Editor’s note: I had been wrestling with a situation in my head for a few weeks now, but I hadn’t been able to blog about it for fear that Mr. T would see the piece before I was able to speak with him in person about it. We spoke last night… So, here it is, recorded for all posterity in my blog.

The one downside (one?) to my job as a wedding planner is that I am busiest during the days and months when Mr. T (a college professor) is off work. Summers for me mean endless weddings and meetings with prospective clients; summers for him mean traveling through Europe, attending conferences at beach resorts, and having time to unwind. Weekends for me mean weddings on Saturdays and meetings on Sundays, while weekends for him mean bike riding, camping, and home improvement projects.

I have turned my schedule upside-down to fit as much of his life into mine as possible. After all, who can turn down all-expense paid trips to Europe? However, we would still find ourselves frustrated when our schedules didn’t match up and we had to cut short or entirely forego one exciting plan or another.

When I realized that I wanted to focus on empowering children, Mr. T suggested I become a Montessori teacher. I was educated in this method, and Mr. T’s sister is currently a teacher in-training. It was a wonderful idea, but I dismissed this option for a few months, convinced that it would be impossible for me to support myself while I studied.

Two weeks ago, several situations came together to make me think otherwise. I crunched numbers for my business and realized that I would be comfortably in the black by the end of the wedding season. Major wedding dramas threatened to throw me off the deep end. Our travel plans were once again thwarted by my uncooperative schedule. But most significantly, I realized that our relationship had reached the point where we were seriously considering a future together, and my current job was coming in the way of that.

Suddenly, the option of being a teacher – and hence coordinating my life with Mr. T’s – didn’t seem so out of reach. I did a little research and discovered that the best Montessori training center in San Diego is located 1.3 miles from Mr. T’s house! Classes start in September, and not only is the schedule such that I would be able to continue working in the evenings and on weekends, but it is also within my financial means! I shared my findings with Mr. T, and he assured me that I could live at his house during the week while I attended school, and work from my apartment in Baja on weekends.

I quickly started the application process, but a thought nestled in the back of my mind. I am a Mexican citizen, and don’t have work authorization in the U.S. The only way I could find work after graduating from school – and thus synchronize my life with his – would be if Mr. T and I got married.

I was willing to tackle the grueling lifestyle of working and studying full time for the next fourteen months, but only if I knew there would be light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, how in the WORLD was I going to ask Mr. T to marry me?!?!

I tossed & turned for three nights, not knowing if Mr. T was aware of my predicament. I certainly didn’t want him to think that I wanted to marry him for a work permit!!! He’s the love of my life, and were the situation any different, I wouldn’t care if we never got married, as long as we could be together forever. But things were what they were, and it was time for him to step up to the plate and realize that we both had to bow to reality if we were to make this relationship work for the long-term.

Last night, as we sat eating grilled cheese sandwiches and fries at a local hang-out, he asked about the application process for my training. I took a deep breath, and started:

“I’m glad you bring that up, because it’s something that I’ve been wanting to talk with you about. See, I’m really excited about becoming a teacher, obviously because of my new career goals, but also because we can finally synchronize our lives.” My heart started beating faster as he looked at me intently.

“Now, I’m willing to pay for my schooling, support myself, and study like crazy so that fourteen months from now I can become a teacher,” I continued, nervously wringing my hands. “But there’s one obstacle. You and I both know that I can’t work in the U.S. without a permit. I really don’t want to go through this crazy year, invest a ton of money, drive like a maniac from Baja to San Diego every week, and at the end of it all, receive a lovely but useless diploma.” He nodded in agreement but remained silent.

“You know I would never ask you this if things were different,” I said, my voice shaking and my heart by now pounding in my ears. “I am not interested in diamonds or white wedding dresses. I love our relationship the way it is and wish that I didn’t have to be asking you this. But I need to know that this whole ‘going back and forth’ thing is only temporary, because I’m not just doing it for me; I’m doing it for us. I need to know that when I graduate, we will…So I can…And we can…” My voice trailed off, emotions getting the best of me.

Mr. T turned slightly red, a lovely smile illuminating his face. He looked at me with a mischievous twinkle in his eye – undoubtedly enjoying the moment and my obvious discomfort. He let me squirm in my seat for a moment longer before taking my hand and responding:

“Don’t worry,” he said. “This whole ‘going back and forth’ thing is only temporary. I understand what you’re saying and I agree.” I released an audible sigh and looked into his eyes, relief and gratefulness washing over me.

“After all, you need to be able to celebrate ‘the most important day of your life'”, he quipped, borrowing a cliche from my wedding planning website.

I silently thanked him for making me laugh even as I threw a french fry at him. He understood. We were a team, and together we had just taken a very scary and exciting step towards spending the rest of our lives together.

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