Conversation with My Wife (40)

Waking up in bed with my bride-to-be, she’s staring at me with this huge grin on her face, and I do NOT freak out

Brother-in-law, sister, niece, Deb, me. Just posing for family pictures, nothing else going on… grandmother’s engagement ring in my left hand… running through the proposal script in my head…

We got engaged in my parents’ backyard, with my parents, sister Julie, brother-in-law Michael, and then two-month-old niece in attendance. The next morning I woke up and Deb was lying there, propped up on one arm, just looking at me. Not creepy at all.* So seventeen (closer to eighteen, now!) years later I ask my wonderful (albeit occasionally peculiar) wife:

ME: So what were you thinking when you were watching me like a crazed stalker?

DEB: I was thinking how happy I was. And how nice it was to be engaged again, when I never thought I would be. Well, I did know I would be, after the rehearsal,** but still I didn’t know exactly when and it was nice. I was just happy, lying there and looking at you while you slept. Although remember what Michael told me later?

ME: Uhhh…***

DEB: He said I should have streeeeetched out a little bit (stretches her arms) and then “accidentally” popped you in the head. “OH! I’m sorry! Did I awaken you?… Hi! I’m engaged!” (grins manically)

*Okay, teensy bit creepy, looking back.

**Deb’s youngest niece and nephew got to know me not long after I started dating their aunt, and they approved of me. They were 9 and 5 at the time. Joelle, the oldest, decided (since these old people were taking forever to get things done) that I needed encouragement. So a couple weeks before Deb & I were going to Illinois to meet my parents (and pick up my grandmother’s engagement ring, unbeknownst to Deb, so that I could propose) Joelle cornered me and got in my face. 
“Are you going to ask Aunt Debbie to marry you?” 
“Well, honey, we have things to talk about, and I want her to meet my parents first, but—” 
“Ask her now!” 
“Joelle, first I wa—” 
“Ask her now!” 
“No, see, hon—” 
“Ask her now!”
Nine-year-olds are stubborn, because they know they’ll outlive you. Fine.
“Okay, we can have a rehearsal.”
Jarid had no idea what a rehearsal was, but he loved his sister dearly so he came over and plopped himself next to her. Deb came over to see what was happening, and I explained we were having a rehearsal, purely for the benefit of her niece and nephew.
I did the knee thing in dramatic fashion, took Deb’s hand, and said [yes, I’d been practicing already]: “Will you be my friend, my companion, my partner, my lover, my future, my wife; for as long as you want me, for as long as you need me, for as long as we both shall live?”
I got a smile and a nod and maybe some glistening eyes from Deb.
I got silence from the peanut gallery. Huh? No applause? I look over and Joelle is puzzled. “Sooo…,” she says, “are you asking her to marry you?”
Well, duh, I… wait… crap… no, I never actually asked that, did I? Alright! Rehearsals, good for something after all!
That got corrected in the actual proposal, by the way.

***See, some things I’m supposed to remember because they were Very Important, and other things not so much. I couldn’t remember which this was.

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