9 Years ago today as the sun set over Assateague Island, Brent Rader got down on one knee and asked me to marry him!
At the time, Brent and I had been together for five years and I knew the proposal was coming. In May, we went ring shopping at Golden Nugget Jewelers in Philly (best jewelry store in the world!) to find a few different rings I liked. Of course, being Miss Particular I couldn’t find one ring that I was thrilled with so instead we combined all the different aspects of the rings I liked into one perfect ring. While the ring wasn’t a “surprise” per say, I only got to see a blue wax version (sans diamonds) of it and so that made me even more excited and anxious to finally get to see it in person! It didn’t help that Brent kept showing it to everyone else and then telling me about it! We’d be talking on the phone and he would say, “Guess what I’m doing? Looking at your engagement ring.” What a jerk, right? I suppose it serves me right since I may have given Brent a bit of a laundry list as to how he was and was not allowed to propose (no restaurants, no people nearby, preferably on a beach at sunset or sunrise…ya know, the basics.)
Since Brent purchased the ring in May, I assumed a proposal would quickly follow. The whole “ring burning a hole in his pocket” does not describe my slow and steady Brent. We were long distance, so each time we got together I wondered if that would be the time he would propose. In July, we went for our annual camping trip at Assateague Island and I was certain a proposal was imminent. Each night we’d go for walks on the beach and I’d wait in anticipation for him to pop the question but it never came. Our five year anniversary in August came and went as well, and I was starting to get frustrated. To top it off, every time I asked Brent, “Sooo… when do you think you might be proposing?” He would just start singing, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” which left me more annoyed than ever. Brent claimed he was waiting to get the ring insured and couldn’t decide on what insurance company to use. I told him to just make a decision already.
The last weekend of August, Brent drove down to visit me at my Salisbury University apartment. We were going to the beach on Saturday and I couldn’t help but think how perfect that would be for a proposal. Brent also knew that I was thinking such thoughts and so to derail me he told me the insurance company he had planned to go with fell through and so my ring was locked in a safe in Philadelphia. I was deflated but then started thinking, “Hmm.. maybe he’s lying to me because he’s trying to surprise me!” I voiced my thoughts to Brent but he quickly shot it down telling me I was way over thinking things and that he never would have put that much thought into it. (That left me feeling rather put-out, by the way). Still, I didn’t 100% believe him.
Saturday, August 30th was literally a perfect beach day; sunny, low 80s with a breeze. Brent had asked me to pack a camera but when I arrived at the beach I realized I had forgotten it. I casually mentioned it to Brent, thinking if he got upset it would mean he was planning to propose. He knew me too well and so responded as if he could care less. Thankfully, I was still so hopeful that I texted a friend to bring me my camera anyway since she was going to the beach later that afternoon.
After a long day at the beach we got cleaned and dressed up and Brent suggested that we go on a walk on the beach and have our devotional there before we headed off to dinner. Little did I know that when we were at Assateague earlier in the summer Brent had walked the same stretch of beach to decide how far we needed to go so that he could meet my demands of there being no people around!
We started walking hand in hand and I just couldn’t get over how perfect a moment this was! I was looking at his pants pockets for anything that looked like a ring box and kept trying to figure out how he could be carrying it (very carefully, wrapped up in the beach towel) when Brent said, “You know, I recently realized it’s almost September and I haven’t even begun to think about how I’m going to propose to you yet.”
That did it. All my pent up frustrations came pouring out and I may have replied with, “What?? Well I’ve thought up 100 ways you could have proposed to me by now!” I started to storm off but after a couple seconds started to feel a little remorseful and turned around only to see Brent laughing and down on one knee!
Brent gave a beautiful speech but I was so shocked I don’t remember a single thing he said until he finally got to the famous words, “Will you marry me?” I’d like to say I said yes right away, but the reality was that I was so speechless and teary eyed that I just nodded my head and mumbled, “mmhmm.” After some prompting from Brent I did eventually respond with “Yes!” I may not remember Brent’s speech, but I do remember that it was perfect and I will never forget the look on his face when I (finally) said yes. I had dreamt about that proposal for almost five years, but no amount of dreaming (or list of demands) could prepare me for how powerful and perfect that moment was. Suddenly it was just me and this man that I was crazily in love with, promising me forever, while the sun set and the waves lapped upon the shore.
I will never forget that moment nor the excitement and joy that followed. I’ll never forget hearing my sister’s screams of excitement when I called them on the phone – they were so excited in fact that they hung up on me to run and tell the rest of the neighborhood that Brent and Mary Sarah were finally engaged! I’ll never forget how proud I was to show off my ring and declare that I was officially going to be Brent’s wife. I’ll never forget the first time Brent’s aunt referred to me as Brent’s “bride” and the realization that an engagement really meant marriage! I was only 20 and Brent was only 22 but we were so excited to start our life together.
Nine years later so much has changed. We’re married, we have a baby, jobs, a house, bills to pay, responsibilities and commitments. We are officially adults (ugh!). Sometimes we get so caught up in life that we forget that couple on the beach without a care in the world. Which is why today I choose to close my eyes and reflect on that moment and the excitement that surrounded it and remember that I’m still that girl, as in love as ever, with a cute boy who every day promises me forever.
Yep, we totally made matching shirts the next day – how adorable were we? haha