Will you marry me?

All my life I wanted to get married. I wanted to grow up, get married and have babies. The smooth talking, party boy college graduate in my parish’s Youth Group was not even on the radar. I knew I was definitely not his type.

Over the four years I knew Ken, I never once thought about dating him. Especially after he hired me to clean his house (the same house we currently live in). Perhaps the beer bottles and shot glasses that were strewn all over the living room should have been an indicator to me of life to come-only to be replaced by barbies, candy wrappers, and Legos. Lots and lots of Legos.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

When Ken broke up with his latest girlfriend and began flirting with me one warm September evening in the Large Hall at St. Nicholas, I didn’t know what to make of it. Why had we never gone out? I thought about the question he had asked me. Um, does he like me (all of a sudden)? Do I like him? Truth me told, I didn’t date much and I was just excited to be going to a nice dinner. I had no idea he was going to sweep me off my feet!

He brought me home from that first date and I closed and locked the door and looked in the mirror. “I could live like this for the rest of my life…” Yup-he was “the one”!

Within a month I knew he was going to propose as soon as he let me know, Steve, our future Best Man, was planning the bachelor party.

However, he had us on the two year plan. (Anyone else married to an accountant?) We were going to date for a year, get engaged, and then get married a year after that.

That plan got cut off by a few months. He just couldn’t resist surprising me on my 22nd birthday. I had strict orders to be home from breakfast with my best friend (I miss you, Haylee!!) by 10:00am. Soon after, the doorbell began to ring. First it was Ed delivering 22 roses-eleven red and eleven pink. Next, Steve showed up to hand me two black velvet dresses from Victoria’s Secret with directions to “pick one.” Ken was there shortly after with a fresh haircut, tuxedo and limousine. Let’s not forget the mixed tape of classic rock love songs he had spent the morning compiling.

Within a short time, our chauffeur had us safely dropped off at a park overlooking the ocean. We were then met by the guys who had successfully executed, “Operation Pop the Question,” with a table set up with champagne and glasses. I should have known something was up as soon as they gave us some privacy, video taping from a few yards away. However, Ken had me convinced this was all for my birthday. He was trying to make up for the low-key 21st birthday I spent with Haylee and Kelly watching, “The Little Mermaid.” (Still one of my favorite movies!)

So, when he bent down on one knee, I was totally BLOWN AWAY! This was it. This was the moment I had waited for all my life. This was the story I would tell my children and grandchildren. I was going to be a wife and subsequently, a mother. This is the story of the beginning of our family.

If you are old school, and still own a VCR, you could watch the tape but, honestly, all you’ll hear from it is me bawling.

So, here we are, thirty years and eleven kids later. Thirty wonderful years filled with:

Laughter, a wedding, babies, diapers, potty training, Mass, Rosary, First Saturday devotions, a remodel, Homeschooling, more babies, more diapers, USC football, flag football, soccer, car seats, 12 passenger van, driver training, eating out, game nights, dates with Dad, another remodel, another wedding,

And a lot, lot more laughter…

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