Part Three: The Rest of the Story
There isn’t much to say for a while: we went on dates, met each other’s families, he came to visit me in NY and then in Iowa, and kept drama to a minimum. I knew things were serious for him (I refused to bring anything up regarding the future because I acted like a mature 12-year-old) when he made an offhand comment about me choosing where to spend the honeymoon, and again when talking about where I wanted to go to grad school, and he told me he’d come with me. (I later decided I was too tired of school and debt to go to grad school, so it wasn’t all that relevant, I suppose.) In the spring of 2007, after a mere five months or so of dating, he went on a chastity-based mission trip to Belize, and while there, decided that I was the one he wanted to marry.
But he didn’t tell me. It was understood that if either of us thought this wouldn’t lead to marriage, that would be the end, so we talked about everything we could think of that was related. Not things like wedding flowers, but how to parent, who would pay the bills, that sort of thing. Of course, it was all very hypothetical, because there was no proposal, and so I refused to assume anything. Out loud, anyway. But we danced around the question enough to have a good idea of where we stood, and that we’d be together.
My mom used to pester me about why we weren’t engaged yet, since we knew we wanted to get married. I had to remind her that we didn’t want to marry until after college, we didn’t want a crazy-long engagement, and it wasn’t exactly up to me – the ball was in his court. I had an idea that he would maybe propose that summer or fall, so then we could get married after I finished my senior year, but I said nothing. In February, we went to visit my dad for a weekend, and after a late night, I awoke early to hear two male voices below. Did Joe ask for my dad’s permission? Maybe he was trying to take advantage of doing it in person? Why else would he be up so early? No, that couldn’t be it. (It was.) I teasingly asked Joe later that day what he was talking to my dad so early for, but he played it off and I didn’t push it because I didn’t want to make him squirm that much.
Another photo to balance a very wordy post:
In mid-March, I went on a cruise with a lot of extended family and some friends over spring break. That trip is a crazy story for another day, but while there, two friends got engaged when we stopped in Jamaica. There was much celebrating that night, and much pressure from my aunt and grandmother to several older cousins as to who would be next in line? They all pled not guilty, and as an aside, I half-jokingly said to one of them that I’d probably be next. He laughed and agreed, although I don’t know if he was serious.
A week or two later, my family came in to Ohio for Easter with us and Joe’s family. We had plans to carpool out to Joe’s parents’ house on Easter Sunday after they got home from Mass (we all went to the Vigil, which is kind of a big deal there), and all of a sudden Joe was changing the plans as he walked me back to my room late that night. He had these big, grand ideas to get up early and watch the sunrise together, and lamented the fact that we never went to Easter Sunday Mass anymore. Never, as in all both years that we were together. I was unsympathetic, because it was about 3 or 4 am and there was no way I was getting up in a couple of hours just to see the sunrise. Somewhere between him trying to make romantic (but unrealistic, I need my beauty sleep) plans and entering my room that night, I realized what was going on. I kind of freaked out (am I really getting engaged tomorrow?!?!) and tried to get some sleep.
The next morning, Joe picked me up and told me we had to make a couple of stops. One was to get his mom a belated birthday card (oops) and one was at a church on the way. He had called ahead to make sure it was open, and told me he just really wanted to pray together that Easter morning. We were quiet for a few minutes upon entering the church, and I tried to discreetly check for a ring box. After after a few minutes, Joe turned to me, went on one knee, pulled out the ring (the box was hideous, so he didn’t bring it) and said some really nice things (it’s all a blur) and asked me to marry him. I said yes, I got a pretty ring, and then we went to his parents’. We wanted to tell everyone at once (only my dad knew it was coming) so I hid the ring in my pocket until the right time. Everyone was busy and scattered until it was time to eat. His mom was running around taking care of last-minute details, everyone was crowding in to sit and the only one to pay any attention to us was my sister, who had to wait for us to find our seats so she could get to hers, but we weirdly wouldn’t let her. Eventually, everyone looked at us, Joe gave our big news and I tried to slip my ring on in my pocket (half-succeeded), pulled it out, and everyone flipped out. I think both of our moms cried, and his brother was torn between being excited for us and annoyed that he didn’t know ahead of time.
I still had a little over a year of school left, so our engagement ended up being kind of long after all. We were married in July of 2009 at the most beautiful and fun wedding ever. I’m a bit biased, but a lot of other people have said the same about our wedding, so it must be true. So there you have it, the story of Josephine in great detail.