**warning- sappy, mushy and long. But it's not for you. It's for my future babies. So proceed at your own risk :)**
A little over 14 months ago, Ross and I met at the Gift of Grace House for what would become our first, non-official date. I had met him a week before and spouted off (surprise surprise) about my patients and the Missionaries of Charity. He emailed me a few days later asking about doing a service project for his Bible Study there. We had what would be the first of countless weekend breakfasts at Ria's Blue Bird and headed to the Gift of Grace. And from day one I was smitten. So was Sr. Brunetta. She told me, "Keri, if you do not marry this boy, you must wear my habit." And while I adore those blue and white garments these sweet nuns wear, I am happy to say, I will NOT BE WEARING ANY NUN'S HABIT!!!
Sweet Ross proposed this weekend. And I feel like I've lived 3 years in 3 days. So, for our future children~here's the dirt. For months we'd planned a weekend away with one of my oldest friends, Elizabeth Cone Katz and her husband Ryan. And for months, I'd been waiting on Ross to ask. A week before he asked, his brother asked us to be the Godparents for baby Joseph. I was humbled and excited but felt a little awkward. And in true Keri fashion, I let my feelings be known. "How weird will it be if the Godmother is the GIRLFRIEND of the Godfather?" "I'm happy to be treated like a member of your family but I'm NOT a member of your family." Insert fingernails on a chalkboard for Ross. In what can only be described as a Holy Spirit induced patience, He kept the ring safely hidden and did not throw it me!
So we head to the mountains knowing that the Katz's are running late because of Ryan's work. In classic Ross fashion, the minute we got to our cabin he wanted to go explore. No surprise here at all. Nature=unequivocal happiness for Ross. So I finished chopping vegetables and we went exploring. We trespassed through a few pieces of property and found our way up a steep part of the mountain. As I was regaining oxygen from the climb, Ross bent down to tie his shoe and turned around holding the ring. To recapture what I felt, here's a little stream of consciouness of what I was thinking...' cover your mouth while screaming so he doesn't see your big teeth and mouth wide open'... 'oh my Gosh. This is it. Seriously, this is it??'... 'Holy CRAP It's gorgeous'... 'My mother is going to DIE!' '...Hug the boy...hug HIM...OH MY GOSH...
Okay that's what I can immediately remember. I snatched the ring out of his hand, not even letting him put in on there. And on the most gorgeous day we've seen in months, with 75 degree temperatures, with the mountains as our backdrop, with the most amazing man I could have ever dreamed up for myself, I became engaged to be Mrs. Ninness. Whoa- that sounds funny.
We climbed down the mountain back to the cabin. I realize now how lucky I was not to roll down the side of the mountain because I was certainly looking at my left hand and NOT where I was going. Anyway...Ryan and Elizabeth arrived with champagne, "because I'm the bride that's why" coozies, and the excitement that comes from only your closest friends. Elizabeth had known for months and managed to endure my chatting about the when's and how's during our morning workouts. Behind Ross, she has the most patience in this story!
I called my dad first, thinking of the joy of our father-daughter dance. He, of course, had known. Because in a moment of chivalry, Ross drove to Savannah a few weeks prior to have dinner with my parents. He gets extra kudos because he drove down and back in one night, while I was entertaining my little sister who was visiting. The next morning he woke up late for a retreat we were going to at Church. In my exasperation at him being late, I never would have guessed that driving to and from Savannah in 12 hours might have been the reason for his exhaustion!
I called mom next who in classic Mary fashion, had already won us a photographer before we were even officially engaged! One item off the budget, check! The rest of the night was spent talking to family, to flower girls, to bridesmaids and toasting champagne in pure excitement over the fact that I get to marry this boy.
So, September 26th, 2009, one day after my parent's anniversary, I will stand in the church where my grandmother stood over 60 years ago, in the church where I graduated high school and attended countless midnight Masses and I will marry (seriously?!?) that amazing man. A full sized soccer team of attendants will surround us, people that have meant everything to us over the years. My Garmany girls, who I've known from diapers will stand up with me. My childhood priest will marry us, next to a young priest who has directed me and guided me over some rough early 20's times. My dad will walk me down the aisle and we will celebrate Mass. We will celebrate a God who lived and died for us, a God who with His own hands, and through His own vessels, brought us together. OH. MY. GOSH!