Going To The Chapel, Gonna Get...

I think it's fair to say the last two and half, maybe three years have been the best of my adult life. There are several reasons why I say that.  

My relationship with my daughter continues to grow in a positive direction. I feel like we become closer each month. We talk openly about so many things, and she is really growing into a mature, beautiful young woman. She was selected twice this past year for character awards at school, is on the A/B honor roll, loves her scary movies and books, and hanging out with her family. Rage Against The Machine came on the radio the other day, and being a fan I blasted it. Laney was curious about them, probably because of the energy in the music, so when we got home I showed her their Live at the Grand Olympic Ballroom show on DVD. What started out as a conversation about live music and energy, and showing her how utterly crazy their fans get, (without question the craziest concert I've ever been to) turned into her asking questions about why there was so much anger in their music. That led to a conversation about communism, socialism, social injustices, anarchy, and some of the causes that Rage supports like Mumia Abdul Jabal, and Leonard Peltier. I was pretty much explaining what they believed in, and where they stood on issues based on their music. After a few minutes I asked her what she thought. She said something like, "I think it's good that they are able to say what they want and that they believe in some of those things, but I don't agree with all of them." She's about to turn twelve. What a freaking cool kid. I'm lucky to be her father.

I was promoted to Lieutenant with the Sheriffs Office in late 2015. There were several guys that were being considered for the same position that had more time than me, and overall experience. But they picked me. It was a great honor. And, that promotion took a huge burden off my back. Being the Staff Sergeant on a patrol shift is a good position but it can be taxing. I liked my old Lieutenant a lot, he's a hilarious guy whose fun to work with, but I disagreed with his leadership style. And in a para-military structure, it really doesn't matter how much I disagreed with him. It was my job to make his job easy, and run things the way he wants them run. Getting promoted to Lieutenant is a pretty big responsibility. I'm responsible for pretty much all the law enforcement operations in a county of 140,000 residents. But, now I run things how I want to run them. I can choose my leadership style. And the position opens my career up for more advancement and other long term options.

And I got published. That was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I was told no more times than I can count and it's hard to be confident in your writing when nobody will give you a chance. But, finally, an independent publisher gave me one and the book surpassed all expectations. Hell, the damn thing sold another copy last week! Almost a year and half after the publication date.

There was only one thing lacking in my life. And that was a partner to share it with. And trust me, I knew that.

I was resigning myself that maybe I wasn't meant to be with one person. Or maybe my standards were too high. I'd often tell myself that I needed to focus on my daughter first anyway. If I brooded on about it, I'd remind myself that the bachelor life isn't so bad, which really wasn't. 

But I never really stopped looking for someone. I was in a few relationships over the beginning of the last few years, but nothing that ever materialized. I went on plenty of first dates.

Then I met Christina on an online dating site and we started messaging back and forth. This went on for a few weeks, and she finally messaged me, "I know this is weird but are we ever going to actually meet?" So we planned a first date and I asked if she wanted to exchange phone numbers. We were using Facebook messenger to talk back and forth. She didn't and I thought that was weird. The night before our first date I was actually considering bailing out because of a writers group I used to go to. The only reason I didn't cancel, the night before Christina and I were messaging back and forth and she totally cracked me up.

So I texted my friend Brad, Christina's information and where I was meeting her in case she turned into a serial killer and drove to Statesboro. When she walked out of that little house in a black V-neck t-shirt and blue jeans I said to myself, "You're in trouble." She has this great walk, on the balls of her feet and she was just strikingly beautiful. That's what I first thought. I'd seen plenty of pictures, but I knew the first time I saw her, she was special.

Before we knew it, we were exclusive and talking about moving in together. We've talked about this, and no doubt things moved fast between us, but there's a reason for that. We both knew what we wanted, and I think we both recognized that we each had what the other person needed to make a relationship work.

Our relationship has been so different than any other relationship I've ever been in. I recognize that and I think she does as well. We talked about marriage but never set a date. I told her I wanted to do it in Vegas, or maybe on a cruise. She eventually moved in and things have just been awesome. She's formed a great relationship with Laney, and is a great role model for her as well. There really isn't any reason we shouldn't already be married.    

But, to be honest, Christina has and continues to make the first moves probably because I need a little prodding sometimes. Like when she messaged me about actually meeting for a date, I wonder if I would have been content to converse with her back and forth and never actually asking her out. And, while we aren't a traditional couple by any means, I should have taken charge and done a proper proposal. We talked back and forth about marriage but I never dropped to a knee and did what a man should do.

Then we had a fight. And it was a pretty nasty one at that. Brad, the same guy I gave Christina's information to in case she turned out to be a serial killer asked how we were doing that night. I told him I didn't know if, we as a couple, were going to survive. For the first time in our relationship I had some doubts, and that scared the ever living shit out of me.

Thankfully, we resolved it. I'm grateful for the morning we made up every damn day, and will be for the rest of my life.

I hate the thought of living without her being in my life.

Either way, the argument led us to a date. We're planning to marry on August 4th. Although, we aren't going to the Chapel, we're going to the courthouse. (And how did I just now hear that the magistrate court does free weddings on Thursdays? We could've chosen August 3rd!) But, there is still one thing for me to do. I know we've talked about it, and are planning it, but I still haven't done a proper proposal. So here goes:

Christina, thank you for being a part of my life. I've fallen in love with you for so many reasons. The first time I looked into your deep brown eyes I knew you were going to be special. The way you touch me, the way you hold my hand, the way you rub my shoulder in the morning, I don't know how I could live without it. You're so expressive with how you touch me, even if we're sleeping, it means so much. 

You're so damn smart it scares me sometimes. You're ability to retain information, how fast you read, and how your knowledgeable on so many subjects is amazing. You can landscape, install a new kitchen sink, fix a computer, and help Laney with her math homework in the same damn day. Amazing.  

You're strikingly beautiful. From the way you walk, to your amazing laugh, to your infectious smile. I'm so damn lucky to stand next to someone as beautiful as you. Your eyes, they are the deepest dark brown eyes I've every seen. Strikingly beautiful, that's how I'll always describe you.

You're so amazing with Laney, and you're an awesome mom as well. The way you've slowly become a role model to Laney means so much to me. I love watching her watch you, and ask you questions. Thank you for setting a great example.

Before I met you I was getting pretty jaded about finding a life partner, Christina. Now, I can't imagine a life without you. I want to be there for you when times are hard. I want to be there for you when times are almost devastating. I want to be there for you when things are scary. I want the good times as well, but I know what I'm asking and I'm asking for the hard times as well.

I want to love and support you. I want you chase dreams with you. I want to see the world with you. I want to live out my days with you.

I want to be more than your husband. I want to be your soulmate.

If you'll have me, I'd like to marry you. I know we both have a past that is separate from "us." But, I'd like my future to only be us.

Will you marry me?