Maybe I should just make up a more exciting story.
I think I've delayed in part because I don't have an intriguing story to tell about the engagement. The weekend of the 4th, we both had the day off on Friday and headed out in the morning through the mountains for a romantic weekend getaway in North Carolina.
Our destination was this Asheville bed and breakfast inn. We were up on the second floor, in the room that opens onto that balcony. Before check-in, we went downtown to have lunch on the patio of a vegetarian restaurant, the Laughing Seed, which has its own brewery. We spent some time walking around the city and stocked up on really nice chocolate truffles.
The Inn was located in an old neighborhood and that evening, we walked down to a near-by Caribbean restaurant called 9 Mile. We sat at one of the outdoor tables and had some fantastic seafood.
After a morning hike, much of it in a light rain, we returned to the downtown area for lunch. We ate outside again, watching a guy dressed like a nun riding his bicycle around and some street muscians playing across the street.
Our B&B host had recommended Isa's Bistro, where I had local trout, green beans and fingerling potatoes and a cold IPA. The skies opened up just as we finished lunch, so we went to sit at the bar and split a bourbon while we waited out the storm. We talked about the future, making plans for travel and joining our lives.
Because we're grown-ups, with children and two households. So this wasn't one of those "Oh my God, who knew we'd ever get engaged?!" sorts of things. We went back to our room to dress for the afternoon wine the Inn provided. (See the creepy dolls on the mantle? I stashed those in our closet right after I took this picture. I'm not a fan of dolls - too close to clowns for my taste.) We sat on the bed for a while, talking, and then when it was clear we were fully on the same page, he asked me to marry him. No surprises, just a deep growing certainty that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Afterwards, we went downstairs to have a glass of wine and asked another couple staying there to take our picture. We'd spent the previous day's wine hour chatting with the two women, and when we told them we'd just gotten engaged, both teared up a little at our news.
We had dinner reservations that night at 8:15, at the ridiculously crowded tapas restaurant, Zambra's. But we couldn't wait, so we showed up an hour or so early and explained that we'd just gotten engaged and wanted to celebrate. The host found us a corner table and brought champagne on the house.
And then back to the hotel, where we had more champagne and truffles waiting. There were 4th of July fireworks going outside, in spite of the weather, and we took advantage of the privacy of our now-dark balcony to dance naked in the rain. Something I recommend to everyone. And that's our story. It was back to real life the next morning, to tell our kids and good friends and family.
Yesterday morning, my older son and his girlfriend visited so they could meet their future stepsisters. It was relaxed and easy, as the relationship has been from the beginning. Later, when I was hanging out with my kids, my older son said, "You seem to be doing really well, Mom. I'm glad to see you so happy." And you know, for a long time I wasn't sure this was a step I'd ever even want to take again. Now I can't imagine anything else.