The greatest decision I ever made was saying an enthusiastic, "Yes!!!," when my hub asked THE question just over 10 years ago.
But let me back up.
We started "officially" dating on June 16, 2002. As I have mentioned in a previous post, this, coincidentally...or NOT (if you ask me)...just so happened to be the anniversary of my Dad's death.
Two weeks later, that's right, TWO weeks, my hub and I were walking around the Botanical Gardens in Clemson, when he took me to this beautiful swing overlooking the gardens, and said, "I love you" for the first time. You see, I was leaving soon for the summer to work at a camp for extremely troubled children in Windser, New Hampshire, and he wanted to make sure I knew how he felt. I did. Because I felt exactly the same way.
In a crazy turn of events, he ended up living in New Hampshire, and working alongside me, at the 24-hours-day, 7-days-a-week, camp. That's true love, I tell ya. It's also where our love story really took off. But that's a story for another time, another day.
After our summer in New Hampshire, we returned to Clemson to finish out our Senior years. I graduated in May (my hub, very smart but also a Clemson transfer, would graduate 6 months later). My hub, the thoughtful man that he is, gave me the most extraordinary gift: he hired an artist to paint "our swing" in the Clemson Botanical Gardens. He had it matted and framed and presented it to me the day I graduated: May 9, 2003 (which just so happened to be his birthday).
The next month, on June 15, 2003 (one day early from our one-year anniversary), he proposed to me at "our swing." I said, "Yes!"
Now, let's fast forward, 10 years and 1 week later. To this past Sunday, to be exact. My hub informed me two days prior to keep Sunday afternoon open because he had a surprise for me. Sunday, while our kids were napping, he ran some errands, refusing to tell me what they entailed. After returning home, he secretly packed up the car, including both dress clothes and pajamas for the kids, and told me I needed to put on something nice but comfortable. Hmpf. The ideas I had envisioned about what the surprise could be (White water rafting? An afternoon at Carowinds? A trip to a local ranch?) just didn't fit with the dress code. I was stumped.
But a little over two hours later, I would realize where we were going, as we pulled up to our alma mater, and more specifically, to the Botanical Gardens, and even more specifically, to the exact swing where we said "I love you" and were engaged. I would also learn that he had hired a professional photographer to come take some family photos, as well as photos of just the two of us, on our swing and around the gardens.
I cannot begin to describe how special it was, sitting in our swing, with our little family. Seeing the two little loves of our lives, that we created, swinging alongside us and running around the gardens. It was awesome.
After the photo shoot, we drove around campus, reminiscing about our days at Clemson, before heading to Bowman Field, where my sweet hub promptly laid out a blanket and the picnic he had prepared, complete with wine, cheese, fruit, chicken, salmon, and bread. We munched on the goodies, sipped wine, and watched our babies run around the large field we used to walk across every day to go to class. Seeing all of it unfold was just so special.
As the sun began to set, we changed our babies into their pajamas and loaded everything back up before beginning the drive back home. It was an afternoon I will never forget.
This week, my hub and I will celebrate 9 years of marriage. He is, without about, my best decision, my best friend, my best life partner.
He is my best yes.