“Like a flower, we blossom when the conditions are right.” – Rita Said
Soooooo, on Day #20, this happened:
Yes, that is a ring and yes that is in the middle of the Lost Lake 50k…breaking that ring in with some dirt and sweat (and Gu)! I knew this day was coming but I had *NO IDEA* that 5:30 AM on May 10, 2014 would be so monumentally beautiful and life-changing.
I am a bit of a planner by nature and I like to know when things are going to happen. ha ha ha!! Such was the perfection of this day…it was imperfectly perfect & I was able to let the whole thing unfold organically around me and simply enjoy it.
Lars and I have been together 3 1/2 years and have 3 kids between us. Marriage is something we have looked forward to, but not ever put any timeframe around as our kids come first in this whole scenario and we mutually agreed “it will happen when it happens, depending on the kids.” Living in separate cities (separate cities with a large body of water and ferry dividing them!) is part of this puzzle as well. Neither one of us wants to uproot our teenagers. They come first.
Despite all that, the desire to formally commit, become engaged, is something we have both felt strongly about. So my “planner” brain has been in goofy romantic mode for the past year or so….Christmas Eve? NY Eve? Valentine’s Day? Romantic walk on beach post-marathon in Oregon when he asked me to be sure and pack a dress?? Nope, nope, nope and nope. Lars is not that guy…his creativity and charm are sweetly old-fashioned & traditional, yet utterly unique and unexpected just the same.
We collaborated a wee bit on the ring, so that was not a complete surprise….I knew I wanted the diamonds I inherited from my grandma in the design & Lars had visions of cherry blossoms:
It’s delicate and perfect (please ignore my old lady bony fingers – I will never be a hand model!) and I ran all 50K on Saturday checking it out — still in shock. “Is that my hand??”
To rewind a few hours, I was on the 4:55 a.m. ferry to Edmonds, where Lars was to meet me and travel up to Bellingham to run the race. Liam had 2 baseball games that day, which I would be missing, leaving me with a heavy dose of mama-guilt, something I still struggle to sit with as I rarely miss games. Luckily, I have such amazingly wonderful mom friends who step in and help out…instead of “omg you’re missing his game???”, I got a “Run! Run! Run!” text from sweet Connie and eased into knowing Liam would be just fine.
To set the scene, please picture me with bed-head, no makeup, coffee breath, large dark circles under my eyes from waking up at 3:30, and an unflattering yoga-pant/ratty sweatshirt combo. Oh and also: grumpy-tired attitude.
No matter…It was a beautiful extra-calm quiet dawn at the beach and Lars greeted me with a BIG GRIN.
Lars’ “thing” is bringing me flowers — like, always. Sometimes a bouquet, sometimes a few daisies…it’s what he does. (He will even bring smooshed wildflowers back from a trail race that he carried in his shorts for 50 miles. Yep, love this guy.) Soooo, on that morning as I was headed to throw my running gear in his car and ask for an immediate bathroom/coffee stop…he says “Oh damn….I forgot to bring you flowers!!! Oh wait….I have some here in my pocket….”
Unfortunately, my half-asleep brain did not function in a timely manner and it took me a few minutes to catch on to what the heck was happening. (“what? this is …huh? now? what??”) I don’t think I was a very graceful ring-receiver in that moment…I was stunned! Lars’ sweet shaking hands made me realize: WOW. this. is. it.
I spent the rest of the day with a perma-grin on my face…running with my hand out, looking at the sparkly blossoms….feeling enveloped in love. My dad always comes to this race, as he lives right near the course, so it was particularly sweet to run into a hug from dad at mile 16 and get a big smiling “Congratulations!!” Lars is faster than me and spent the whole race telling hikers on the trail to “ask the pretty girl with the long braid what that shiny thing on her finger is!” He even drew hearts in the dirt for me to find. I mean I really could not ask for anything more. No way.
(post-race, photo courtesy Takao Suzuki)
I spent the rest of the weekend with family, celebrating Mother’s Day, soaking up the love and joy I have felt from so many of you….it really is amazing to feel so supported. The sharing of this news with those we love is part of the process. It really would not be the same without the sharing.
I sit here on a beautifully sunny bluebird-sky day feeling extremely lucky. At times in my life I have not trusted feeling “happy”. Happiness seemed a dangerous, fleeting emotion – a surefire one-way ticket to disappointment, heartbreak, letdown. I am kicking that dumb philosophy to the curb and embracing this joy. This love. This sharing. What is life if not doing just that? Day after day after day.
sweaty, tired, ecstatic!!! 🙂