So, I promised you guys my news! And as promised, here it is:
MY PARENTS GOT ENGAGED!!!!
I know some of you may be scratching your heads and asking, "Katie, how old are you again?" Trust me when I say this has been a long time coming, and I couldn't be happier about it.
Le happy family: My older brother Matt, The happy couple, my mom Tracy and James, and me, with my terrible haircut.
James met my mother about 12 years ago now. When he met her, she was a young mother of two, married to my father, and working show homes as a new realtor. He described it to me as, "I knew she was married, but I just thought she was so cute." He would make excuses to come by her show home to talk to her. He had to come up with some pretty good excuses, as her show home was across the city from where he lived. At the time, my mother was in an unhappy relationship, and she felt she needed to get out. That summer, she brought my brother and I to her hometown in BC to think about what she wanted to do with her life. James and my mom fell out of contact.
After the summer, my mother came back to Calgary and filed a divorce with my father. At the same time, James was thinking of moving, and a friend gave him my mother's card. They got back in contact and over the years that followed they became good friends. I remember being about 9-10, and James would come over and play with me. He'd run around in the backyard or wrestle me to the ground or talk to me. They made a strange pair. James was a high school dropout who worked hardwood floors. He had about 9 piercings in his face, and was covered in tattoos. My mom was a single mother of two children living in suburbia.
5 1/2 years ago, James and my mom started dating. Want to know how I found out? I was in Junior High, sitting in the back seat of my mother's car. James at the time had a DUI (Did I mention he went to prison for 30 days for it? No? James is the bad boy all right.) and couldn't drive. My mother was dropping him off at his house. We pulled up, and before James got out, he leaned over and kissed my mom. My jaw dropped, and I squealed something along the lines of "WTF!" and they explained that they had started dating.
James soon moved into our little house in suburbia. My brother and I were more than accepting. We had known James for years and he'd always been more than respectful to both of us. Unfortunately, James moved in during a difficult time for our family. I was a teenager and my brother was dealing with his own issues. There were a lot of bad times. There were good times too. But through it all he was there. He was more of a dad than my real father. Within two years, he was my dad. He was the one who threatened the boys with a rusty shovel when they came over. He was the one who joked, "I have a shotgun and no one's gonna miss you." He was the one who sat with me when I cried, and came to celebrate my successes. More than that, he was always there for my mom. He respected her, he told her everything, and supported her. He never hesitated to show he loved her, which was way more than my own father ever did.
My mom had never really been lucky in love. Her husband had cheated on her, she didn't get the big wedding or a fancy proposal. In fact, she didn't get any proposal. My father turned to her and said, "Hey, your family's going to be in town next month. Why don't we surprise them with a wedding?" My mother was a lot like me in her younger days, and kept quiet and accepted that her husband would never appreciate her with flowers or surprises, never help her with her kids, and would go out and cheat on her. The divorce was probably the best thing she ever did.
For the last few years, James has been studying to get his high school degree so he can get a better job. The hardwood job was hard on his body, but also hard on his relationship. Working late into the evening left my mother lonely, and he wanted to come home to her. Everyone (note: me) said they should get married. James had never believed in marriage, and never wanted to be one of those "sheep" that lives in suburbia, with a white picket fence and mows his lawn every Saturday. It strikes me as such a YA happy ending. The bad boy and the good girl become friends, deal with their trials and fall in love.
The plan was to wait until after James graduated before they got married. But that would have been another three years. This weekend, while my mother was in California for a real estate conferences, James came to a conclusion. He didn't want to wait. He talked it over with me and my brother. I was ecstatic. He bought the ring, prepared his speech, and I helped him with the details. Like the candles and rose petals and the quotes and the pictures and all that. James's plan was to bring her into her room and just propose. *snort* Boys.
So when James brought my mom home from the airport, he led her up the stairs and brought her into their room. Me, my brother, his girlfriend, and my hetro life partner Kirstie were huddled in the dark living room in silence. ("They home! Quick, everybody play Skyrim!") He got down on one knee, and asked her to marry him.
She said yes!!
James and my mom are the perfect fairy tale. It just goes to show that sometimes true love is right in front of you. That real love is worth the wait.
The best part? I GET TO PLAN A WEDDING!!!