Summoning up the courage for the biggest question of all

The room was silent. All you could hear was the puppy protesting his exclusion from the gathering. But my daughter knew this day was coming

He’s been preparing for this moment for months.

Just as he does before a championship match, the professional fighter plans ahead by marking the date and moving backwards on the calendar. Sometimes he has weight to lose to drop him into the next class. He often has skills to work on, muscle to build, reflexes to sharpen.

In this case, our young man planned ahead by making two very important lunch dates: one with his girlfriend’s mother and one with her father.

Perhaps the discipline of martial arts training has leaked over into other aspects of his life. I believe this is what is supposed to happen, if you’re doing it right.

In any case, many people might be surprised to hear that he upheld the old tradition and treated me to a meal at one of his favourite Thai restaurants, so he could ask for my approval. He wanted to know he had my support before asking for my daughter’s hand in marriage.

The young man takes his time. He doesn’t just blurt things out. Perhaps this is one of the things she loves about him. She too is a thinker.

When he took me for lunch, I asked him where we should sit and he chose a chair directly opposite a poster of a Muay Thai fighter. “I’m sitting here,” he announced, “for strength!”

I like everything I know about my eldest daughter’s suitor and was happy to give my blessing.

Her father probably gave him a bit more of a challenge. I’m sure he too is very approving of this young man for his daughter but he isn’t about to let his little girl go without a test or two. Always discreet and polite, the young man just said that dinner with the old man went well.

He was turning 28 and we usually celebrate birthdays as a family on the farm. So he orchestrated a bit of an Inception moment, where I suggested that she invite his family to the farm dinner as a birthday surprise for him. Unbeknownst to her, they had already been invited by him and accepted.

His brother, sister, mother and three close friends came from Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto to help fill our kitchen while he popped the question.

Any concern I might have had about my daughter finding out about this day beforehand melted away when I saw how excited she was to be surprising him. He gave an adequate performance of surprise and then led everyone into the kitchen.

The Farmer took the young man aside as everyone gathered, whispering, “I’ll bet you’re more nervous now than you were for your toughest opponent in the ring!”

The 20 of us lined the kitchen and our hero stood in the middle. He is a civil engineer by trade but he is also a great speaker. Dressed in a crisp white shirt and walking shorts, he paced the floor as he addressed us. He thanked us for coming and for sharing his birthday this way.

My eldest daughter smiled, familiar with our family tradition of giving a wee speech on the occasion of your birthday.

And then he was done. And still standing there. The room was silent. All you could hear was the puppy, whining in his crate, likely protesting his exclusion from the gathering.

She stared at him and her eyes glazed over. I wondered what she was thinking, watching him run his fingers through his hair and shift his weight back and forth. (Later she told me she had had a horrific thought that maybe he was going to announce he was terminally ill. But that soon passed and she realized what he was doing.)

She knew this day was coming but she didn’t know he would be taking a knee on this date. They had discussed marriage and looked at rings together. He chose wisely. The vintage-style round diamond on a rose and white gold band suits our designer daughter to a tee.

There were tears all around as she kissed and hugged him and pulled him to his feet. Someone asked her to confirm her answer, a resounding “Yes.”

We popped two bottles of pink champagne and gave everyone a glass for a toast.

There is no rush to set a date. They live together and are saving for a home. She is in no hurry. She has been waiting for this moment her whole life – since she was a little girl, dressed in a gold floor-length gown, watching Belle dance with her man in Beauty and the Beast. And that is exactly the theme song that her sister queued up for them to dance to after her acceptance of his proposal.

It was an honour to have the farm chosen as the venue for this live proposal celebration.

(I decided to leave their names out of this public tale as it goes online, so they can have some semblance of privacy.)

Troy Media columnist Diana Fisher is a freelance writer living on a 200-acre farm along the Kemptville Creek in Oxford Mills, Ont.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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