Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sometimes Proposals Come in Threes

I don't know- it just happened that way?

The first time Nate proposed was, I think, my personal favorite. A few days before we had decided getting married was going to be a thing, and then when we realized we only had a few weeks left of the beautiful autumn colors, that sped up the process. So, after day one of grueling ring shopping (I may just dedicate an entire post to how frustrating ring and dress shopping were... it's just hard when you know what you want and no one seems to think it's credible. Upon finding both, I have the strongest urge to go back to every jewelry and dress store and say, "SEE?!?!?! IT IS REAL, I'M NOT CRAZY!!!!" while brandishing my ring and dress in their face. Though, then they probably would have their crazy suspicions confirmed... sorry, bridezilla coming out.) 

Anyway, after day one of ring shopping, we went to dinner and then to a show, and finished the night by snuggling up to a movie at my house. We started talking about getting married and being engaged, and Nate talked about thinking of ways to propose. I told him that I didn't care how it happened- I'd be happy with whatever he did. Nate, surprised, asked, "Really?"
"Yeah," I shrugged, "I don't care."
"Oh. well..." Nate sat back, "Caitlan. Will you marry me?"
 "Yes," I nodded, "yes I will."

Nate teared up a bit, and I just laughed as we hugged. That's pretty indicative of us- Nate being sweet and thoughtful, and me just... I don't know- being inappropriate I guess. It fits though.:) So then we talked about how excited we were, how much we loved each other, and how obviously our lives were going to be perfect because we are such a perfect match and we do everything right. 

So, that was Saturday, and after ring shopping on Monday and Tuesday, we found the ring! I just have to take a minute and say that ring shopping with Nate made me realize that he is the most perfect guy. Not the fact that we were ring shopping, but more the concept of how wonderful Nate is when I am upset.  I thought ring shopping was the most frustrating thing in the whole world. You saw the picture- my ring is the simplest thing ever! Anyway, I would stress out and he was extremely patient and kind. Nate is way too nice to me- and he's like that with everything- nice when I'm unreasonable, and then still considerate in every way- making sure I get exactly what I want. I don't know where I found this guy, but he is the best and I am keeping him.

Anyway, when we finally found the ring, we realized it was going to have to be made and would take a while. So, in the mean time, we picked up some Wal-Mart bling. You would not believe how many compliments I got on this thing- it doesn't even look close to real, but whatev! And so here we have proposal #2. Nate got on one knee in a movie theater parking lot, and proposed with this big plastic rock. I said yes, again. 

Not bad, Wal-Mart. Solid plastic is not bad.

But... this one is a lot better. And real. :)

So I wore my fake ring for about two weeks. I told Nate I felt like we were fake engaged because I had a fake ring. I say the sweetest things, I know. 

Anyway, Nate had been telling me that the ring was taking longer than expected and he wasn't sure when it would be done. Meanwhile our WalMart bling was starting to turn my finger green, and the silver shine was turning a nice copper color. So yesterday he came and picked me up from work, and I thought we would go home, but instead he took me to the Provo River Trail. 

This trail has special meaning for us as we have taken many a walk there, and it is also where, after much perseverance on Nate's part, I finally told him I liked him back and we could start dating. So, agreeing that this was a good spot to take engagement photos. Nate took me there under the premise that we were looking for good photo opps. I noticed, however, he was walking a little more quickly than usual, and to be honest it was my secret hope this walk was more than just photo spots.  

We reached the bench where we had sat to have little chats, and sat down. The leaves were beautiful next to the river, and even the sunlight was at a perfect afternoon gleam. As we sat there, we talked about other times we had been there, and about getting married. Nate mentioned that he had wanted to marry me for a long time, and so we talked about times we had both felt that way. After some sweet nothings were exchanged, he said, "Well, that reminds me, I have a question for you."

He stood up, knelt on the ground, and asked me if I would marry him, and spend forever with him. I said, "Yes, and I'll love you forever too." So then we kissed and it was very nice. :)

Nate is the greatest guy in the whole world. The more we're together, the more I feel like I snagged him and like it or not, I'm going to keep him because he is so wonderful. He's so nice, caring, patient, considerate... I could go on forever. Know that he is the best and I could not ask for more. :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Real Story

So it turns out I don't keep my whole life on facebook. And so, here's the full, juicy, long version of the story via blog. :)

I met Mr. Nathan Parkin about two years ago when I went to do proxy sealings at the Provo Temple with my roommate, Cynthia. I had woken up about ten minutes before we left, so my hair was sticking out at unnatural angles and yesterday's makeup was covered by glasses. Whenever it wasn't my turn to participate in a sealing, I was falling asleep in my chair. Nate always describes this part as seeing the most beautiful girl of his life and being distracted the whole time. Not sure what he found so appealing, but we'll go with it. :)

Apparently Nate hurried quickly to the dressing room so he could be changed and outside before we were. Cynthia and I took our sweet time and finally came outside the temple. There I saw this guy sitting at the fountain and briefly mentioned to Cynthia, "Hey- that guy was in our group." He came up and started talking to us. I was mostly disinterested, but Cynthia humored him and they talked all the way to the car. Expecting him to ask her out (Cynthia is absolutely gorgeous), I made my way to the other side of the car. He spoke over her and asked me if I'd like to go on a date sometime. Unamused, I  responded, "Um, I don't know. I'll think about it. You can have my number though."

A few days later he called to ask me on a date, and I said no. 

Meanwhile, I became friends with Brock, a guy I met in an English class. We often did homework and projects together, and became fast friends as we exchanged dating advice and tried to set one another up. And the end of the semester, Brock and I went to a party together. Upon picking me up, he asked if I had ever been asked out at the temple before, and if one of those times was by a red haired guy named Nate. I responded in the affirmative, and he laughed and said, "That's my roommate!!" I couldn't believe it. We went to the party, and sure enough, there was temple guy. Yikes.

For the next year and a half, that was pretty much the story. I'd hang out with Brock, and Nate would often be there. For whatever reason, anyone who came over or ran into us would ALWAYS ask, "How do you guys know each other?" Amusing for Brock, mildly uncomfortable for me and Nate. As I got to know Nate better, I began piping in, "And I should have said yes!" any time the story was told. If it came up when Brock and I were talking, I would usually mention something about regretting saying no, just in case that info ever got passed on. Convinced that my time had passed with Nate, I never entertained the thought too deeply.

So, time passed, and Nate and I realized we had a lot in common. It turns out we both have deep abiding love and trust for Banana Republic, and so Nate began inviting me on shopping trips. Then he began asking me out on dates. After about two months of dates, I finally made up my mind and we started dating. Unfortunately, differences came up and I broke it off.

I feel like the cute way to tell this story is to say, "And then we got back together!" as if it was a simple mishap. Nope. The reality is that it was super hard and confusing and painful, and not fun. After a few weeks, however, we realized we could work through things and tried again.

I'm not really sure what happened this time. Selfishness, perhaps.  I just didn't feel like things would work. Either way, after another brief stint of dating, I broke up with him for the second time. 

When I initially broke up with Nate this go around, I felt really confidently about it. No turning back. I figured it would be a distant memory in a matter of weeks, and I was on to the next. I dated other guys, and pretty much put it behind me. I kept being surprised, however, at how often Nate would turn up in my thoughts. I'd write in my journal about whatever, and then add a line at the end to the effect of, "Oh, and I miss Nate today."

The more time that went by, the more frequently he was on my mind. Along with the frequency also came the reminder that none of these other guys were as kind as Nate, or treated me with as much respect. I also didn't respect them as much as I respected him, it turned out. I began to see my breakup with Nate as one of the most interesting types of pain I'd ever felt, because for the first time I still loved and still respected an ex-boyfriend.  Instead of my usual insensitive indifference to an old beau, I still really cared about Nate's happiness and hoped he found it. 

At the end of the summer, I went up to Seattle with a few friends, and we stayed at Brock's parents' house. Maybe it was because Brock and Nate are so close, maybe it was because Brock's family and Nate are so close, or maybe it was because I knew he had been there before, but the thought of him haunted me that whole trip. I couldn't get him out of my head. Finally, the night before we left, I was alone in the kitchen with Brock's mom, Lesli. We were just talking about whatever, and she casually asked about my dating Nate.

Finally someone asked! "YES, and I'm going crazy!" I erupted, relieved for a chance to talk about it. She was a good listener and apparently asked the perfect questions, because I went on about how much I missed him and how happy we'd be together and how I didn't know what to do because I felt like I was out of chances and I couldn't hurt him anymore and just basically how I was still in love with him. I also had this crazy feeling- I've never experienced this before or since- of just like my heart growing. Haha I guess it'd be like the Grinch when his heart grows three times its size? Either way, I felt really strongly that I wanted to see him, know how he was doing, be around him, care about him, and just talk to him again. Lesli's parting words before going to bed were, "Well, you have a lot to think about, don't you?" 

Wise words, Lesli. 

The next day I had a 14 hour drive back to Provo. Plenty of thinking time. Oh, and I was also with 4 of the most assertive, direct girls I know. Between peer pressure and my own wanting, I called Nate and asked if he wanted to get lunch. That darn kid- he is super composed and handled the conversation really normally. I, on the other hand, was all over the place like a nervous wreck. We agreed to lunch the next week, and didn't speak till then.

Lunch ended up being dinner and shopping, and we decided to have our chat over dinner. I decided to speak first since I had initiated the reunion. I basically told him the story of my summer as I gave the waitress the "Get out here" glare. After some spilling of emotions and thoughts (no crying though), I then found myself saying, "I don't deserve you, and I certainly don't expect you to say yes, but I'm going to try either way and ask you to take me back." 

See ya later pride. 

Nate nodded and said that as much pain as I had caused him, the way he felt about me had never changed, and that even in that moment he would do anything for me. He also mentioned that he was still considering himself lucky that we had ever dated, let alone the future prospect of being together. (He gets all the winning parts, I know)

So we talked about how we might do things differently, and decided to just start going on dates for now. This notion was short-lived, however, as we went on a walk following dinner and he reached out and held my hand. This was probably one of the most meaningful times that we've shared, because our holding hands symbolized so much- the things we'd overcome, our willingness to try again, and of course, love.:) He also kissed me goodnight, which was equally meaningful.

So, fast forward about a month. Marriage had always been a topic of discussion, at least hypothetically, in every instance of our dating. Both in our mid-twenties and a history of friendship, it wasn't too out of place. So, we had been talking about it here and there, and after a few weeks of dating for time #3, he mentioned that my favorite month of May probably wasn't soon enough. At this point I turned into a 12 year old girl and started giggling, asking him what he was trying to say. Here is where marriage was no longer hypothetical, and we started making plans.

And so we started ring shopping (a nightmare of its own, but after 7 stores we found it. goodnight that was crazy). And so January 21st sounded like the most beautiful day. And so the Provo temple, where it all began, was scheduled. And I have never felt more confident, assured, and happy about a decision in my life. :) 

Extended Version Coming Soon...

From the outside, I can definitely see how Nate and I getting engaged seems like it came out of nowhere. However, it didn't. :)

Nate and I met about two years ago when we both went to the Provo temple to do proxy sealings. He waited outside the temple until I came out, and asked me on a date. I not so gracefully declined. I thought nothing of it until a few months later, I went to a party with a good friend who ended up being his roommate. He was there and... talk about awkward- everyone at the party thought it was hilarious though.

So for the next year and a half the three of us were good friends and hung out all the time. As I got to know Nate better, I wished I could take back my initial decline. After more than a year, Nate gave me another chance and started asking me out again. After 2 months of going on dates, we started dating. Things didn't match up, and I broke up with him.

A few weeks later, I came crawling back and we dated again. Again I changed my mind and broke up with him.

This time the break was for the summer. I kept waiting to get over Nate, but instead of the feelings going away or diminishing, I found myself missing him more and getting over him less. No one treated me as well as he did, I didn't respect anyone as much as I did him, and I guess I just plain missed him.

More later, but, long story short I called him and just told him I didn't expect him to, but I wished he would take me back. And the nicest guy in the world that he is, he did. And now we're getting married. :)