This week, I continue the stories of the miracles in the lives of Brian and Angie. Two weeks ago, I spoke of how we would first meet. Last week, I outlined how our relationship developed. This week, I will detail Brian’s proposal and our wedding.
We left off with me in Denver, working for Lockheed Martin and Brian in Chicago working for Caterpillar. My time in Denver was crucial for my growth, my confidence and my soul-searching. It was here that I truly realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Brian in a healthy way, not the co-dependant-save-me-from-this-town way, rather the I-am-better-because-of-you way. I didn’t care where his job would take him. I wanted to be with him, have a family with him and grow old with him. We continued our long distance relationship for almost a year. Well, 8-1/2 months actually, but I don’t keep track of unimportant details like that. There were many occasions in which I thought a proposal was appropriate, but every time we would have our monthly rendezvous, I would do the walk of shame into the office that Monday with MANY inquisitive glances at my left hand. I wanted to be with Brian, but quite frankly, this non-committal weekend jet-setting was getting old….and ….expensive. Brian still does not understand this concept – I want to be with you for the rest of my life, but I am not willing to wait around much longer. He is SO MALE!
July 4, 1996, Brian and I went to a concert at Red Rocks amphitheatre –one of the best outdoor venues in the country. It was Blues Traveler and it was awesome. We sat up high enough to see the fireworks in the distance over the geologically natural rock stage as the band kept the tempo lively American and John Popper jammed on his harmonica. Brian’s plan was to propose to me that night – under the stars, watching live music (one of our favorite pastimes) with fireworks in the distance. One big problem – I had WAAAAYYYY too much to drink. Not my finest hour. He kept the ring in his pocket all night; paranoid of being pick pocketed by the concert crowd and watched his intended fiancée foil his plans. He had the discernment to wait. The next day, we donned our roller blades and journeyed down the Platte River trail to the Cherry Creek trail for a full day outing. The weather was amazing – hot crisp July sun, joggers, walkers, bikers and roller-bladers sharing the trail smiling knowingly at each other delighting in the splendor of the day. Then in rolled the afternoon thunderstorms. We sought shelter under a local Chevy’s outdoor veranda for a margarita and some chips and salsa enjoying the electric display dancing across the sky. Eventually, we made our way back to my apartment. I was busily doing laundry and prepping my apartment for my parents’ visit the next day. Brian was on the
3X6 concrete balcony veranda asking me to join him watch the sunset. “Just a sec,” I brushed off his request. “Hey, bring your wine, too,” he told me. Finally, I stopped cleaning up, grabbed my champagne glass (full of uber-sweet Asti Spumante – we were 24 year old beer drinkers normally, so nothing but the finest for us), and walked straight into the closed screen door spilling half my beverage down my shirt. Holding back his laughter, Brian asked me to marry him at my apartment on July 5, 1996 at 8:30 pm. I said yes at 8:30:07pm.
I joke that while in Denver I became completely irresistible so Brian proposed with a huge rock to snatch me up before anyone else could. But that sounds so caddy and inappropriate, so I won’t say that here. In reality, Brian had ensured he paid the ring in full before proposing.
After informing our families and deciding on a St. Louis location, we set a date for April 19, 1997. There were so many blessings associated with our wedding. I am fortunate enough to have amazing parents who paid for nearly the entire wedding. Brian and I were both Catholic with very large families and we had a HUGE wedding. We had 5 bridesmaids and groomsmen, 2 candle-lighters, 1 jr. bridesmaid and jr. groomsman, 1 flower girl and ring bearer, and 3 ushers, making it just short of ridiculous. Since it was MY wedding, it was not ridiculous. During our engagement, Brian was transferred back to Peoria for a 6-month assignment before his first field assignment. This was a Godsend because he was able to live with his parents for a few months, saving enough money to pay cash for our honeymoon and for a sizable down payment for a house – wherever that may be.
Five months prior to our wedding day, Brian’s dad, Ed, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. He had surgery followed by a series of interferon treatments. The interferon made Ed very ill and fatigued. He was able to take a small break from treatments during our wedding time and had plenty of energy and Ed-good-cheer for the event. A week before our wedding, Brian’s mom, Jan, suffered from a spider bite causing a strange rash and swelling infecting half her face. She had to sleep upright up for the infection to work its way out of her bloodstream. It was gone by the wedding day. 10 days before our April wedding, there was an unusual cold spell in the Midwest dumping over a foot of snow in Illinois and Missouri. The night of our rehearsal dinner (the best ever at Mike Shannon’s across from Busch Stadium – Go Cards!) there was a major thunderstorm dumping hail and inches of rain on the city. The day of our wedding, the air was crisp with all the signs of Spring – tulips, green grass, abundant sunshine, and a fantastic 70 degrees. It was a day kissed by angels. Here are some pictures. Notice my enormous veil & puffy-sleeved princess-dress that I loved, still love and would pick out again today (maybe)
our quaint little wedding party
All during our engagement while Brian was in Peoria, IL and I in Denver, we knew Brian would be transferred to his first field assignment shortly after our wedding. We did not know where this would be. There were MANY options all over the country. Brian, naturally, lobbied for any Denver location, but there could be no guarantees – it would be dependant on availability and Brian’s skill set compatibility. Once again, God shined upon us providing an opportunity in Denver opening in May 1997. In early March, Brian was told he was assigned to the location. It was such a blessing. He traveled to Denver on company-paid trips for house-hunting and training. I could keep my well-paid job at the company I loved doing what I enjoyed for the time being – 3 years or so was our guess. 3 years seemed like a nice time to stay career-oriented until we started a family. Brian would move into my apartment the week after our honeymoon and we would close on our house the end of May. It was the perfect beginning to our fairy tale.
So we thought.
Brian is diagnosed
If you want to read other miracles this Monday, visit Beth at A Mom's Life.