(“Once in a Lifetime” – Keith Urban)
Okay, I know I’ve left you all hanging this week with the engagement story. But I really wanted to write about that other stuff and I hate super long blog posts so I had no other choice! Please forgive me 🙂
As I said before, I knew a proposal wasn’t too far off. Wilson had been asking me about rings and how men propose in America and being altogether unsubtle about it all. I knew Kirk had helped him wire money to my mom who was working with a jeweler in their church to design the ring back in California. You just can’t get good diamonds in Haiti, you know. I didn’t know how it was getting back to Haiti, but my mom accidentally slipped the info that it would be arriving in Haiti on April 6. We had a group of volunteers coming that day, so I deduced that they were the chosen ring bearers.
When we went out to dinner on April 5 (our sixth date, remember?), he told me a few times that he thought I’d like to be proposed to on the beach and then kept asking when we were going to plan a trip to the beach. Sly, Wilson! 🙂 I started to daydream about the coming day that we’d be soaking in the Caribbean sun, strolling down the beach…let’s not get ahead of ourselves here!
On our way home, we stopped by a hidden Haitian gem and made plans to surprise Carla and Tori with a trip in the near future (shhhh, don’t tell them!). Shortly after arriving home, Carla and Erin asked me to come downstairs and check on a couple kids they were concerned about. My stomach sunk lower as we walked down the stairs, memories of The Cholera coursing through my mind, because Erin wouldn’t have needed me unless something was serious. I breathed a huge sigh of relief (sorta?) when I found out one of our little girls’ heads had been shaved! No one had any idea why (we’ve since gotten to the bottom of this)! So Erin headed back up to her place while Carla and I made our way back upstairs, trying to figure out how to tell the little ones parents that all the other kids were now calling their daughter a boy.
I stepped into the apartment and froze. Tori was crouching under the kitchen table, camera in hand. Nick and Nikki were in the living room, cameras in hand. Carla was right behind me, don’t think she had anything in hand. And Wilson was standing in the middle of our kitchen, wearing a shirt, vest, and dress pants that (I later found out) his mom had made just for this occasion.
Many thoughts were flitting through my mind, so I’ll try to share a few:
Is this a fake-out? The ring isn’t even in Haiti yet!
I’m so glad I put on decent clothes for dinner (I rarely look any sort of nice in Haiti. baggy shorts and a t-shirt, no makeup, hair always in a bun…I’d been worried the proposal would catch me in such a state)
I LOVE THIS MAN!!!
There are so many people looking at me
I haven’t planned for this! Besides the ‘yes’, I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do!
I LOVE THIS MAN!!!
The first words out of his mouth? “How do I look? Do I look like someone who will propose to you?” Yes, yes you do. He fumbled in his pocket, pulling out a little black box and knelt in front of me. Apparently there was a speech planned, but he never got to it. As soon as he knelt, Wilson began to cry. I have always loved Wilson’s emotions. Raw, unfiltered, genuine. Here was his heart, streaming down his cheeks. “You make me cry” was all he could say at the moment. A few minutes later he uttered the words I’d been longing to hear, “Will you marry me?”
And then the ring was on and we were running through the baby house telling the nannies and kiddos our good news. I’d been a bit worried about a particular four-year-old who has recently said that I will either marry him or a big, white man. I knelt down and showed him the ring, explaining what it meant, and I really felt like his big smile and tight hug were his way of giving us his blessing. Whenever he sees the ring now, he tells me I will marry Wilson 🙂 The baby house parade was followed by a staff party in the volunteer house, complete with chocolate cake made by Erin and an engagement song to the tune of Happy Birthday.
Wilson was hoping to maintain the element of surprise, and he certainly did that! I’m not sure how, since Everyone knew and was somehow involved in pulling it all off. I’ve been told Wilson kept saying that day “She is so happy. I think she knows!” I didn’t know, but I am SO happy!