Monday, February 25, 2008

The Proposal

Hello, Friends!

Welcome to my blog, first of all. It's nice to have you here! I apologize for the sideways pictures. That's Ryan, and I'm not savvy enough with computers to know how to turn them right-side-up. In these pictures he's showing off his new hat that he got for Christmas. Can I just say- I like this guy a lot? :)

I've been promising everyone the story of Ryan's proposal, so I'm writing it here where I can add in all sorts of mushy details. :)

For those of you who don't know, last November I started dating one Ryan Roberts. He's in my ward. We'd had a few fun conversations over the summer, but he had a girlfriend and so we had both sortof looked past each other. Then, one day in October, we talked again and I discovered that he had broken up with said girlfriend, and, in one of the greatest miracles of my life, he started looking at me as someone to ask on a date.

Well, one thing led to another, and at the beginning of February he proposed. This is how it happened:

We are both quite busy, what with work and school, and neither of us is terribly good at planning dates. So on Thursday, we were sitting on the couch, trying to figure out what to do with our weekend. We finally settled on going to an early movie after I got home from work. "Then," he announced, "I want to go on a walk with you." I must admit, right there I figured he had something up his sleeve, because, while we have been on several walks before, who plans a walk a day in advance? But he'd said before that he wanted to date for several months before proposing to a girl, so I didn't let myself think that it was anything terribly serious.

Sadly, work that day went late. I called him after I had finished teaching my classes and we still had an entire barn to clean. I told him that the movie might not work, and he told me that we'd actually been invited to go play games with a couple of his married friends, instead. That sounded fun, so after I got home and cleaned up, we went to go see Nathan and Esther. The four of us just ended up talking in their living room for about an hour. It was nice. They were fun. They built a small rocket in their living room and we watched it go off a couple times. Engineers. Go figure. :)

As we left, Nathan reminded Ryan of a tarp he'd wanted to borrow. We all went down to Ryan's car and he pulled out the tarp for Nathan. I thought nothing of it, really. Boys borrow tarps, I guess. Anyway, we went back to the apartment complex for the long-awaited walk. We both made sure we had coats. (After all, it was 11:00 at night in the middle of winter!) And so, bundled up as we were, we went out on a walk we had been on a few times before. We went up close to the mountains, and wound down through some residential streets. I don't remember much of what we talked about that night, but the conversation was easy and friendly. As we reached the top of Seven Peaks Boulevard, we stood there for a moment looking at the mountains. "Shall we go on an adventure?" he asked. "Sure," was my witty reply.

We walked a grand total of ten steps through the snow and there, behind the cement pilings which denoted the end of the road was: the tarp. It was all folded up, and I was, admittedly, slightly confused. "Oh, look what we have here!" Ryan said, unsuccessfully acting surprised. He reached down and pulled a bouquet of flowers out of the tarp. He gave them to me, and I gushed and did the girly thing. It really was very sweet. I liked it. He asked me if the flowers were okay, and I said, "Yes, they're beautiful!" "I have one more question to ask you," he said. I looked up at him, and he asked, "Chelsea, will you marry me?"

Well, after telling myself so firmly that he was not going to ask me anytime soon, I must admit it took me off guard. I hugged him, but only replied, "I think so." I'm sure we kissed, but I must admit, I don't really remember at this point...

Anyway, we started walking back home, but twenty feet down the road, I sat down in the middle of the street. Can I tell you how wonderful he is? He came and sat right next to me. We sat there and just talked about things for a few minutes. I told him I was aware that I had not given him a straight answer, but I wanted a little time to think about it. He told me he understood, and he was completely okay with it. I'm not sure how long we would have stayed there, but our posteriors started to revolt against the cold asphalt, so we stood up and walked home, all the while talking about options and making small decisions like when we would like to get married. (We agreed that the sooner we could get married, the better.)

That night as we talked and prayed together in my apartment, I knew that I would agree to marry him. It felt right. But I still wanted some time to wrap my mind around it, so I didn't tell him at that point.

Okay, this next part requires some back story. I'm sure most people who read this already know that I work at Heritage Schools, which is a treatment center for troubled youth. I teach them how to ride horses and, though at times I complain about the way things are at work, I completely love what I do. And my favorite horse there is Elemeno. He is my baby, and has been from very shortly after we bought him. He's beautiful, and smart, and willing. I've spent hours and hours and hours working with, training, riding, feeding, caring for, and learning about that horse. We had many fun times together.

Well, on Christmas Eve last year, he was found laying down in his stall with his leg swollen from hip to hoof. We had no idea what had happened to him, but we took him to the vet, who gave us some antibiotics and other medications to give him. We did everything we could for him, but he just kept getting worse. He wouldn't put weight on that back leg, and the infection in his leg settled down near his hoof where it burst out of his skin. It was awful. It looked like his leg was rotting off. Along with the medications, we also had to wrap his leg to keep the exterior wounds clean. We took him to the vet several times, and on the last time, he came up with a new treatment. See, El couldn't put weight on his leg because there was scar tissue built up around his tendon which prevented it from stretching it the way it needed to. To fix that problem, we put him on painkillers, slathered his leg in something like Bengay and soaked it in hot water and epsom salts to loosen the tissue, and made him walk for 10-30 minutes every day. This treatment would essentially encourage him to put as much weight as possible on that foot and thus stretch it out in such a way that he would eventually be able to use his leg again.

Being his "mom", I had learned how to do all his medications and treatments. That Saturday, which was the day after Ryan had proposed and I had so nicely left things undecided, I went in to work. There were just two of us there that day; we didn't need many people there for the Saturday shift. I helped with barn chores for awhile, then did El's treatment. I had worked him pretty hard the day before, and he was understandably very sore, so as soon as I was done I took him to his stall to let him rest. A few minutes later, the other girl that was working with me told me that his bandage was coming off. I grabbed some tape and went to fix it. I opened his stall door to find him laying very peacefully on the ground. He seemed happy enough, but lying on the floor two feet away from him was his hoof. It had completely fallen away from his bone.

It was quite a shock to see it, actually. I walked away and told the other girl to go look at it. When she came back to the office, she said, "We have to put him down, Chelsea." I knew that, but facing the fact is awful. We called our boss, but couldn't get ahold of her. She had left for the weekend to celebrate her anniversary. We called in a couple of the other barn girls, and the vet, and I called Ryan. Of course I was crying when I called him. Poor guy, he had a tense few seconds there, before I told him why I was crying. He was very sympathetic, and offered to come in to see me. I told him no, and he told me to come over to his apartment when I got home.

The vet was really good. He helped me with El, who was so good. We had to load him into the trailer before we gave him the shot, otherwise we would have had a very hard time getting the body out of his stall later. He stood right up, and went looking for hay, and had a bright, healthy look in his eye. I asked him to load into the trailer, which he did. It was heroic, really, given that he only had three legs. He never balked, or resisted or tried to get away. He was confused when we asked him to turn around in the trailer. We'd never asked him to do that before. But he was willing and did his best. I stood there while the vet gave him the first shot, and I stayed until El lunged backward, which is a normal reaction to the drug. I saw his eyes start to glaze over, and couldn't stay any longer. I walked away and let the other barn girls deal with it. I was told later that it was good that I walked away, because it took him about ten minutes to die, and was hard to watch even for those who were not so attached to him.

I helped bring the other horses in for the night, then left the other barn chores for the other girls. I was emotionally exhausted. When I went home, I didn't bother to clean up. I went straight to Ryan's apartment, still dirty and smelly and with my face red from crying. Ryan just held me and let me cry and talk on his shoulder. He was so good to me.

When I could finally talk about other things, he told me that my roommates had mentioned to a few people in the ward that he had proposed, and that most of the ward probably knew already. I was glad that I'd known the night before that I was going to tell him yes, because I was in no condition to think about anything seriously at that point. "Well, then, we better make it official. Yes, I will marry you," was my reply. That time we did kiss, and then I cried some more.

So, the proposal itself was very sweet. The weekend in general was awful. But I'm so excited to marry him. Time is flying, but somehow not quite fast enough. We have a thousand things to do for the wedding, and all we want to do is be married.

Let's see... I suppose most people haven't really met him, so let me tell you a little bit about him. He's 23, going to BYU, and majoring in Electrical Engineering. He likes politics, and carving, and camping, and skiing. He loves to be outdoors, and has a decent seat when he rides horses and is looking forward to doing endurance rides with me after he builds me a barn and gets me some horses. He is kind and gentle and at the same time knows his opinions and holds to them regardless of peer pressure. We can wrestle and joke and plan and cook and read and do puzzles and walk and talk so well it's amazing. Somehow he says all the right things and asks all the right questions, simply because he is who he is. And he loves me. Remarkable as it is, he completely loves me.

So, we're getting married on April 25th in the Oakland Temple in California. We're having a reception in California that day, and then spending the next few days in Monterey. Spring classes start on Tuesday, so we'll be back for that. That Friday will be our second reception in Salt Lake, and the next day we will have our third reception in Idaho. Our colors are purple and yellow, which I never thought I would pick, but visions opened in my head, and everything clicked. It'll be fun, though, for a spring wedding in California.

Anyway, I'll try to post pictures of the wedding and festivities and all. I love you all, and hope you have enjoyed this story in my life. Keep in touch!