I can’t believe that I am celebrating my fourth Christmas with Brendan; well, I’m counting that first one when we booked a quick flight on December 9th for me to fly out the twelfth and be with him in Australia until two days before Christmas because I couldn’t bear to be away from my kids on Christmas. We shared the actual day via Skype; his Christmas day was my Christmas Eve and I watched them open their gifts around the artificial Christmas tree that I had helped the kids decorate. I remember it as if it were yesterday and yet we’ve had two others here–almost three now, each in a different house. Oh, life has certainly been an adventure.
After we confirmed my flight to Australia, and I pinched myself to see if I was actually going to see Brendan again, I began to think about him proposing to me. He had come to America five weeks after my first visit to Australia, and we made a quick tour of California and Nevada so that Brendan could ask my parents for my hand in marriage and meet my three other children as well as my close friends. That trip whirlwinded us from Los Angeles to Pismo Beach, San Francisco and Reno and back home again where Brendan tore himself away from me to return home to his kids the day before our Thanksgiving. The purpose of that trip was for him and my kids to get to know each other. Still, as our love for each other and confidence that God’s plan included marriage grew, I became impatient for the next step, which in my mind was the actual proposal.
However, I also wanted to wait for God’s and Brendan’s timing, so as I boarded the plane I prayed that God would be in control and let me just enjoy another couple of weeks with Brendan in person without focusing on when, where and whether he would pop the question. Here’s a good place for a confession. Carol (who had become engaged while I was on my first trip to Australia) and I had frequented a few jewelers for just a slight preview of what we might like in the way of engagement/wedding rings when the time finally arrived. On one such occasion, I fell in love with a ring and visions of my finger graced with it in proud proclamation that I belonged to Brendan nearly tormented me, but I fought off the longings and determined simply to relish the time with my sweetheart.
Confession number two: I thought about a proposal a lot. I know. I know. Silly girl, dreamer of dreams, oh romantic that I am…
Brendan was glad to have me there, not only because he missed me, but because his late wife had always planned and shopped for Christmas far ahead of time and he felt a bit lost. The year she passed, most of their Christmas things were already done so Brendan didn’t have very much to think about, but this time he didn’t even know where to start. I gladly helped him figure out what gifts to buy, and off we went shopping each day. We even looked at a few rings, but alas, no proposal.
Finally, on our last night, we enjoyed a wonderful evening together, dining and walking around eating gelato afterwards; and I thought surely, any moment he would ask me. Still, I pushed those pestering thoughts away and tried not to anticipate or expect anything. I truly wanted to trust Brendan’s timing in the situation. The night passed and we went home. Confession three: I was a little disappointed. I couldn’t believe that I was leaving the next morning, again feeling the dread of not knowing where we were headed with our relationship. Plus, the sorrow at having to leave him again really overwhelmed me.
We cuddled on his bed for the last time, kissing with tears in our eyes.
“I can’t believe that I’m going home tomorrow and I don’t know when I’ll see you again.”
Brendan kissed me again, and then looked in my eyes. “I can’t let you go without asking you to marry me. Will you marry me?”
Of course!!! “Yes, of course I will.”
Brendan had an elaborate plan that he hadn’t had time to concoct and carry out, and no ring yet to offer so instead he ended up asking me on the spur of the moment completely differently than he had thought he would. But all I cared about was that I was going to marry him someday soon. That was good enough for me! And somehow it seemed a little easier to go home excitedly exclaiming my engagement.
You’ll have to read the book to find out about the ring…