Before I get started, I wanted to say that I had the most wonderful anniversary E.V.E.R! Richard spoiled me beyond all reason ;) But I wanted to finish writing our story before writing about what we did because the special surprise date he planned for us will mean more after you read the last parts to our story!
Part 4: The "M" Word
Things were going amazingly. Perfect. Wonderful. We spent every moment we could together, only except the time he was at work. When we weren't together because it was past my curfew, we talked on the phone until the sun came up.
On May 30th, 27 days after our first date, and 17 days after we were officially boyfriend & girlfriend, while we were standing outside my house "saying" good-bye after a date, just like every other day we hung out, 3 words came out of Richards mouth that made this a day to go down in history. As usual we were hugging (and kissing...haha) and he gently whispered "I love you McKenna" in my ear. As I heard those special words my heart melted and I said what I felt stronger than anything else: "I love you too". I remember looking up at the beautiful stars that night as we held each other outside of his car thanking my Heavenly Father for bringing him into my life.
After that night, he met all of my wildest dreams. A month after our first date, I woke up and decided to check the mail after breakfast. I was delighted to find a bouquet of beautiful wildflowers and a handwritten note that said "McKenna--I just wanted to tell you that I love you. Have a wonderful day. --Richard. P.S. It's been the best month :)" I would find little and long love notes everywhere. He would give them to me or I would find them hidden as I went through out my day. When we weren't talking because both of us were at work, we would send text messages back and forth about how much we cared about each other. We spent many hours sitting on the cliffs of a beautiful beach near our houses talking about our futures, learning everything we could about each other and our dreams. Of course a couple times we talked about our future spouses and both of us envisioned the other person, but we were too nervous to say anything. We talked about our strong feelings and how much we adored each other. But we were too nervous to utter the "M" word in fear the other person didn't feel the same way. Our days were filled with each other, learning everything we could and relishing in each others company.
One day, I had an incredible experience I will never forget. I was cleaning out my room with my mom and I came upon a list of things I wanted in my future spouse. I had written it after I stopped dating the last guy that I dated at college (and the last guy I seriously dated before Richard). It a serious list of things that I needed and things that I wanted. I started reading it out loud to my mom and after each one I would say "Richard has that". After I finished reading the list, I had tears running down my face. He was exactly what I wanted, exactly what I needed and everything I dreamed of. Literally. There wasn't one thing he didn't have that I had written down. I looked up to see that tears weren't just running down my face. My dear mother realized that her daughter had met the man of her dreams.
Our talks about our futures quickly began to align and included the same things. One day as we ate at the only Chinese restuarant in town, we talked about where we saw ourselves in 5 years and we both invisioned being married. To each other. But we were too nervous to say it out loud. After our lunch we walked down the beach, still talking our future and I remember Richard disgribing his future wife and how much he would love her, how he would adore her and make all of her dreams come true. He talked so lovingly, so sweet and so tender about his future wife and I wished with all of my heart and soul that I could be that woman. Little did I know that same wish was dancing through his head at the same time. We kept walking and came to a little waterfall that was cascading off the cliffs, but was hidden behind bushes and trees. We climbed the cliff, behind the trees and bushes to the waterfall and played in it like 2 childhood best friends. It was a special moment for me because I realized all that he was to me. He was THE love of my life, but he was the best friend that I had been searching for my whole life.
A couple days after our 1 month anniversary, we were at the seminary graduation for the year that was graduating (it was the year behind me in high school...haha) and they asked us to say the opening and closing prayer. After the graduation while everyone was enjoying refreshments, a man from our ward came to talk to us. I left to get some more dessert and after I left he said to Richard, "they had you say the prayers like you are already a married couple. When is that going to happen?" I came back to join the conversation un-aware of the question that was asked that really made Richard think. That night he told me of what the man said and then we talked about his question. "When is that going to happen?" We finally said the "M" word quietly and sheepishly, to find out to our utter excitement that the other person felt the same way. Then just as quietly as he could, Richard whispered, "if I asked you to be my wife, what would you say?" and as my heart beated faster than I ever have felt before, I said "I would say yes, of course". The elusive "M" word that we were too afraid to utter had now become our future. We realized that we needed to get more comfortable saying it, because it was something we were going to say a lot more of. After I told my parents about this conversation after he left while I was having a near panic attack and hyperventilating from excitement, my mom decided it was time to buy "how to plan and execute a wedding" book. It was happening and because I was the oldest, she had no idea what she was doing. It was time to invest in planning, because the "M" word had officially been said.
This hit me so hard one Sunday. We went back to my home ward, that we had moved from when I was a senior, for the homecoming of my best friends brother. We had picked out a ring, bought it and were waiting for it to get sized. I knew that an "official" proposal was coming very soon because my wedding ring had been paid for, but I didn't know when. As we were introducing him in Sunday school, I said, "This is Richard..." and my heart started to beat so fast as my Dad said "tell everyone who he really is." and I finished with a very red face as I realized how my dreams were in fact coming true, "This is Richard. He is my fiance". Everyone gasped and I heard excited mutterings. I looked at him and we both giggled with pure excitement. My best friends older brother came to us after Sunday school to congratulate us and in noticing I had no ring he said to Richard, "you better make that official, fast".
As we were still waiting for the ring to be sized, we decided to look at apartments. I was too excited to not look at little apartments where I would be the wife to the man of my dreams. We walked through an apartment above the garage of someone in the town and we explained to them that we were getting married soon but forgot to mention the part about not being officially engaged yet. A couple days later we had a ward talent show and we decided to sing "Be Still my Soul" while Richard played the guitar. After we were done a couple of the families from our ward approached us and with all the excitement they could muster (of course they tried to hold it back to not come across crazy) told us how excited they were we were getting married! Flabbergasted Richard and I looked at each other. How did they find out?! We hadn't told anyone but our parents yet! Apparently, the family that owned the little apartment were good friends with these families and told them that we were looking for apartments. We laughed about it but were happy that others were so excited for us.
A couple days later, on June 15th, I woke up to a text from Richard. He told me that I had to text or call him anytime I went anywhere. I should have been scared by this, but I thought it was so cute :) Later that day he called to see if I wanted to go on a date with him and just like I did on our first date less than 1 1/2 months earlier I said "Of course!" The time when he was supposed to pick me up came and went and as I waited for him to come pick me up I wrote in my journal "Richard and I are supposed to go on a date but he is late! I wonder if today is the day....."
To be continued