling buffeted. My fears about getting married would resurface several times a day, but I was able to work through them. Then the wedding planning began. I want to be perfectly clear here--I didn't NOT dream of my perfect wedding since I was a young girl. I didn't have an image in my mind that needed to be met down to the last detail. I was just happy to be getting married, and I guessed that all the wedding stuff just came along with that. So I went to find a dress. January was drab and dreary around me as I walked into Walker Bridal on Center St. in Provo. I wasn't (and I'm still not) a shoppin' gal, and after the first few minutes I knew that I should have brought a girlfriend with me. I must have suffered through racks and racks of wedding dresses. I couldn't find ANYTHING that I remotely liked. Not even close. I didn't know what I wanted, but I REALLY knew what I didn't want. YIKES! Did people really buy these dresses? Who were they?
I walked out of the shop depressed and mildly hysterical. What if I couldn't find a dress? Was this a sign? Was I not supposed to get married? Was heaven holding out on me? I may even have gone home to cry on my bed, but I have conveniently blocked that out.
Mr. TD&H and I needed to make more wedding plans--ones that required a trip to my hometown. So we booked our flight and waited for that last weeked in January to head to sunny California!
Our classes, work, and choir (for me) took up a lot of time, so we didn't have a ton of time to spend together. When we were able to get together, I was very sensitive and irritable. I am sure that was one of his favorite dating times! Finally the week of our trip dawned. I was down (probably hormonal), and the night before the trip I called home to commiserate. I spent a lot of time whining and complaining to my mom on the phone. She was VERY concerned and mentioned that maybe I needed to rethink this whole situation. I mulled that over all that night and through the next day. I thought to myself, "If I just break it off, all this stress and hoopla will go away, and I will feel so much better!" In my mind, this was exactly what I needed to do.
I didn't exactly know how to approach my man, so as we sat next to each other on the flight to CA, I casually said, "I have been thinking." (yikes, uh oh, deer-in-the-headlights) "This is all moving too fast. I feel so stressed out. I want to break things off for a while to see if I can figure out how I am feeling."
Now, imagine yourself sitting with the person you love, on the way to visit her family, and she drops this bomb in your lap. He sat there, staring at me with concerned eyes, not moving or speaking. Finally, he said something like, "So you waited until we were in the air to tell me this?"
Then I had my finest hour. I not only didn't answer his question, but I continued by asking the impossible:
"Can you not mention this to my family? Let's just pretend like everything is fine, and they don't need to know. We'll just deal with it on our own."
To ask Mr. TD&H to pretend where his feelings are concerned is like asking him to stop breathing. NOT gonna happen.
He looked at me, incredulous. "How am I supposed to pretend everything is normal? You just told me you don't want to get married? Why are we even here? To plan a wedding that isn't going to happen?"
Needless to say, I didn't have a good answer.