Two years ago, my wife, who also happens to be the well-respected and well-liked Bethany Fernbaugh (although that respect and like has been well-compromised in recent years by certain associations with a particular fellow), celebrated her birthday, just as she is celebrating her birthday today, and just as she will celebrate her birthday next year, and every year henceforth, thereto, and foreyon.
However, it was also on this day two years ago that I made the single (and so far only) smartest move of my life and proposed marriage to her. I settled on a birthday proposal because it seemed like one of the most obvious times to propose and she was expecting me to propose at the least obvious time.
Oh, I considered other symbolic days. I considered Groundhog Day, because marriage has a reputation for being repetitive. I considered April Fools' Day, because my proposal and her answer would always have people wondering if this union wasn't just one lifelong hoax...and it would give her the April Fools' clause should she have second thoughts. I never considered Valentine's Day, however, because I tend to gag on romantic cliches.
So, her birthday it was.
What a sucky day it would have been if she had said no. Therefore, I made her a picnic lunch first, having read somewhere that people are more likely to say yes to anything on a full stomach (or maybe I made that up; either way, I believe this to be a divinely inspired truth). Then, I took her on a nostalgic walk through our favorite park, having read somewhere that people are more likely to agree to anything in the present if they're wrapped up in the pleasantness of the past (or maybe I made that up, too; my version of reality is often predicated on fantasy). Finally, I purposely concluded the walk at a point in the park that held significance for us: a swing set.
Don't even ask; you won't get an answer.
I'll never forget that snapshot. There she was, sitting on a swing, and there I was, on one knee in the mud, giving my best stream-of-consciousness pitch for marriage...with tears, of course, because I'm a sentimental, blubbery fool about certain things.
She said, "Yes."
I kinda knew she would. We had already reserved the place where the wedding was going to take place. (When you're on a shotgun schedule, you have to do things out-of-order.)
Apparently, she kinda knew that I was going to propose on her birthday. Turns out, my attempt at being least obviously obvious was...obvious.
That night, she came to see me in a play where my character was a gay guy whose mother sends him postcards from his dead dog.
I'm glad she said, "Yes."