The day was December 23, 2013.
I had thought a lot about this day for a long time. I was nervous, scared, and endlessly excited. This was the day that I would ask my best friend, the love of my life, if she would be silly enough to spend the rest of her life with me.
A month earlier, I was standing on the deck of her parents house in the freezing cold trying to kick up the courage to ask her dad for permission. I finally did. He said he would think about it. What I didn’t know at the time was that he wanted to make sure that his daughter was happy and that I was the one for her. He is a small town, blue collar man of few words. If I am being honest, I didn’t know if he was keen to have his daughter spend the rest of her life with a Scottish Drag Queen. He gave me his blessing the next morning as I packed up the car.
On the big night, with ring in pocket, we made our way to our favourite winter spot, Butchart Gardens. An absolute Christmas wonderland.
I have never met anybody more excited for the Christmas season than my wife. This time of year has never really started until I hear her high pitched squeal of “IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!” the first time she sees festive lights. It is one of my favorite sounds in the world.
As we walked around the gardens, I kept trying to find a spot to pop the question, and anytime I thought I found one, we were always surrounded by hundreds of tourists.
As we got to the end of the tour, I asked if we could go back to the sunken gardens one more time. When we got there, my plan was to propose in the tiny house at the top, but as we walked around to the door I saw a path with nobody on it. We walked down the path and came to a lookout that has the best view in the entire place and not a soul around. I looked at her parents and then knew what was going to happen.
The rest is a blur of nerves and emotion. I asked her the question and she said ‘yes.’ We cried. We laughed. We shouted off the edge of the lookout “WE GOT ENGAGED!”
When I was just a little kid, my dad unexpectedly passed away a few days before Christmas. After that, Christmas was less about presents and more about family. For years it was just my mom and I, enjoying the lights, the music and the food. After my mom passed in 2011, I was alone, and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t ever have that feeling of family again.
I was wrong.
I married a woman who is more excited about the spirit of the holidays than anybody I have ever known, and who has always shown me that even if life has gotten you down, that the loving feeling of family is always … possible.