Well, I turned 33.
I did not cry.
I think it’s the first birthday in the last five-six years that didn’t see me bursting into tears at some ridiculous moment.
I blame the lack of meltdown on the thoughtfulness of my children and husband, which guilted me into being sensible and not giving in to the annual loneliness and homesickness that plague me at every holiday. Those people are amazing, I tell you.
Anna and Sarah made me a wreath from found objects:
Yesterday also marked the 13th anniversary of the day Jason proposed.
In celebration of the milestone, a brief recounting…
It’s been nine months since I met Jason for the first time at an airport in Hong Kong. Our semester together is over, and we’ve been living in our home states since the choir tour to Australia in July.
Jason has ridden a Greyhound bus 36 hours from Texas to California to see me for my birthday. The night before my birthday, we walk the beach in Ventura, the only two people under the stars. Afterward we sit alone on the pier at Eric Ericson’s staring out over the water and chatting. He has the ring in his pocket the entire evening.
But skip that. Nothing happens.
Next day, my birthday, we’re sitting in my parents’ living room in the heat of the day.
Jason: Hey, wanna go for a walk?
Me: No. It’s hot.
Jason: Why not? We could walk down the bike trail. It’s shady.
Me: It’s only shady in front of the house. Once you get two blocks down, it’s full sun.
Jason: Come on, it’ll be fun. Let’s go walking. It’s so pretty on the bike trail.
Jason: Why not?
Me: I told you why not. It’s hot!
Jason: But it’s pretty!
Me: It’s only pretty to you, because you don’t live here. To me it’s only pretty when it’s cool outside.
Jason: Well, you want to walk around the church then?
Jason: Why not?
Me: It’s hot.
Jason: Let’s go driving, then.
Jason: I don’t know. Downtown? Anywhere?
Me: No. I don’t have air conditioning.
Jason: Well, where do you want to go then?
Me: Nowhere. Let’s just hang out here.
Jason: Can we at least go out on the deck?
Me: (sigh) Fine.
We settle down in the cushy chairs on the back deck. Jason’s chair faces the valley and the orange trees and the mountains.
My view is composed of Jason, the wall, and my dad’s power tools.
He gets shaky. I notice. He starts rambling. I can’t remember what he actually said, but it was along these lines:
Jason: (ahem) Well, Becky, ever since I met you, I’ve known that you were the one I wanted to… (He’s reaching into his pocket.)
Me: What are you doing?
Jason: Um, well, just listen. I want you to know that I promise to love you and take care of you for… (He’s getting down on one knee.)
Me: Oh, no. No, no, no.
Me: Are you doing what I think you’re doing?
Jason: Um, what do you think I’m doing?
Me: Oh, no. Ohmygosh. I don’t know. Just don’t do it.
Jason: Um… Don’t do what?
Me: What you’re doing. Just stop. You can’t.
Jason: Um… Why not? I thought we talked about it…
Me: Just not now. You can’t right now?
Jason: Why not?
Me: Because it’s too soon! Oh my gosh, you can’t! Just stop.
Jason: Are you saying no?
Me: No? No, I don’t think so. No, it’s just… You can’t right now!
Jason: But you’re not saying no?
Me: I don’t know! It’s September!
Jason: But I’m here right now. Can I go on?
Me: I don’t know! Ohmygosh! I don’t know!
Jason: Okay… I’m going to go on… (opens the ring box)
Me: Okay. Ohmygosh… Okay…
Jason: (more of the long speech I can’t remember) So, Rebecca Elayne, will you marry me?
Me: Let me think about it…
Jason sits there with the ring held out and his eyebrow cocked for what probably seems like an eternity.
Me: Okay, I guess so.
Me: Ohmygosh! I’m engaged! Can I put the ring on now?
Jason: I don’t know. Let me think about it…