|Maggie's mother's engagement ring|
with her great-grandmother's diamond set in
given to her by me
At the moment, the date is set for Oct. 2, though this weekend we will be doing the actual planning.
Details? You want details?
Sometime a year or so ago, she showed me exactly what she wanted in an engagement ring by giving me a cheap, glass ring that was a bridal set (where the engagement ring fits into the wedding ring, so they become one ring at the wedding). I spent a lot of time looking at rings starting in June or so. For a long time (and, actually, even up to today), I have been unable to find any ring that works for both of us in terms of design: she wanted a bridal set, I wanted something simple yet elegant with triquetras (like this), and let me tell you, the twain do not meet.
My original plan was to ask her on Sept. 17th, 2009. I had it all planned out: we'd go out that night after I got off work, and we'd do a repeat of our second date: I'd asked her to go skipping stones with me. I didn't have a "real" ring, so I figured I'd propose with the "ringer" she'd given me, and we could work out the ring later. So, into my pocket it went, pending the night. I had put it into a ring box that a family ring had come in, and my jacket used to belong to my grandpa Lee, so there was all this sentimental, ancestral mojo at work with this proposal, too.
And wouldn't you know it, on Sept. 17th, she got fired! The date that night was canceled and we spent the evening in. It wasn't right to ask her to marry me at that time.
Maggie then got another, better job about 48 hours later, and went full-steam into that. This, of course, led to less time for me, especially since the new job has later working hours some days. Beyond that, as the seasons progressed, the light began to fail before she got home, so parks were closed, it was too cold to go for a walk in the woods, and most of my ideal options for proposing were gone.
Add to this that I could barely get her out of the house to go on a real date, and the ring just stayed in my pocket. It poked me in the hip, asking me when I was going to crack the box and give it some fresh air. It constantly got in my way as I was trying to dig other things out. On more than one occasion, I had to grab Maggie's wrist and redirect her hand into another pocket to prevent her from grabbing it when my hands were full. It was torture carrying the ring around for three full months (plus some) trying to find the right time to give it to her.
Sometimes, during this period of "I want to ask you but can't maneuver you into a good place to do so," Maggie would get frustrated with me and try and goad me into asking her. . . she had been waiting a long time, after all, and she's a patient girl. . . but when there are shiny things involved, often the most patient of girls is not patient at all. And so I would respond with, "I have a plan. There are things that need to fall into place. I promise you won't wait long." To which she would respond that I'm just making this "plan" stuff up, and that I really have no such thing. Then I'd tell her, "Oh, you'll understand when I manage it."
So for three months, I tried to get her to go out, and for three months I failed. Then, one day, she asked if I wanted to go to the Columbus Zoo. . . and I totally did, of course: it's not a holiday season without 10-or-so trips to the zoo's Wildlights exhibit for me. So while walking around the zoo, I was having all sorts of thoughts: "Is this the only chance I'll have to take her on a date?" "Is now the right time?" "Crap, this sooooo isn't where I want to propose to Maggie."
You see, I had proposed to (and been turned down by) my last girlfriend at the zoo. It wasn't a big production, and we dated for a further two years, but I just could not bring myself to propose to Maggie in the same place that I had proposed to Tina. It wouldn't have been right. So, I kept the ring in my pocket, and prayed a little bit harder for another opportunity.
We had a conversation later that week: there was a notion that her best friend might get engaged over the holidays, and I spoke very specifically about the tackiness and cliché nature of proposing at Christmas to Maggie. I admit to a bit of misdirection here, but a good ritualist doesn't let the all-important revelation become apparent until he's ready.
Then, on Monday night Dec. 21st, something happened.
The Grove had a Druid Moon rite that night, and it was a small crowd (which led to a laid-back ritual). Maggie had grabbed my coat from the rack and put it over her shoulders to keep warm, and I couldn't help but think of the ring in the pocket. I must have given her a funny look, because she asked if it was okay to wear it. I said, "Well, I'm using it right now, but you should keep wearing it." I was terrified that she'd put her hand in the pocket and find the ring box.
The central portion of the rite was for us to do some focus trancework by staring into candles (Ratri, Vedic goddess of the shining night, was our deity for this rite, and so we focused on the candles as symbols of the small light of the Yule sun, that grows stronger with each passing day). So there, lit by candles, and surrounded by friends, an omen was taken, and I found deep meaning in it myself:
- What is our Path? Hagalaz - "Hail": challenges and strife, difficulty to be overcome.
- On what should the Grove focus until the next moon? Manaz - "Man": the relationships between us as humans; ancestral connections.
- On what should each individual focus until the next moon? Oþilda - "Ancestral land": the connection to our ancestors, inherited property, lessons from the past.
There it was, all laid out in runes by candlelight: "Ask her, you idiot."
It's well-known that I can sit on my hands when all signs point to "Yes!" with women, but I have learned from mistakes in the past.
So, after some other work that was done, I said, "Now, if there is no other work, I have one last thing. Maggie, I told you I was using the coat," and I smiled. "There's something I need from the pocket. Could you grab it for me?" So she reaches in, digs around, and says, "You mean the case?"
"Yes, I mean the case."
She pulled out the "case" and I laughed: it was the Miss Molly CD that I had purchased the Friday before. "Not that case, the other one." I said, taking it from her.
So she began to dig again, and she pulled out the ring case. I took it from her, and I said, "It's been a long, tough journey to give you this, but I think it's time. Will you marry me?" and I got down on one knee and opened the box, presenting the original ring to her.
She then kissed me and hugged me, and might have gotten a tear to show, but didn't say anything, so I asked, "Do I get an answer?" She smiled, and said, "Yes, I will marry you."
I put the ring on her finger, and it was a bit too large, so it sort of slid around, but she wore it happily, anyway. Then I turned to my Grove and said, "Okay, is there any more work to be done?" I believe Mary Anne responded with, "I don't think we can follow that. . ."
So the rite was closed out, and then we cleaned up, and then Maggie asked if we could go home yet. I asked if she would be calling her parents from the car (we'd driven in separately), and she said she wouldn't. We got home and started calling people in an attempt to beat the FaceBook rush. . . but that didn't go so well. It only took about 2 hours for word of the engagement to leak onto FaceBook, and so we spent the next day trying to contact as many people as we could before they found out through FaceBook or other online means. The next morning, Maggie posted to the Three Cranes Grove list, and I hear that all of Sonoran Sunrise Grove knew about the engagement due to a posting on their list. Finally, we gave up, posted to FaceBook with a picture and a "relationship status change" (because it's never official until FaceBook posts it on your wall, apparently), and only called relatives and friends who were not on FaceBook.
Gods, I hate FaceBook.
Maggie is now wearing her mother's engagement ring, with her great-grandmother's diamond in it. We have talked about getting a ring that is "just ours," but the longer she wears her mother's ring, the more she likes it, so I don't know if we will get another ring or not. I actually think that we will stay with this ring.
So, that's how I got engaged. It's been crazy and fun, and it took way too long. But I have a fianceé now, which is awesome in so many ways.