By now, you have heard Rob unfold the story of how he planned to propose to me on a trip to Chicago last April, and I know you really want to know about the exact moment when it happened. I'll resume the engagement story shortly; but before I relive that lovely moment in Grant Park with you, I'll answer all of the questions leading up to that part of our day.
Did I know Rob was going to propose?
Kind of. I knew it was coming at some point because we had gone into the jeweler together. But once Rob ordered the ring, I made it very clear that I already knew too much and I didn't want to know anything else after that point. I had no idea that the ring had arrived, that Rob had already paid for it, or that he was going to propose the weekend of our trip.
Did I think he was going to propose the in Chicago?
As I was packing my bag for Chicago, the thought that Rob might propose briefly crossed my mind, but I immediately dismissed the idea. Our trip to Chicago was going to be short – just two nights and we had plans to attend the concert on Thursday evening and a family barbecue on Friday night. I dismissed the thought as quickly as it came because I didn't see how Rob could logistically manage to squeeze it in.
What was going through my mind the day of the proposal?
The day that Rob proposed was the gorgeous spring day that everyone had been waiting for. Like many states, Michigan had a very long, very cold winter. It snowed and stayed cold well into April without much of a break or even a hint at warm temperatures. On April 25, the weather was finally comfortable, beautiful, and perfect. I was so excited to go for a walk outside without having to bundle up, I was completely oblivious to any subtle hints Rob may have dropped by mistake. My day started with a really great cup of coffee and I was just enjoying my time in Chicago.
Did I see the box from the ring bulging in Rob's pocket?
Nope. Rob can attest that, in many ways, I live in my own little bubble. I'm not known to be particularly observant of what happens around me. I completely understand why Rob was nervous that I would notice a very unnatural box-shaped bump in his pants, but I was too busy basking in the warmth of the sun on our walk and staring at the creatures on display at the Shedd. I most certainly didn't notice anything unusual about the fit of Rob's attire that day. This is one of the photos I snapped that day at the Shedd. You can see why the jellies captured all of my attention.
Now that you know where my head was at on that fateful day, let's get back to the good stuff…
As Rob mentioned, we had taken a stroll through Grant Park on our way to Millennium Park. Since it was early spring, there wasn't much foliage in the garden (but it was still lovely) and because it was a weekday, there were very few people in the park. It felt as though we had the space mostly to ourselves.
We strolled along for a few minus and Rob guided me into one of the nooks along the path. He stood still for a few minutes and kissed me. At this point, you might think I had a clue that he was about to propose, but it didn't seem that strange to me. Rob and I often take a moment from whatever we are doing to share a kiss. Often, much like that afternoon, we kiss a few times. I remember giving Rob a hug and him telling me that he loved me. Then Rob took a step back and dropped down on one knee and had the box in his hand. I don't recall the exact words he spoke (at this point I was in shock), but I remember Rob saying that he loved me and wanted to love me for the rest of his life. He then uttered those four magical words:
“Will You Marry Me?”
By this point, things really became a blur. He put the ring on my finger, we hugged and we kissed some more. I didn't cry, but I felt as though everything had suddenly changed (in a good way).
There are no photos of Rob on one knee or me saying “yes.” It was just the two of us. Exactly the way I would have chosen it to be.
We only had a short amount of time to enjoy the magic between us before our little bubble was burst – by a Segway tour. Rob loves to tell that part of the story and he recalls it vividly. I do not. All I remember is that people were suddenly around and I didn't want a lot of attention. I definitely didn't want them to know that we had just gotten engaged. I wanted it to stay just the two of us for a few minutes longer.
Once the Segways passed and I was jolted back into reality, we decided to continue our walk toward Millennium Park. I had never seen the Bean and I was eager to take some photos.
I wasn't ready to make our engagement public right away. There were so many people that I wanted to share the good news with in person that we decided to keep the news a secret for as long as possible. Rob and I took several photographs once we arrived at the bean. I used every ounce of self-control I possessed and shared this image on Instagram without any mention of the gorgeous ring that suddenly adorned by finger.
We also snapped this photo to enjoy and share with our friends and family later.
After a gorgeous afternoon at the park, we eventually made our way back to the hotel to call our parents and share the good news. I also texted my friend Meggan, who had heard about my upcoming engagement after the Ingrid Michaelson concert the previous evening. Her response was my favorite text of all time.
And so began a flurry of telling as many special people in my life the story of Rob's proposal as I possibly could before I publicly announced our engagement. I especially treasured sharing the news with my kindergarten students. You can read more about that experience on the Kinder Craze blog.