I didn't tell him I cried. That's probably not what any guy wants to hear when he proposes the idea of proposing. Instead, I told him not to propose.
"I don't want you to do it during your visit here next month just because some paperwork says so," I said. "We'll file the paperwork when you get here, and then we'll just put both plans in motion."
It all sounded perfect in my head. We'd file the paperwork and then we'd have 5-8 months to figure the rest out. During that time, maybe we'd get lucky and he'd land a job with sponsorship here in Dallas. And if not, well, then hopefully our petition would get approved. Either way, he'd end up here. That's what really mattered. It didin't matter how we got there, as long as we got there.
"And if we get approval on the visa before you get a job, then you can move here and we'll have a small Justice of the Peace wedding," I said. "It will be like a rehearsal. I won't think of us as being married. In fact, I'm not even calling it a fiance visa. From here on out, we'll call it a boyfriend visa."
I don't know why I was so against it. For some reason, the fiance visa option sounded like such a cop out. So unromantic. So business-like. I wanted to say 'I do' while surrounded by my family and close friends, not in front of some random stranger in a stale courthouse. I figured that if I just didn't think about the words when I said them, they wouldn't mean anything to me. We could just go through the motions to make it official to keep him here.
"That makes sense," Cayden said. "I think we could do that. That was my biggest concern in asking you if you wanted to do this. I don't want anything to take away from your big day. I don't want the JP wedding to make our real wedding feel less special."
"We'll just play it down, only tell whoever we have to tell, like my parents," I said. "And then you can propose when you're ready. And then we'll start planning a wedding."
I still wasn't thrilled about it. I didn't want to be "married" before we were married. But then again, I sure as hell didn't want to risk him not finding a job and having to move back to the UK. I just didn't think I could survive that. In fact, I was sure I couldn't. So boyfriend visa it was.
Cayden filled out all of the paperwork for the boyfriend visa at my parents' house the day before he flew back to London at the beginning of October. And just as I'd requested, he didn't propose. Plan A and Plan B were in action, and all we could do was wait.
Less than a month later, I pulled a 180. Suddenly, I was in love with idea of the fiance visa. I didn't even want to call it a boyfriend visa anymore. I was even in love with the idea of a cute little Justice of the Peace wedding. I wanted to say "I do" in front of a random stranger in a stale courthouse. So, what changed my mind? I saw the movie "Like Crazy." You may have read my raving review, but if not, here's a summary: Boy lives in the US. Girl lives in the UK. They're in love. They struggle with the frustration of the distance. They break it off. They date other people. They get back together. They struggle again. They get married by a random stranger in a stuffy courthouse. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. She wore a white dress. He wore a suit. Her parents were there. They slow danced together in a honeymoon suite at a hotel that night.
The story hit so close to home that I felt like I was in the courthouse and Cayden was in front of me. I was the one in the white dress. I was the one saying 'I do.' When in reality, I was the one in jeans bawling my eyes out and snotting on a scratchy napkin in the movie theater. They were tears of joy.
That movie put it all in perspective for me. Marriage isn't about a wedding. It's not defined by bridal showers or flower girls or tossed bouquets. It's not defined by bridesmaids or groomsmen or how many of your friends hear you say "I do." Just as a proposal is not defined by a ring or a knee or a surprise. A proposal is not defined by carat or cut or clarity. Proposals and marriages are defined by an overwhelming love and the promise to believe in that love forever. And by that definition, Cayden had proposed and we were getting married.
How's that for clarity?