My mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, told she was clear, and then passed away from it in the matter of 2 years. Errol was working on his masters degree (which meant that I rarely saw him). And I was working a full time job and attending school full time. To say that we lived together would be really in terms of technicality, because we saw each other about 3 hours a week and by "saw" most of the time that meant we were just sleeping under the same roof at that time. We were blessed with Olivia 2 weeks after he finished his masters and we moved out of the state 1 week after I was out of the hospital. Two different states to be exact. I went to my mother and he went to work. After my mother passed away I went to live with Errol for 3 months before we had to move to Dallas for 6 months and then move again to Arizona. Needless to say, planning a wedding was NOT going to happen in between all of that. We are now settled in Tucson Arizona (for now) and it was the perfect time to begin our lives. I'm glad Errol thought so too.
As we were planning for our trip to see my family in Mexico for Christmas Errol kept telling me that we should spend the night in San Diego. I thought it was weird, but I did miss the ocean. Everything special that has happened in our relationship has happened near the sea. On the first night we met Errol asked me to meet him at a beach later that night. I did, and we sat at a lifeguard tower all night and talked until the sun came up. After that, we drove to another beach and did a little hike. Our first apartment together had a tiny view of the ocean that we drove to whenever we had any spare time and enjoyed the sunrise, sunset, or a jog...this was about four times a week. So, we pretty much lived at the beach. If there was time off, a birthday, anniversary, or anything in between, we were at the beach. The first piece of jewelry that Errol gave me was for my birthday and it was a charm bracelet with golden starfish, sea horses, and shells.
After a 6 hour drive with a toddler through the dessert we finally arrived to our beautiful California coast. My heart sinks to my stomach every time I see the ocean but especially in California. You never know what you had until it's gone. The first stop we made was to a playground to let our grumpy little Olive get out all of the energy that she had been bottling up strapped into that car seat for so long. After that, we took a little walk over to a tiny beach next to the playground and that's where it happened. Errol was talking lovey dovey things like he always does (and because I'm not a fan of cheeseball things, I was half way ignoring him of course). Before I knew it he was down on one knee with a ring in his hands. I don't even remember if it was in a box or not. All I remember is that I was freezing my butt off but it was the most beautiful gesture he had ever done. I had my beautiful daughter, my man, and now MY RING! He liked it!! So, he put a ring on it.
After that we spent time as a family admiring the ocean and playing with our little Olive. Checked into our hotel on Coronado Island and (of course) ordered room service. This has been turning into a habit of ours. Ever since we had Olivia, it is so much easier to just order room service and let her run around in the room while we enjoy our food instead of trying to restrain her wildness in a restaurant while lots of people stare at us and judge the way that we cannot control the tiny beast. It was amazing and magical and everything I wanted it to be. We explored the island that night and the next day and then headed down to Mexico the next day to celebrate Christmas with my family. I couldn't ask for a better gift than the gift of family and knowing that soon Errol, Olivia, and I would be united under the same last name.