I was totally surprised. Even though I had a feeeeeeling he would propose to me. When it actually happened, I was not all expecting it at all. But let me back up…
That morning, we woke up and packed our stuff for our much-needed weekend “break from Prison Break” on Lummi Island, Washington. We had made reservations to eat at this restaurant called The Willows Inn. Which is, in short, a bad-ass restaurant that’s one of the top places to eat in the US, that we were told we had to try, and which we had been dying to try. Since we ended up staying/working two hours away from it in Vancouver, we realized we could make it happen!
But first, we had to drive across the border… Our border agent, of course, asked (seemingly) a million gruff questions. Then asked how we know each other. Mike said, “She’s my girlfriend.” And then added, “we live together.” As if to give it more gravitas, which I thought was adorable.
Then we drove all the way to the ferry station that would take us to Lummi Island. We arrived about 30 minutes early. So we walked along the beach of Lummi Bay, and we found a ton of GORGEOUS oyster shells. We collected a bunch of them. I figured I could use one for a jewelry catch-all — which is really fortuitous, given what would happen later. Laden with oyster shells, we wandered back to the car and it was time to drive onto the ferry.
It took minutes to go shore to shore, but they were fun minutes!
Once off the ferry, we immediately spotted the place where planned to have lunch — basically the only other restaurant on the island. We had an incredible burger, with a side of “bacon jam” and “ocean view on a clear and sunny day.” While we scarfed down the burger, I stared at Mike and thought of my mom’s tale of how nervous my dad was on the day he proposed and realized, “there’s no way he’s going to propose to me tonight. He’s not acting any different.”
I’ll learn later that Mike’s nerves didn’t hit him until we got back into the car and headed for The Willows Inn. Looking on the map, our drive was just a straight line around half the small island — basically, just follow the water and then you’re there. Mike immediately took a random left turn, for no real discernible reason, and then had to turn around and get back on the main road. He admitted later that he made that weird choice, because he was starting to get nervous! How cute is that!?
My first look at the Willows Inn… holy shit, you couldn’t ask a Hollywood production crew to build a more idyllic restaurant setting. My thoughts at this point were, “he’d be an idiot not to propose to me here. Hell, if he doesn’t I WILL!”
After checking in, gathering all the information, we headed to our “offsite” lodgings.” It was an adorable free-standing, two bedroom house, with a super-modern kitchen and windows for DAYS. It was, in a word, awesome. I immediately spotted my special anniversary gift for Mike, that I had sent to our room, sitting on the kitchen counter. Excitedly, I ran to it and started opening the box. Mike was like, “hey, can you not mess with that right now?” I shot back, “I just want to open the box and make sure it’s right.” “Oh, okay,” he resigned. But… there was something in his voice, something that wasn’t in fitting with his usual imperturbable self. So I, reluctantly, turned my focus from the gift towards my uncharacteristically needy boyfriend, who said, “I have a question for you.” “Oh yeah, what’s that?” I asked, my heart immediately fluttering.
I can’t remember how or who started it, but all of a sudden my arms were around his neck and we were kissing. Then, Mike said, between sweet kisses, “I want to savor [kiss] every moment, [kiss] but right now [kiss] I’m kind of in a rush [kiss] to spend the rest of my life with you.” And then he pulled away, got down on one knee, held up what I noted was a HUGE diamond ring, and asked, “Will you marry me?”
I snatched the ring out of his fingers, and said, what Mike told me later was, “Fuck yes! I’m going to marry the FUCK out of you!” And I threw my arms around him and we kissed and kissed and kissed some more.
Then I jumped up and down in celebration. Mike laughed at me. And we popped the bottle of champagne that he had been so thoughtful to have waiting for us (and so flustered that he almost took out his eye when he opened it).
We took some selfies to commemorate the moment, in which I was smiling SO BIG that I barely recognize myself. Then he suggested we call our parents, and I said, “Let’s wait. I want to stay in this happy bubble with just the two of us for a little while longer before we announce the news.” I suggested he open my anniversary gift.
My gift to him was an album — collected from screen shots of text messages, journal entries, and photos — telling the story of the past year, through all of our “firsts.” …Our first meeting, first texts, first kiss, first overnight trip, first Halloween, first international trip, first time in the snow, etc. All leading up to the week before.
We snuggled on the couch and flipped through the pages, and it was a really nice way to look back on all the amazing things we had done together this past year that lead to us getting engaged that day.
Then we got to texting and Face-timing our family and friends. As we non-stopped talked about it afterwards, Mike said that announcing the news to our families was one of his favorite parts.
After all the calls, we refilled our champagne glasses and went outside to take a few deep breaths, sip champagne, and have more “oh my god” moments until it was time to get ready for dinner.
But, as we started our walk down to the road to the restaurant, Mike realized his FitBit was missing! This was the same FitBit that he got a week before I got mine, back in 2013. (Which is impressive, because I am currently on my forth, or maybe fifth FitBit, since June 2013. The fact that Mike hung on to the very same one for that long has always astounded me. We searched the house, but no sign of it. I felt so bad! But, as Mike said, “there comes a time in a man’s life, when he must let go of his FitBit, and take a wife.”
We stopped by the front desk to check and see if maybe his FitBit had fallen out when we were checking in. We walked in and Mike announced to the girl at the front desk (who he had secretly told that maybe he was going to propose, when he ordered the champagne for the room) that he had, indeed, proposed. A server from the restaurant just happened to overhear us, as she was going back to the kitchen was all WHAT!? OMG! CONGRATS! And she became the very first person that gave me a congratulatory hug.
By the time we walked out the front desk, up the stairs, and were seated at the restaurant, the word has spread. And every server that came out said “congrats” to us all through the night, and we got to have endless wonderful happy spurts.
And the food… OMG THE FOOD! That should (and will) be an entirely different blog post. But, as Mike said to our server the next morning, “you could have served us a McDonalds Big Mac, and we would have thought it was world class, we were so spazzed out.” Which is true, but we were lucky that the meal we had was ACTUALLY world class.
In short: We ate savory donuts full of black cod, we ate stems (yes, stems!) that blew our mind, a piece of sockeye salmon that was caught from shore that morning, in a limited, tribal license-only type of Reef Net Fishing. We had a plate of wild herbs with deep fried greens and a some kind of herb-y spread that was called “the Lummi Island tostada” that basically became both of our favorite dishes (a plate of fucking herbs, I know!). And we made a wise decision and got the wine pairing, which meant we got pleasantly, wonderfully, warmly, drunk.
We drank and smiled our way through dinner… We talked wedding plans (already, I know!)… We tried to be present in every moment with every bite… Then, when we were done, we grabbed our left-over drinks (including the scotches that our server bought for us) and snuggled on a couch in front of the fire.
I can’t even remember what we talked about at that point, because from then on, it’s really just all a golden blur of warm scotch and crackling fires, big laughs and bigger love, and sparkling blue eyes, and endless kisses…