Is this real life?

I’ve never been ‘that girl’… the girl who dreamed of finding and marrying her Prince Charming while wearing a poofy Cinderella dress. Yet, somehow, I’ve found myself in what I feel is a modern day fairytale.

When I met Brian in 2010, I had been single for 2 years. Prior to my relationship drought, I had been in a relationship with someone who left me emotionally scarred very deeply. The first year of my singlehood was left trying to understand and give myself closure to the ending of that chapter in my life. By the second year I was focusing solely on myself and making sure that I felt strong and happy on my own… without the need to find it in another person. This was a great transformational year in my life. I learned so much about myself, I was in the best shape of my life and I felt like I needed no one. What I didn’t realize at the time was that though I had benefitted greatly from being single and learning to take care of myself, I had also become so emotionally independent that I wouldn’t let anyone break through the wall I had built around myself.

I found myself scouring the online dating sites. Online dating was a way that I could talk to men without actually having to make a true emotional connection. I went on a lot of “first dates” during that year and I met a lot of nice guys… unfortunately I was never emotionally available to any of them.  When meeting people online I always insisted on a ‘friends first’ meeting. I didn’t want to go on ‘dates’ with people I hadn’t met before. A lot of the guys balked over that idea… and those were the guys I decided not to meet at all.

Brian and I struck up a conversation over mutual interests. Neither of us were looking for any sort of relationship. In fact, he seemed to be more interested in fixing up his single friends with me than actually meeting me himself. This made me infinitely more comfortable.

A few months later, Brian and I finally met with a group of his friends and a group of my friends. My attraction to him was immediate. He was confident, smart, quick-witted and strikingly good-looking. I’m not one to believe in love at first sight but I was certainly intrigued at first sight. I absolutely adored both him and his friends… knowing immediately that they were guys I could trust. They were like no one else I had met in the last year and I felt safe with all of them. We had a great night of bowling and karaoke.

I saw Brian once or twice after our first meeting at group gatherings but never anything romantic. I was having a great time and had made some great friends that I knew would be in my life for years to come.

A month or so later the guys were heading to MegaCon, a sci-fi/comic book convention, in another city. They were making a weekend of it for Brian’s birthday and he invited me. Having only known these guys for a month, I was surprised by the fact I was willing to stay in a hotel room with them for the weekend. I knew before going that something about that weekend would change my life. I wasn’t sure how or why I felt that way but I was excited… and right.

The first night at the hotel, Brian and I stayed up late watching videos on his laptop. We fell asleep holding hands. It was so purely innocent and sweet, I had butterflies. Was this the life-changing moment?

At the weekend’s end, we parted our separate ways… him traveling back to St. Petersburg with his friends and I heading to my neck of the woods across the bay. It hadn’t been 5 minutes since our parting that I received a text on my phone. “I like you”. “I like you too” I responded.  From that weekend on, we have been inseparable.

Falling in love is beautiful.

It was the weekend of June 8, 2012. Our room was absolutely beautiful, as only a Disney room could be. Brian had always wanted to stay at The Contemporary in a room with a castle view… so it was no surprise when I stepped onto the balcony and saw a perfect view of the Magic Kingdom. I remember thinking to myself how awesome it would be to be able to sit on the balcony with a glass of wine and watch the fireworks without having to fight the crowds. I started to relax and was ready for a fun birthday celebration for Brian’s mom who would be staying with us.

We made reservations to celebrate his mom’s birthday at Chef Mickey’s which is at the lower level of the resort. It’s a buffet style dining experience in which characters frequently walk around and interact with the guests. We had a dinner full of laughs as we posed with Tigger, Minnie and Goofy. This birthday weekend was off to a great start!!

A friend of ours decided to make the trip to Orlando to spend time with us at the resort to enjoy the fireworks as well. We all poured out onto the balcony to get our seats for the fireworks that would be starting in minutes. All of a sudden, everyone’s cheerful chatter quieted. Brian glanced over at me and asked, “Are you nervous?” I chuckled. “Um, no, are you?” “Yes…  and…” he dropped to his knee. It took me a few minutes to notice he had pulled a ring box out of his pocket. Everything at that moment completely disappeared other than he and I. My memory of all of the beautiful words he said to me is completely clouded due to the fact I was in complete shock by the moment (thankfully we have a video). The words I do remember in clear, pristine detail however happened when he took my hand and said “Will you marry me?”

After I rambled off a few “Is this for real?” “Nah-uh, you are not!” and “Oooooh!” I finally said “YES!” Minutes later the sounds of “Wishes” came drifting into the room and the first of the fireworks exploded over the castle. Though my focus was purely on the man holding my hand, my Prince Charming, the man I’d be spending my life with, those were the best fireworks I had ever witnessed.

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