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Thursday, January 5, 2012

our love story {part 5}

((in case you missed it, check out part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4))

It was September, and I was sitting in my apartment kitchen with roommate, Rachel.  We were casually chatting that Saturday evening.  She asked me about Brandon, how things were going and how I was feeling  ((it had been about a month since my proclamation)).  I replied that it's been good, I mean really good, "I'm actually kind of surprised he hasn't talked about marriage anymore.  I mean he brought it up a few months ago and hasn't said anything."  Rachel smiled and said something about God's timing and not to worry.  I really wasn't worried, just surprised at how cool he'd been about it.

The next morning, Brandon came to the apartment per usual to pick me up and we'd head to breakfast before church ((we went to a 2pm service)).  He asked if I minded driving out to Bagel's Plus and I said no.  It was about a 45 min. drive, but it's a bagel shop well worth it.  I had gone to high school nearby and my Young Life leader and I met there for breakfast once a week when I was in high school.  We always sat upstairs, where others rarely sat, since it was quiet and away from the many distractions of people we knew coming in and out.  Since it had been ten years since I graduated, I didn't need to sit upstairs anymore, but when Brandon and I started going he liked the idea of sitting upstairs away from the crowds.  We had gone there five or six times that summer/fall and started reading through the book of John together.  I always knew I liked that table!

We got our bagels and settled into our usual upstairs table, about the same time a family of four made their way up the stairs.  The kids were loud.  I mean, yelling and running around the room, kind of carrying on.  And since it's a pretty small space with just enough room for three tables, I could see Brandon getting a little annoyed with the noise.  He awkwardly, asked me to start reading from where had last looked at John together.  I said, "I think we have enough time to make it to Old North Bridge before church.  We can read there, it's a nice day."  At first, he didn't act like that was a great idea, so we waited a bit longer to see if the family might leave.  After another ten minutes of trying to talk over the loud kids, he agreed we should go.
We drove the ten minutes or so to Old North Bridge and walked down a path to sit near a tree.  It was a beautiful New England fall day.  We had a blanket to sit on and I remember the sun was shining on the changing leaves just perfectly.  I opened my Bible to get reading in John again but Brandon asked me to wait.  He reached for my hand and calmly said "I need to ask you something..." as he slipped his hand into his jacket pocket.  My heart skipped a beat.  Surely he couldn't be asking what I thought he would ask and a million thoughts rushed into my head: I was fairly certain we'd get engaged around Thanksgiving or Christmas.  His brother was in Afghanistan until April and I know he wants his brother to be there. The last time this came up we both agreed on a six month engagement. Six months from now is March...

And that's when he did it.  He took my hand, pulled out a ring and asked me to marry him.  I was shocked.  I said yes, we kissed and then he said "okay, where were we in John?"  I struggled through reading a few verses aloud, then said, "I really can't focus on reading...I have a million questions."  He laughed and said, "Yeah, we should head back into Boston."  So, off we went.

At church, I couldn't tell anyone.  I mean, I didn't feel right telling anyone since we hadn't called our families yet.  I did pull Rachel aside and discreetly warned her not to squeal, before I told her.  She responded with a huge smile and then said, "well, hurry up and tell your families so I don't have to keep this a secret."  She had her camera with her that day, so she took a few photos!
(left) in the lobby at church (right) at my apartment, starting to plan that evening
It was a very exciting fall.  We returned to Old North Bridge the next month to take photos to be used for our save the date card.  The wedding planning was underway and by November we had a venue, photographer, florist and caterer.  Save the date cards went out at Thanksgiving and our May wedding was set.
photos we took using a self-timer
 After we were married, I found the photo below from 1995...
(left) we went back to Old North Bridge for our engagement photos the next month (right) Visiting Old North Bridge in 1995 with my Grandma, brother and mom.
And there you have it, the story of Brandon and Beth's courtship!


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