March 2, 2011

Five years and counting...

This past weekend was a special one for the gentleman friend and I.  You see, one bitterly cold Monday in late February, 2006, I flew to Chicago and, in true Chicago fashion, was made an offer I couldn't refuse.  Quell your Untouchables fantasy, my friend; that's another story for another day.  Rather, mon amour Eric asked for my hand in exchange for his heart.  (Gladly and thankfully, we each gave the rest of us, too, five months later.)  Sunday last was to mark five years since that day, so E and I decided to spend the whole weekend celebrating.

After a jazzy Friday evening out, we spent a sleepy Saturday morning in.  It was a perfectly snowy morn, so we spent it with coffee in hand and sighs escaping our refreshed lips.  Not wanting to waste that perfect snow, though, we set out in the early afternoon for a Classic Chicago Date: Millennium Park's Ice-Skating Rink, which was a first for us!  I started to hem and haw about the weather a bit when the perfect snow turned into questionable pellets, but we went forward with our plan anyway and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon on ice.

I realized after the fact that ice-skating kind of reminded me of our marriage.  Eric and I were not exactly natural on the ice together.  Sure, once I took off on my own, I was fine.  But getting into a rhythm together -- having to move forward in such a way that one wouldn't trip up the other -- was challenging, honestly.  We had to support each other, even suffer a few falls before we got the hang of it (and after we got a little full of ourselves), but still, we laughed (with one another) a lot.  The hippity-happy sixties and seventies music didn't hurt, either.  :)

Before leaving Millennium Park, we hopped on over to The Bean (er... Cloudgate... right.) for a few fun, albeit cloudy, shots:

After a few hours in this part of town, the sun (well, what was left of its rays, many of which got lost on their way through the cloudy Chicago skies) began bidding us good evening and called us on to other places.  One place we'd had in mind to visit was our bench.  The one just east of the sidewalk that passes through Jane Addams park on the Ohio Street Beach.  The one that has such a brilliant view of Lake Michigan and this amazing city, all in the turn of one's head.  That's the one.  That's where all the magic happened those five years ago, and we wanted a small taste of its magic once more.

After a while of reminiscing over the past and dreaming of the future, I finally decided that my fingers were cold enough and I was ready to start that long, lovely walk home.  To my complete surprise, Eric replied, "Oh, but there's one more thing..." and then, reaching into the camera bag, just like he did five years ago, he pulled out a box that had been hiding away inside, all along, and showed me this, a lovely new companion for my cold fingers:

Needless to say, I was in total shock!  My left ring finger has worn a precious symbol of Eric's heart in my hand for five years, and I certainly wasn't expecting another.  But you see, the ring he gave me five years ago had years of history already behind it.  It belonged to his mother, who passed it along to him for me, a beautiful sign to me of her blessing on our marriage.  For five years I have treasured that ring more than any other earthly thing, but still, somewhere in the deep, secret places of my heart, I hoped to someday wear something that my love had picked out specifically and only for me.  The breath caught in my chest when I realized that this secret longing was coming true.

After breathing deeply to prevent the hyperventilation my surprised gasp might have begun, and while taking in a few more breathtaking views from and around our bench, we made our way to the next destination down memory lane...

Panang is the Thai restaurant where we, happy but poor, ate our first meal together as an engaged couple.  (I can't wait to tell you about our very first date meal.  All I can say now is, the mafia was involved.  Yes, I wasn't kidding.  Another story for another day...)  After some delicious stirfry, we headed home.  Well, actually, we went to Homegoods.  E was actually in a good enough mood to admit that he wouldn't mind shopping, so -- knowing well our need for new sheets and a meat thermometer -- I gave superficial romance a suckerpunch and took advantage of love in its purest form: self-sacrifice.  I love my husband. 

The weekend rounded out beautifully with a restful Sunday, the best kind.  I had some time to reflect on how truly blessed I've been these five years, and took in every moment of it.  It's so easy to take someone for granted, you know?  I hope never to, while I know there will be times I do.  But oh, how I love him.  Beautiful rings don't remind me of that.  A gentle, patient, kind husband whose hands and words demonstrate every day what his heart believes and knows and feels: that's what reminds me that our love is rooted in something much deeper than we can even perceive.  And oh, if five years can be so, so good, I can't wait to see what "happily ever after" brings...


  1. I love this, Carrie!!! What a beautiful, precious ring!!! And a wonderful way to celebrate five years...the whole day looked and sounded enchanting. I'm happy for you both!

    P.S. I absolutely love the second "bean" picture--the winter fog made it unique from all the million other bean pictures that are taken, fun though they all may be:)And aside from being unique, it's just super cute :)

  2. tears....

    how sweet and precious!! congratulations!

  3. Your ring is GORGEOUS, Carrie! Congratulations. I loved all the pictures too. And your boots, funnily enough. They are super cute!

  4. Dang it Carrie, you've gone and made me cry again! Beautiful story, and I absolutely love the pictures. Your new ring is gorgeous, and I also can't wait to hear this mafia story. =)

  5. Carrie, What a beautiful story, pictures and ring! I'm so happy for you and Eric! You're such a precious couple!

  6. Aww, that's really sweet! Congratulations! And great pictures.

    Lou and I just yesterday celebrated the third anniversary of our own engagement, so I can totally sympathize with pretty much everything you said. Except for the part about the Mafia. That hasn't turned up in our experience... :)

  7. Yay, just yay. Thanks for sharing your lovely day with us!

  8. What a wonderful way to celebrate! Thanks for sharing your special day with us through pictures and words. Such a beautiful ring, too! Good job, Eric. :) Here's to many more years with our wonderful husbands! I never realized we shared *almost* the same engagement day. Too cool. :)

  9. This is so precious. Reminds me of Dave and I. We would retrace our steps every Valentine's Day on the anniversary of our engagement...until we moved away. I think it is a wonderful way to celebrate the gift of the years and the heart connection!

    Beautiful ring. E did good! ;-)

  10. What a wonderful, beautiful, sweet post. Congratulations to the both of you! May God continuously shower His blessings upon your lives.


  11. Thank you, all of you beautiful ladies, for your sweet words and congratulatory remarks!!! I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures and story... It's so satisfying to have some friends out there to share this with. :)