Curtis and I have been together for almost four years. After surviving long-distance dating for the first year of our courtship, we finally moved in together outside of St. Louis. In the months approaching Christmas of 2008, I began to wonder if Curtis was ever going to propose to me. We already had the marriage talk, so it wasn't a question of whether or not either of us wanted to get married. The more we talked about it, the more uptight he got any time I mentioned anything having to do with a wedding. About two weeks before Christmas, we were having dinner at his parents' house and I mentioned something about rings, and he said, "If I buy any ring first, it'll be a wrestling ring!" I was so mad that I chose to ignore the subject altogether!
The next week, we were in a store looking for a present for someone else. I wandered over to the jewelry counter to see what they had. Curt came up behind me and asked me what style of rings I liked. He knew what ring I really wanted, but I also knew there was no way he could afford to have it made and shipped here from Ireland. I pointed out a few in the case that I liked, and the lady took them out for me to try on. "Just as I thought," she said "You're a perfect six."
Our plan for Christmas the following week was to spend Christmas Eve at his parents' house, then get on the road and drive four and a half hours to my mom's house outside of Chicago. On the morning of Christmas Eve, he drove me to work and told me he was going to help his mom and that he would be there to get me when I got off work. After he picked me up that afternoon, his mom called a few times asking us where we were and telling me she really needed my help when I got to the house.
We walked in the front door, I barely had time to set my stuff down before his dad blinded me with the flash from his camera. When I started scolding him for catching me off guard, Curtis asked me if I had gotten a hold of my mom yet. I said no and that I would try again soon. Before I could finish my sentence, he grabbed my arm and turned me around. My mom was standing right in front of me!
We hugged and cried for a while. I was so surprised and happy to see her! I thought that it was my big Christmas surprise he had been hinting at and joking about for the last month or so. We ate dinner and opened present. There were a lot more people than usual this year, and it was such a nice feeling to have everyone around. I was glad they all got to meet my mom.
As we all started cleaning up after presents, Curt's grandfather untied a small box from the very center of the tree. "To Chrissi from Curt," he said.
Now I was getting a little suspicious. I opened it, and inside was a rolled up piece of paper with a poem written on it. It wasn't just a poem; it was a clue. He sent me on a scavenger hunt! I got up to follow the clue, and Curt cued his cousin to play the "Mission Impossible" theme song as I went from clue to clue. The whole family followed me from room to room until I finally came to the last one.
Inside the last box was a single piece of paper taped to tissue paper that read, "Turn Around." The music changed to "Total Eclipse of the Heart." When I turned around, he was standing behind me with another small box. He knelt down and said, "Christine Ann Hall, would you do me the honor of being my wife?" I choked out a "YES!" through uncontrollable tears of joy.
The music changed again to Edwin McCain's, "I Want it All." I was so high up on cloud nine that I forgot to even look at my ring! When I finally looked down at it, my eyes welled up with tears again. He wasn't able to get the exact ring I wanted, but he gave me the closest thing he could, and it means just as much. The Irish Claddaugh has always held a special place in my heart, but now its meaning of friendship, love and loyalty rings ever truer to me. Not only was that the best Christmas ever, but I'll never forget all that he did to make it more special and memorable. I truly have found the man of my dreams!