Joe and I did the usual running around in the few days before Christmas this year: liquor store for all the ingredients for Bloody Marys, martinis and spiked coffees; the grocery store for lunch meat and cheese; Sam’s Club for sticks of pepperoni, more cheese and some crackers.
I’ve eaten from so many cheese trays this season, I can feel my love handles growing.
Christmas Eve arrived and we picked Joe’s parents up from the airport for a slightly teary reunion. It was so good to see them, since it’s been a whole year. Once we were settled into the car, it was off to the cemetery so Joe’s mother could visit her parents. Joe’s sister had recently put poinsettias by their headstones; it was very nice.
Back into the car and back to more driving around all of South Jersey before heading back over the bridge and dropping me off for work (yes, unfortunately I was among the thousands who were stuck working the eve before Christmas – which turned out to be a good thing in the end, if you know what I mean $$$). Back to Jersey for them, to work for me, then back to Philadelphia for Joe once again, to pick me up around 10:00. All of this running around from state to state just so I didn’t have to be alone at any point before going to work. Nice, eh? 🙂
We arrived home that night, bringing in the cold air with us, and I immediately snuggled up in my comfy Grinch pajama pants with a glass of red wine. The four of us (Joe, myself, and his parents) talked for a while, ate some candy, cracked
open some nuts (one of Joe’s favorite things to have out on the table around Christmas time) and settled in to watch A Christmas Story – a tradition that I missed out on last year after passing out on the couch.
Well, it’s too bad I woke up a few hours later in a daze and a lying down position on that same couch, Joe passed out face down on the floor between the couch and the coffee table. Yep, I missed it, again. His parents were already in bed, it was already after 5 in the morning. Why was he on the floor when there’s two other couches in the living room? Who knows. He was like my watch dog at the foot of the bed. 🙂
We woke about 9:30, opened some presents (he loved the scrapbook I made him! and I looooved my Chi hair straightener, and all my other gifts, of course), then headed to my parents house with the plan to meet his parents at his sister’s house later that day.
We enjoyed a lovely breakfast with my parents, some Bloody Marys, and a glass of wine or two for me (in my opinion, Christmas is a free pass to drink while it’s still light out). My mother wrapped a can of Lysol wipes and handed that to Joe before handing him his actual present – a very nice tool set. Joe is a huge “germaphobe”, so this was pretty funny. I received a delicious Coach perfume, and a new digital camera. (Plenty of pictures to be posted from that, once I have the program set up.)
We left my parents just as it was getting dark, and headed back to our place to gather the rest of the presents we needed for his sister’s house. I ran upstairs to get changed (wearing tights was already getting uncomfortable), and as I barreled back down the stairs asking if I looked fat, I noticed mistletoe hanging in the doorway that hadn’t been there before. Leave it to me to notice it immediately!
I laughed and asked where it came from, and he tried to tell me it’s been there for days, which he then immediately admitted was a lie. “I forgot I had it, so I decided to hang it up,” he said. So of course, I dragged him into the doorway and made him kiss me. This is what followed:
Joe: “I have to put something else in the car. I think Santa may have left one more present for you on the tree.” ::runs away::
Me: ::intuition kicking in, along with confusion, since we have both made fun of cliche Christmas engagements for the majority of the season:: “There’s too many lights and ornaments on this tree, and I don’t know what I’m looking for. Give me a hint!”
Joe: ::pointing me in a general direction:: “It’s near the top there. A little to the left.”
Me: ::squinting, getting excited, getting nervous::
Me: ::finds shiny round thing hanging from ornament hook somewhere near the top of the tree. pulls it off. removes hook..::
Me: “Is this a promise ring? ::laughs:: (We had been discussing promise rings earlier that day, and how – in my opinion – you should just get right to the damn point.)
Joe: ::takes ring from me:: “No, dear. That’s an engagement ring. It was Mom-Mom’s ring.”
Joe’s grandmother passed away a few years ago. His mother has been wearing this ring since her death. His grandfather passed away in 2000; they were married for 64 years.
Joe: ::puts ring on my finger:: “So…do you wanna?”
Me: ::laughs:: ::tries to breathe:: “Yes!”
We hugged, we exchanged the I-Love-Yous, and then my anxiety shouted into my eardrum, “Hey asshole, why aren’t you crying? Isn’t that required or something?”
Me: “I can’t believe tears aren’t pouring from my eyes yet!”
Cue the flood.
Joe: “Don’t cry!”
The flood immediately stops.
You never know how you are going to react I suppose, until your big day comes along! Every girl dreams of her man down on one knee, the tears flowing, a sappy speech. But you know what? How it happened is unique to us: casual, a little cutesy, but just right. Why do something that isn’t you, just for the sake of tradition? Let’s start our own traditions. 🙂
I am happy, I am overwhelmed with questions and decisions we are nowhere near making yet!! House first. Wedding second.
Oh, and his reasoning behind choosing Christmas?
“We always make fun of it, so I figured this would be the day you’d least expect it.”
It’s all still so surreal. When do these things really sink in? 🙂