Now that I have their engagement pictures uploaded to my computer, I'd like to tell the proposal story of my second son, Stephen, and his lovely bride-to-be, Ambrey.
But first, a little background, because everyone loves a good love story, and most of my readers, being women, like some of the romantic details.
How did they meet? Both were in Christian Club at the local community college. Steve had to finish up two classes before transferring to the university. Ambrey was a year behind him. During that fifth semester, he was the leader of the club, and there was this pretty girl he had eyes for, a girl with a pretty name, too, and a pretty smile.
He wanted to get to know her better, and so he hosted a few impromptu game nights at our house. I remember the first time she came over was with other kids--I mean college students-- from the Christian club; she was the only person who brought something. That spoke volumes to me that she was thoughtful and generous. Not many young people realize the importance of bringing something for the host or hostess to serve guests on a moment's notice as a thanks for hospitality. I bet her mom is the same way, I thought. She's had a good model. Ambrey didn't bring anything ordinary, either. She brought a pair of pomegranates. I giggled inwardly, thinking Song of Solomon! I bet Stephen has noticed her pomegranates! But I didn't say anything at the time. It's now a joke amongst all of us, and it makes her blush. So cute.
There was a guy in the club who was stalking her, more or less, by texting her obnoxiously and not getting the hint from her that she was not interested. Finally she asked Steve if he, as the leader, could maybe talk to this guy and tell him to back off. Ambrey is not at all the confrontational type. Nor is Steve, unless the situation calls for some diplomatic interference--especially if it involves protecting a damsel in distress.
Steve to the rescue! He and his co-leader and best friend, Eric, gladly sat the guy down and "in a very Christian, manly, firm-but-kind way said, "DUDE! LEAVE HER ALONE!" No, I don't know how they put it, but he got the message and Ambrey was duly impressed with my son's leadership, chivalry, and the swift way he moved in to take that guy's place in stalking her. Bwahahaha. She also liked his smile, his intelligence, his sense of humor, his big blue eyes, his gentlemanly ways, and a bunch of other stuff she still goes on and on (and on) about!
They spent many, many, many hours together, and hours turned into weeks, and weeks into months. Whether doing homework in our basement or hers, or hiking with the dogs, or going to church, or playing board games, or fixing dinner together, they were always smiling and laughing and having good talks or comfortable silence together. They also grieved together the loss of their dogs. Our Molly died in January in 2011, and her Holly (also a golden) died the following October.
Both of them sensed they could spend perhaps the rest of their lives together, but Ambrey asked him to please not say "I love you" until he was serious. Her one and only boyfriend before him had thrown the phrase around casually, and she remembered him saying it on a Sunday and breaking up with her on a Monday . So Steve respected her request. Besides, he knows the meaning of love to be commitment and sacrifice, not simply warm fuzzies and not lust, promised he would not tell her of his love, but show it in every way. Of course it took a lot of self-control not to say it when his heart was full and his mind imagining the two of them at the altar on their wedding day, and setting up a home, and being happy with her all his life.
And the same went with her. She would not say it, either, though everyone knew it. They have the kind of relationship that makes other people say, "That is true love. I want that!" They chose to keep showing their love through the kindnesses and thoughtful ways and words such as "I adore you, " or "You make me smile," or "I can't wait to see what God has in store for our future," or "I cherish you." They remembered each other with Rita's treats on tough homework nights. They had sushi picnics. He changed her oil. She gave him a survival box of snacks to keep in his Jeep. He dug a gazillion holes for junipers for her parents to plant on their sloped back lawn on a 100 degree day--with a smile and sweat, both of which Ambrey certainly admired about him. A cheerful worker he is. (I told him he reminded me of Jacob working for Laban in order to marry Rachel.) She went on vacation with us to the beach, and he went to the beach with her family. The place she's always been happiest.
That's the background. Tomorrow, the foreground. Stay tuned.