One week in October, my great-aunt Jet stopped by work to ask if she and my uncle could take me out to dinner with my grandparents to thank me for house-sitting for them the month before. Aunt Jet called me the day before and said to dress up because we were going to a nice restaurant downtown. I was confused because neither of these couples is fancy or the "downtown " type. But I went with it. I called my boyfriend that night, but his phone was turned off. It was early, so I didn't think it was too strange because he often turns his phone off when he is studying, napping or sleeping. I left a message and didn't worry when I got a call back about an hour and a half later from him. He sounded really tired and said that he was going to bed and that we could talk the next day. I was a little peeved that he couldn't make time for a ten minute chat before bed, and I was upset when I hung up the phone.
On Friday, I woke up like it was any normal day, dressed up a little more than usual for work. I texted my boyfriend in the morning with my usual message. After a couple of texts back and forth, he said that he needed to go "pay attention. " Of course, I thought he meant pay attention to class in seminary, where he should have been! So I went back to work, kind of dreading heading downtown that night because I was tired. On the way to the city, my grandma and aunt showed me all of the pictures from their vacation. I grabbed my purse to show them a picture of my cousin that I had taken, but I realized that I had left my camera at work that day. I was sad because I love taking pictures of the city, but then my grandma mentioned that she had brought her camera. What? They never bring their camera out in public!
We got to Navy Pier and even though it was a little chilly, my grandpa wanted to walk outside to see the boats on the water. I grabbed his camera and starting snapping away as we made our way down the navy pier. After handing the camera back, I heard my name being called. I instantly cringed because I thought it was some old friend who would make a big scene in front of my family. So, I ignored the voice and kept chatting. I heard my name again, but this time, it was a much more familiar voice. My grandma nudged and I looked to see my boyfriend, dressed in the sport coat I had scolded him for buying the week before. He looked freezing, cold and nervous but more excited than I had ever seen him.
I stopped dead in my tracks and in a split second, tears sprang to my eyes, and I found myself running. I dropped my purse and threw my arms around his neck. I whispered in his ear, "Are you really here? " and cried. He gently removed my death grip from his neck and dropped to his knee. He popped open the box and kept it short and sweet. I blubbered, "Of course I'll marry you! " I was shaking so badly that he could hardly put the ring on my finger.
My grandma's first words to me were, "Whew! I'm so glad that's over with! It was so hard to keep a secret! " My grandpa, a retired jeweler, had picked out the center stone for my ring and had set it. The dinner cruise on the Odyssey was beyond cheesy, which is what I would have imagined a dinner cruise to be. It was completely romantic with delicious food, great service and a fireworks show. I felt so lovey-dovey that we decided to break some of our PDA rules and hold hands while sitting next to each other at the table. The whole world seemed to stop for that entire evening, and we made phone calls on our way home. It was the perfect start to the adventure of our engagement!