I last left off when I had moved to Kenosha and was really starting to find my groove there- I started my teaching job, had a cute apartment, and spent so much quality time getting to know Domenick more deeply in the context of our relationship. It became more and more apparent to me that he was “it.” I wanted to do everyday life with him everyday for the rest of my days.
We talked often and openly about our timeline- how his school would line up with my teaching, and where marriage would fit into all of it. We planned to get married before Domenick finished school (did I mention he went back into grad school after taking a semester off? Except this time when he went back, it was into a doctoral program in clinical psychology) despite people’s warnings of waiting until we had more money, freedom with his schedule, etc etc etc. One thing was always clear to us: we want to do life together. “Together” meant alongside each other, but we also understood it to mean “harder” and “less financially stable.” We took all of the negatives as the sacrifice to achieve our “together” and to us, it was worth it.
I had been awaiting a proposal all summer long, yet it never came. Domenick is pretty sly when he wants to be, and proposing was his favorite secret from me ever! We planned to take a retreat together the first week of October to Holy Hill. When the time came, Domenick picked me up from work on Friday afternoon and we drove straight to Holy Hill. I still remember him telling me on the way there, “Your ring got shipped to the wrong address. It was supposed to be here but it got sent to Florida to my grandpa’s apartment (for tax reasons he had previously mentioned to me) and he’s not there to get it right now.” Admittedly, I was sad upon hearing this and totally believed his sneaky lie!
We spent the whole weekend at the beautiful retreat grounds reflecting on our relationship together thus far. We finished reading and discussing a book we had been reading together called “Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married” by Gary Chapman (the Love Language guy!) which I highly recommend! We prayed, spent time unplugged with each other, and enjoyed the beautiful nature surrounding us. There is a chapel dedicated to St. Therese there, and her feast day was being celebrated that weekend. St. Therese has spoken to both Domenick and me in special ways throughout our relationship, and it was fitting that we were there on “her” weekend.
Sunday morning we got up, got dressed, and headed to Confession before going to Mass. I remember coming out of the confessional and Dom motioning me to follow him. Holy Hill has a beautiful tower with stairs you can climb to the scenic overlook. It was closed at this point because masses were going on. Still, somehow Domenick had managed to get it opened up just for us and was leading me up the many stairs. Once we got to the top, he started talking and I realized what was happening… he got down on his knees and I couldn’t see the ring through my tears 😉 We were alone in a beautifully special and sacred place, and it was perfect!
We eventually climbed down, went to mass, and then ate lunch. We didn’t tell anyone for about 3 hours, and it was such a special feeling knowing I had this big secret that only us knew about! We also spent time together before announcing it to everyone. We knew that we’d be talking to all of our “people” the rest of the day and night, and we really wanted to remember and relish in the moment and feeling together.
To read the story of our wedding day and the final post of this series, click here!