My fiance Brian and I have spent many months apart due to his military commitment in both Operation Enduring Freedom after September 11th, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. I waited and waited for his homecoming on two separate 6 month deployments. Thousands of e-mails, cards, and phone calls had seen us through and bonded us in an extraordinary way. But it has always been clear that the military influenced our relationship timeline and our history. After all, we met at military school (the US Naval Academy) eight years ago. Because of our early beginnings, I knew what I was getting into. Since then, I became a teacher and Brian continued flying the P-3 Orion. Even through global crises, our relationship emerged into the most amazing and rewarding experience I had ever had.
But the military also influenced his move to Florida four months ago. I was left behind as I finished the school year in Washington state. Of course I yearned to join him and that was something we wanted to happen in the near future. We had talked about getting married, but Brian had said that while he loved me to the moon and back, he was very busy with his military work and that I shouldn’t expect any grand proposal or anything. I accepted that, and was grateful to have my wonderful relationship. Once again, his military lifestyle was indirectly dictating events in our relationship.
After 4 years of dating, I knew our relationship was solid and we’d stay committed, but did not expect my proposal to unfold the way it
did. I had thought my military, schedule-driven boyfriend was predictable. Boy, was I wrong!
My friends announced that they were holding a BBQ at beautiful Deception Pass State Park, at the tip of Whidbey Island, Washington. "Oh, I wish Brian could be there", I thought. It was always our favorite place. I even told Brian what I was doing, and he said he wished he could join me, but he had to work. When I arrived at Deception Pass, there was no BBQ, no friends. BRIAN was there!!! I hadn’t seen him in months! My heart jumped into my chest. He had secretly arranged to lure me there. Our friends and my mother were both in on it. In fact, they were watching it all unfold from the bridge above and radioed down to Brian on walkie-talkie’s that I was on my way and they had seen my car go by. Everyone had known of his plan for weeks and no one told me!
The night before, Brian had flown on a red-eye to Seattle, rented a car,picked up my ring, and driven around all day getting ready. He had set up a picnic table on the beach and gotten champagne, dinner, and the biggest bouquet of flowers I had ever seen. Frank Sinatra was crooning from a stereo. Needless to say, I was shocked. I was completely surprised. It was nothing less than magical. The sun began setting. We strolled on the beach looking for rocks, a favorite past time. We had always gathered rocks from our travels and would write the date and the place on the rock. We have a wonderful little rock pile that represents our adventures. As I walked hand in hand with him, I told Brian we needed to find just the right rock to commemorate the biggest surprise I’d ever had. Suddenly he stopped and bent over as he said, "this one’s perfect". When I looked down, he was down on one knee, holding out a beautiful solitaire. I gasped and he said "and this one will last forever." The sun slipped into the ocean just as he said "Will you marry me?"
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