The day that Jeff and Terri called to give Joshua their blessing was a day of much rejoicing. We could all finally relax and know that this was going to happen (at least almost certain - Brittany had not given her "yes" yet). My Mom died just over two years ago and being her only daughter, I was given her wedding rings. Joshua is a very sentimental young man when it comes to things from the past history of the family. I also knew that Brittany was that way. I offered to let Joshua have my Mom's rings to use for their marriage. He took them to a couple of jewelers to see if they needed fixed at all and to have them cleaned. The engagement ring cleaned up really nicely. There were points that needed to be fixed on it. Joshua got the ring back in a nice little box. He was also trying to decide what was the best way to do the asking. One of his ideas was to write a short note stating the background information that he had been talking to her Dad and had received her parent's blessings. He would give one of her younger siblings the envelope and send them over to her with it. Once she opened it, he would walk over and get on his knee and ask. Michael and I went out and did some card shopping. We were trying to find very pretty feminine cards that were blank inside. By the way, that type of card is very hard to find. We did find several that might do and brought them home so that they would be an option for Joshua to use if he went with the note. In the end, he chose to not use a note.
They arrived at our house around 12:30PM on Friday. They had driven through the night. Some had slept and some had not. We had already decided that the first day was not going to be a good time to do anything. Joshua did want to ask her early in the week though. That would give them time to spend together talking over things and also talking with all the parents about plans. He decided that Saturday would be "The Day"!! We all got up and got breakfast going. Once everyone had eaten and we had cleaned up, we talked about going hiking. We all got our warm clothes on (it ended up being REALLY cold with the wind). I know I could feel something in the air. It was an excitement. I just knew that she had to know something was up. Terri and I were exchanging smiles. We all went out to get in the vehicles. Joshua came up to me and said, "It's up to you Mom. When we get to the pond, call everyone together for a picture." I patted his shoulder and assured him I would give him the cue. Most people would not have seen the nervousness in him. I saw his jaw working. I know the poor thing had huge butterflies inside. =)
We got to the park and everyone piled out. We went up to the map at the top of the trail. I was thinking flat trails, but I was looking down in all directions. =) We figured out which trail to take and headed off in that direction. The younger crowd went on ahead. The parents were bringing up the rear discussing what was coming up. Jeff thought that Brittany knew something was up. Part way there, she dropped back with one of her little brothers to walk more with us. We wondered if she had heard us all talking. We got to the pond and everyone was looking around. There was a bench and a couple of picnic tables. I thought once I got everyone together, we would take a couple of pictures and then he would go over to her and ask. I had my camera on auto for photographs, but it could easily be switched to video. I wanted to try and capture the moment on video. Joshua did not know this and it was probably a good thing. I called everyone to come over and told them I wanted a group picture in front of the pond. Joshua immediately looked at me, and headed for Brittany. Next thing you know he was down on his knee in front of her. It was the most precious thing. From the time he went down on his knee in front of her, she had eyes for no one but him. He told her that he had been talking and praying with her Dad and that he had the blessings of the four parents to ask for her hand in marriage. He then asked her to marry him as he opened the ring box. She looked over at her Dad to make sure of the situation. I don't know if he nodded or what, but he was crying. She looked back at Joshua and said yes. She started taking off her gloves and her Dad asked if she wanted him to hold her camera. She never heard him. =) She went to put her camera and gloves down and her Dad reached out and took them. After Joshua put the ring on her finger, he told her that it had been his Grandma's.
The moment was so joyous and so full. It is hard to describe. It was so right. The two families were all there together. Her younger siblings got to see how it is supposed to work. They got to see the joy and the laughter and the hugs and the blessings. We have already started referring to each other as family. Not just as us getting a beautiful, precious Daughter-in-love, but as two families now being one big family. It was the cement on what God started between the two families all those years ago. She has always called me Ant Marci. (I really do mean Ant and not Aunt. Her Mom is from New England and they say Aunt in a very peculiar way. =) I told her that I am not that stuffy, I am from the South and I am an Ant. I was informed that ants crawl on the ground. That is fine with me. ) I asked her what she is going to call me now. We still have not decided that. The love was already there, it just got fuller. We all stood around talking, taking pictures and asking questions. Brittany truly had NO IDEA that anything was up. I asked her what she thought about all the long whispered conversations on the phone her parents had back in their bathroom. =) When you have a houseful, you have to go to extremes. She did not even realize they had taken place. Her Dad asked her what she thought when she would walk in the room and he would put his arms up over the computer screen because he was writing to Joshua. She thought he was working on Christmas presents. =)
We all left the park and headed home after a couple of errands. We wanted to prepare for the celebration dinner and the Cup Ceremony. My favorite colors are blue and white. So are Brittany's. My good dishes are blue and white. I really didn't have any glasses to go with them. I had been looking for awhile and about a month before they came I found some I really liked and bought them. I washed them and saved them to be used for the first time at this dinner. I wanted to get a table cloth, but had not found one. Joshua had requested that I serve lasagna, salad and garlic bread.
Michael, Terri and I started making the dinner. Jeff, Michael and Joshua went into another room to discuss the cup ceremony. The girls helped to set the table. We were going to eat by candle and lamp light, so there were wicks to be trimmed, etc. We knew that we wanted a cup ceremony as did Jeff and Terri. I was trying to think of details that could make the day more special or memorable. My parents had received a set of goblets for their wedding. I believe there are six of them. Michael and I used two of them at our wedding. My Mom had told me that one day they would be mine. I called and talked to my Dad and asked if he would send one of those goblets to be used for this ceremony. He sent me two. They are beautiful and so full of rich memories. I kept thinking how much I would have liked to call and share details with my Mom.
All the food was ready and the candles and lamps were lit. We turned out the electric lights and all sat down at the table. Jeff took the cup and explained what was going on to the younger children. As the bride's father, he was to drink from the cup first. If he did drink from the cup, it was saying that the bride price had been paid and was acceptable. Before he drank, he explained that the bride price was for Joshua to promise to love and cherish his daughter. To provide for her and protect her. He felt he had that promise and passed the cup to Michael. Michael explained that the cup was used throughout the Bible. He mentioned the one place where in the Garden of Gethsamane that Jesus prayed that the cup be taken from Him, yet not His will, but His Father's will was to be done. For Michael to drink from the cup was to show his approval of the bride for his son. He shared that he whole heartedly approved of Brittany. He drank from the cup and passed it to Joshua. For Joshua to drink from the cup was to show his commitment to the marriage and to offer it to Brittany. He drank from the cup and passed it to Brittany. For her to drink, meant she approved and accepted his proposal and was the last seal to make the betrothal legally binding in both families eyes. There can be no breaking off of this relationship from now until death parts them.
We gave each of them a card (we had a little flashlight to read by) congratulating them. We had picked the cards out when we were looking for the cards I mentioned above. They were serious cards sharing our hearts with them. However, we had also found another card that Michael bought for Joshua. One of Joshua's favorite movies is The Princess Bride. For those of you who have seen it, you will already know what the card says inside before I even tell you. Here is a picture of the front of the card. It says, "This thing that you've accomplished isn't merely unbelievable... it's far beyond amazing - it's just downright..."
When you open up the card, it has a sound clip of this particular character in the movie saying "Inconceivable"!! Everyone laughed and we got down to the business of eating.
The parents have set up some guidelines for the betrothal, but again we are feeling our way through this thing. If you have other questions or comments fire away and we will answer what we can.