I have a confession to make: I'm a hopeless romantic. I adore romantic comedies, I write poetry, and I read romance novels. So when I got engaged I waited for a flash mob, 1,000 yellow daises, and an expensive glass or two of champagne. Instead, my boyfriend at the time gave me a nudge and asked, "We should get married, right?" As you can imagine, our marriage wasn't a fairy tale and ended years later. So it wasn't until I was a single mom that I finally received the unique marriage proposal I've always wanted.
My current husband and I were both single parents when we met, so we spent most of our evenings watching Netflix or snuggling on the couch. So when we had a rare night out to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens I was beside myself with excitement. I am huge Star Wars fan, too, so as the opening credits rolled I could barely sit still. And that's when I looked down and saw a ring box is my then-boyfriend's hand. To me, that was by far the most romantic gesture in the world.
We told our kids the next day and they thought my then-fiancé's Star Wars proposal was pretty cool, too. And while it wasn't the proposal I had imagined as a little girl, it was easily the sweetest, most unique, most thoughtful proposal I could have imagined. It was us, and that's all I wanted.
At some point, as adults, we learn that romance rarely looks like a fairy tale. We realize that marriage isn’t always like a romance novel or a rom-com with a silly or sappy, feel-good ending. We also know that it doesn't have to be, and we eventually realize that having the freedom to decide how you and your spouse begin your lives together is by far more superior than following some often unrealistic standard. Blending your life with someone else is hard, and when you are a single parent it's even harder. But it's also incredible, and the following stories of finding love as a single mom, and the marriage proposals that followed, prove that love is what we make it.
"When we first started seeing each other we had a fire in my backyard, which is a private and sacred space for me. I have worked for years on making my garden a place of joy for myself and my children.
[My husband's] Persian, and we wanted to meld our two cultures together. There is suppose to be very formal tea ceremony where the parents of the couple meet and the families give their blessing, but the visa ban made that impossible. So, we Skyped. Both of our fathers cried.
On our dating anniversary he roasted eggplants and other vegetables over the fire in the backyard in the moonlight, and proposed in the garden that he loved as dearly as I did. It was peaceful, private, and genuine."
"It was his birthday. I was standing in front of the stove and turned around to see him with my dream ring. He asked me to marry him. I said 'yes!' We hugged and kissed. My daughter was standing there. He got down on his knee and had a ring pop for her, and asked if he could be part of our family forever. She threw her arms around his neck and said 'yes,' too. Happy memory forever."
"We had multiple discussions about marriage, but he'd never 'proposed.' He became mischievous and secretive about picking out a ring. After much fanfare he finally got it and planned to keep it a surprise. He was so excited he couldn't contain himself.
We were in our kitchen at home on a stormy October night. He got out the box and said he hadn't properly asked me yet. I said with a grin, "Ask me what?" He then asked me to be with him for our 'forevers.' And the surprise wedding band? A Damascus steel hand-crafted wedding band. We're both chefs, so this was very meaningful to us. I began wearing the ring immediately, because why not? Everything else we'd done in our relationship had been atypical, this might as well be, too."
"He took the boys out to play basketball and came home to pick me and my daughter up to go for ice cream. I got in the car and my step-son handed me a rose. We got to Dairy Queen and my son handed me another rose. We had our ice cream and then went to the sunken gardens where he had the boys distract me by jumping off rocks. I turned around and discovered he had attempted to give our daughter the last rose to give me, but she was only 1-year-old. He was down on one knee, ring in one hand, rose in the other, with our daughter strapped to his chest and our boys jumping everywhere when he asked me to marry him.
"We first met in 2006 at work, but we fell out of touch when I left my job there in 2011. He popped back up on my radar in 2015 on Facebook and I sent him a friend request. Messaging turned to emailing turned to dating. I met his family, and he met my kid. We moved in together and then bought a house together. The whole time he insisted that he didn't want to get married again. I honestly didn't care if we were married or not. One morning he abruptly said, 'Why don't we get married?' To which I replied, 'I don't know, you're the one with the objections.'
Six months later in the presence of our two teenagers, my sister, and an officiant, we were married. Our first anniversary is in two weeks. Romance is very different when you're middle-aged."
"My proposal wasn’t unique per se (it was romantic and special to us, yes), but I found out that he had sat down and talked with my oldest child about the possibility beforehand — not asking permission, but acknowledging that my 9 year-old would be affected by me getting married again. I think that speaks for the relationship they have now."
"I started dating my now-husband when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. Her dad had died before I even found out I was pregnant. When my daughter was 3, my boyfriend and I took her out to look at Christmas lights at a local park. We sat down on a park bench and he told my daughter he had an important question for her. He asked if he could be her daddy, and presented her with a pink sapphire ring. She very enthusiastically said yes. Then he said he also needed to ask me a question, and got down on one knee and proposed. It’s one of my most cherished memories."