(Special thanks to LeeAnne and Sharon for reminding me that today is actually the tomorrow I promised yesterday! Here we go.....)
So, knowing those we love is really a big help when trying to plan surprises for them! And for the record, lying is not only acceptable but appropriate and to be expected for the following: Christmas, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Proposals!
I called Cody the week before Easter and pitched a possible idea for his consideration.
Regular readers already know this about us. But every Easter since Kristin was two we've had a family sunrise service. While it's morphed though the years to accommodate ages, interests and understanding, we thoroughly enjoy this tradition.
What if Cody high-jacked the sunrise service this year for the proposal? It would meet all the elements both of them hoped for. Surprise for him. Dressed and picture ready for her. Meagan could be there with the camera; it was, after all, Noah's first Easter. (Brilliant, right?!)
As we talked, Cody started getting excited and the ideas started flowing. Before that conversation ended, THE PLAN was in place.
He called Kristin the next day and told her they were going on a special date the Saturday night before Easter. She should dress up because it would really be nice. Then he casually mentioned that she should bring sandals for a walk along the beach after dinner.
Getting off the phone, Kristin turned to her sisters and wailed. "He's going to propose to me on the beach! I hate the beach! (Kristin really dislikes getting sandy! It's been a problem since her first visit at 18 months of age.) Doesn't he know that by now? Good grief, why would he propose to me at the beach?!"
Her sisters (who had already been clued in) responded in reassuring tones. "A beach proposal would be romantic, Kristin. We can even go out and arrange shells for you guys. They would spell out 'Marry Me, Kristin!' Don't you like that idea?"
(Oh, how siblings torture one another!)
When she told me of her suspicions, I calmly pointed out that the possibility of Cody obtaining a ring by that time was pretty slim. "It usually takes several days to have one sized. And if he's designing it, that will be weeks!"
She pondered this - and Bought It. (As we say in the South....... "Hook. Line. And Sinker!")
"Yeah, I guess you're right!" she sounded a little more hopeful.
On Saturday, we all went to have our nails done for Easter Sunday. Meagan and Joy came to the house to help with Kristin's hair and make-up for the big date. They started snapping pictures and talking about what it would be like when she got engaged.
The anxiety about a sand-covered proposal returned.
Kristin looked right at Joy (who has never been able to lie) and asked, "Joy! Is Cody proposing tonight?!" Joy looked away and shrugged her shoulders. Kristin howled!
Joy's honesty was the give away in Kristin's thinking. Cody would propose. Tonight. On some sandy stretch of beach.
(Please bear in mind that all this time the sisters are completely aware that the proposal is scheduled for sunrise tomorrow morning. They were simply fulfilling their part in helping Cody convince her that the ring was on its way in a seaweed wrapped shell.)
The date was perfect!
A fabulous new restaurant in Tampa. Wonderful food. Great music. A boardwalk leading to a lovely gazebo over-looking the water. Kristin caught her breath several times during the evening thinking, "Oh, here it comes!"
But each opportunity passed with Cody simply returning her puzzled expressions with a smile.
Torture! Sheer Torture!
When they arrived home, she gave him a quick (rather cold) kiss good-night and went straight to her room. Cody lingered just a moment by the front door. When her door clicked shut, he gave a silent little victory dance and fist pump of joy. We all mimed congratulations to one another and then aloud said good-night.
She woke the next morning at 4:30 to help me get ready for Sunrise Service. Everyone was to be at our table at 6:00 AM. Completely dressed and ready for church. Absolutely No Exceptions!! ( John and Nathan helped play up that element.)
As she ran the vacuum one last time, we talked about her date from the evening before. "I just knew he was getting ready to propose all through the evening, Mom. And I don't mind telling you I was pretty upset with him by the time it was over! I mean, REALLY??!"
I nodded sympathetically.
"Then this morning the Lord reminded me how patiently Cody has been waiting! I guess I can wait a few weeks myself, right? But I'll tell you right now, Jesus is going to have to help me!!" Her exasperation was literal.
At 5:50 everyone else began to arrive and the volume increased greatly. Bowls and platters moving from the kitchen to the table. (In our wonderful new dining room!) High chairs scrapping. Voices excited and ready to begin. Everyone knew what was coming, except Kristin and the babies.
"Let's open the windows so it really feels like we're outside," someone suggested (on cue). "That's a great idea!" All the windows were opened and the cooler air rushed in.
As soon as everyone was seated, Frank began reading the Easter story. Then we launched into the traditional Easter songs we save mostly for that one day. He Lives. Alive for Evermore. Up from the Grave He Arose. (Which Spencer and Abby had learned for the occasion.)
"Today we're going to begin a new tradition," Frank moved forward smoothly. "Mom and I want to read a scripture blessing over each family. And Kristin, we have one for you as well since you'll probably be a family at some point this year." Everyone chuckled and smiled.
(This "new tradition" was Cody's suggestion. Kristin had no way of knowing but Cody was at that moment standing just outside the door listening through the open windows to everything.)
Dad read the passage we'd chosen for the Smith family. Meagan snapped a picture of Noah.
"Honey," I said. "you may want to speak up so we can all hear you over the babies." Frank tends to get a softer voice when reading directly to someone. I knew Cody probably couldn't hear him.
He cleared his throat and went on to read the scripture for the Schreck family, a little more loudly. They smiled for Meagan's camera. She then (very naturally) focused the lens on Kristin.
Dad began reading slowly and purposefully from I Corinthians 13. (Cody's chosen verses.) ".......faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love. So always keep your heart open for when love opens the door."
On cue, the door opened. (Of course, we had reseated everyone so Kristin would be facing the door.) And in walked a tall, dark handsome young man looking dapper in his Easter suit and tie.
She smiled; still completely unaware of what was unfolding around her. "Hi, Babe. What are you doing here?"
Cody continued forward without a word. Then she caught sight of the ring box in his hand.
The squealing and tears were almost immediate!
Cody knelt in front of her. The camera clicked. We all beamed.
"Are you going to do this right now?!" she exclaimed.
"Yes!" his response was certain. "Are you ready?"
His well rehearsed words held great meaning for them both. He used her full name. She swiped frantically at tears trying to take in the wonder of the moment.
He concluded with the all important line, "Will you marry me?"
"Yes! Yes! Oh my goodness, YES!" She jumped up and wrapped her arms around his neck while apologizing for wiping her nose on his sleeve. Meagan moved silently; catching every look. We all sat with faces frozen in huge smiles.
It was an absolutely Perfect Proposal!!
A story they will both enjoy telling well after their fiftieth anniversary!