Thursday, May 15, 2008

Story Corner

(The Official Engagement picture)

I only have time for one part of my marrying Jessica story tonight, because five is too daunting and this one can really only be done justice by itself. Before I begin, I need to set the stage. I love my father in law (I love my mother in law too, but that really isn't germane to this story ... just making sure the bases are covered).

In some things I am very observant (i.e. plot in a story, scientific facts, peoples moods, etc.), however I like to think that in an effort to conserve brain function (I love conservation of almost anything) I unconsciously filter things that don't strike me as very important. Therefore, there are also areas where I am not very observant (i.e. what date various holidays and General Conference fall on, what people wear, other people's lives,etc.). I also never really knew that it is customary in our culture for the male to ask the female's father for her hand in marriage. I had never even heard of this. So I was shocked when Jessica came to me and told me that her dad was expecting me to ask him to marry her.

"HE IS!?!?"


"Why do I have to ask him?"

"It is just what people do when they are getting married and this is important to him."

"So if he says no then will you still marry me?"

"Of course I will."

"Then what is the point of asking him?"

This discussion continued until I finally understood the gravity of the situation and agreed to do it. I was kind of terrified to do it though. I felt so awkward. Now, knowing my Father in law better, I wish I could go back and do it again because I "get it" way better now. I think I could really wow him.

So I met him at work one day. I hadn't really thought through my sales pitch on this one so I started off by telling him how much I loved his daughter and all the reasons why I wanted to marry her.

After my first volley and a short pause I began to worry that maybe this exercise wasn't to test my devotion, but rather to qualify myself as a viable spouse. So I started in all over again this time emphasizing that I would take good care of Jessica and be nice to her and telling him that I thought I was smart and would end up providing well for her. The pause after this second attempt gave me time to wonder if I should be convincing Jessica's dad that she wanted to marry me.

So off I set for a third round. This time I went over the fact that I thought Jessica loved me too and wanted to be married to me and that I was confident this would be something she would want too ... etc. etc. etc. After this pause I was out of good lines of reasoning so I went back in with any random thought that could possibly help my case. Mercifully, it was at this point that my father in law interrupted me and began to manage the conversation much better than I had up to that point.

So as my father-in-law began to direct the conversation, he got very emotional. I didn't know this at the time, but he is an emotional guy. This behavior was very foreign to me. I wasn't sure what to do. Should I console him? Should I pretend like there weren't tears coming out of his eyes? I just didn't know. Then I started getting worried that maybe HE EXPECTED ME TO CRY TOO!?! Oh great ... now he'll never let me marry Jessica, because obviously I am an unfeeling oaf.

I managed to make it through an hour or so of this. And then I could tell things were wrapping up. I got the vibe that things were going well and I wouldn't have to elope after all, despite my stony heart. Towards the end my father in law paused and I could tell was getting ready to give me a compliment. It was then that the most memorable word he ever said to me were spoken;
"I want you to know that if I could choose anyone to marry my daughter, you would be second." He then kind of eased back in his chair to let the full weight of his words sink in.

It took me a second to gauge if he were joking, or being subtlety malicious, or what? I quickly realized that NO ... in fact he felt he had just paid me a very sincere compliment. It kind of made me laugh a little. I wasn't used to coming in second to anyone. I am not saying that I never lose at anything, but growing up in the "Haytown" ghetto, I was beloved by every parent I ever came across. I couldn't believe that I had just been ranked by my soon to be father in law number 2.

So I met up with Jessica and gave her a full debriefing. Towards the end I swore her to secrecy and told her what had happened with her dad. I found it funny and kind of ironic. Jessica went ape. Her promises to keep the discussion between me and herself immediately went out the window. And she stormed off to battle with her dad.

We have long since worked through that event. My father in law has bent over backwards to show me that he loves me and holds me in highest (or maybe it's second highest) regard.

**NOTE: Be sure to read Jessica's dad's rebuttal in the comments. He's anonymous and about 6 comments down.**


rubberbandgirl said...

That's about all there is to say.
It's probably what went through Ryan's head after the '2nd' statement from dear old dad.

Annie said...

Gulp. Great story. I love these! I though you were going to head in a different direction to echo our engagement dynamics:

My husband completely surprised me with his proposal. If he had given me any warning at all, I would have also updated him on the custom of asking the father for the daughter's hand in marriage. He didn't know either...never heard of it, none of his friends were engaged yet, etc.

Instead, he asked me & I announced it to my very surprised parents (I was pretty young and the oldest) and it took MONTHS before my dad was even on board. I don't think Greg was even second on the list there for a while :).

Lauren said...

Did he ever tell you who was "first"?

Did Jessica know who your Father-in-Law was referring to as "first"?

Wow. I probably would have started to was probably good you weren't prone to becoming emotional...I did chuckle at your saying that you thought he might have thought you were an, "unfeeling oaf", though.

That engagement picture is fantastic. You are one lucky, "unfeeling oaf" to get such a beautiful girl ;)

andrea said...

now that's true love, because had i been in your chair, i would've stepped right out the door. she could marry her dad for all i'd have cared.

you're a better man than i am.

only, i'm not a man.

Lindsey said...

Um, Um, Um!!! We HAVE To know who was first!!! Why he was first and we need a picture of him too! :) Not to bruise your ego or anything Ryan. . .

Ryan said...

First was this really quality missionary who served in Jessica's ward when she was a teenager when her dad was ward mission leader. After his mission he and Jessica dated a little at BYU. Unfortunately for everyone involved things just didn't work out (i.e. "it's not you it's me"). I am sure I am mangling the truth here but of we ever track him down, we can have him guest write for me one week. Then Jessica could "gently" remind him that he hasn't posted for a while.

Anonymous said...

Let me set the stage... It was the first time I had ever had someone ask me for my daughter's hand in marriage. I have regretted that statement for the last twelve years.

There was a missionary who served in Tracy for many months. He was a superb young man and I thought he would make a perfect husband for my beautiful and intelligent daughter. She agreed, her mother agreed, the rest of the family agreed, and after he got home they went out on a date at BYU. Nothing ever came of it and I still remember him fondly.

But I was wrong, he wouldn't have been better for my Jessica then the incomparable Ryan. I idolize Ryan. I want to be more like him. He is the best father and husband I could have asked for for Jessica.

I have repented and apoligized to Ryan a dozen times. Everytime he mentions it I get redfaced. I have begged him to please wipe it out of his head and to never bring it up again. I WAS WRONG!!!

But no, for a chance to get a cheap laugh he has chosen to broadcast my stupidity to the nearly one million people who read Jessica's blog daily. Ryan, we will have to have another talk. Your father-in-law

Shally said...

My dad sat and warned Zach about me saying that I wasn't loving enough all the time.


G and G Nut said...

Ooops, Ryan. Sounds like you've slipped back to #2 again. Sorry!

Elizabeth Caldwell said...

very cute story... and I dont think for a minute you havent forgiven him Ryan.... I think you are secretly grateful for the push it gave you to prove you should have been first :)

well done!

Jacki said...

My dad did pretty much the same whole, awkward conversation with tears and all when Brooks asked him. Yes, Brooks thought it was odd too, but did it anyway because that is what my dad wanted.

Luckily though, Brooks was the first man my dad wanted me to marry. Sorry about that Ryan...

Penny said...

Wow! Great story! But it sounds like you got BUSTED Ryan. But that is so cool that your father in law commented so that you know how wonferful he thinks you are for Jessica. And that you really are #1 now.

But be sure to let us all know what happens at your next "talk". Good luck!

Melissa said...

Justin and I had the same conversation. I made sure I went with him to ask my dad and really I did most of the talking. Pretty funny!

Rochelleht said...

Wow, the comments are even better than the story! I can't wait to hear about your 'next' conversation with the fil!!

Erin said...

Hilarious. Nothing less.

I think that if Spencer had asked my dad, my dad would have tried to talk him out of it. (We were far too young in his book. ;) )

gab said...

Oh wow! That story is great and the picture is too beautiful to be real!

Kara Jayne said...

sounds to me like the dying embers of years ago have just been stoked! Good luck on that.

Mahina said...

what a horrible moment for ryan! i wouldn't know what to say after that! it's good that things have smoothed over between them!!

it reminds me of when my brother in law asked my dad for my sisters hand in marriage. my dad was obviously NOT expecting it. when stuart asked if he could marry malia my dad said, "let me sleep on it!" not the answer stuart was expecting! then, my dad didn't call him back until after 6 PM the next night!!

Rachel said...

AAww. I'm feeling kinda bad for your dad right now, Jessica. What a sweet man. I love his comment.

And "oaf" is one of my favorite words. (your husband used it in his post) Made me smile.

Ilene said...

Dan had never even met my dad or spoken with him and I still made him call to get permission before the "official" proposal. I can't believe Dan went through with it.

The worst was when Dan finally met my parents, my dad sat us down together to talk about sex and staying morally clean. Oh my was that awkward. Dan was a good sport and sat up straight the entire talk all nervous like. I'm glad I got the ring prior to Dan meeting my dad.

Hazen5 said...

Love the story! Love dad's comments even more. I think the two of you are perfect for one another!

So, who did the missionary end up marrying?

Nancy said...

Will made the mistake of making me really upset (on my birthday) the day he was asking my dad for permission. I must say, it took my dad (and me) some time to warm up to the idea again. Thankfully, it all worked out, but I think that's because my dad had a good long lecture for Will, and Will took it without complaining (he knew he'd screwed up).

Lauren said...

I love that Jessica's dad came back to clarify... He has some great humor skills, too :) I am loving the banter!

Bridget said...

That is so great. How cute and young you guys are in that picture too!

Nathan also asked my dad before he proposed. I don't think he got quite the experience you did though. At least it was just second place though right? Could've been worse. What if he put you at a 7th or 8th?

Lauren said...

I just had to come back and tell you that your profile picture really accentuates your, um, strong jaw line.

Valynne Maetani Nagamatsu said...

Wow! That's so different from Grant's experience. I think the response Grant got from my father was, "Are you sure you want to do this? Do you know what you're getting into? Do you know what she's really like?"

Allison Weenig said...

LOVE the story. That is classic.

Loved meeting you at WC and Blogapalooza!

stephi k said...

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful, personal moment. I may have to link to your story and spread the love a little further (if that's possible).
By the way, loved your reference to "you knew what I was when you picked me up", in the first posting of this saga. You know that's about a rattle snake, right?

J'net said...

YOU were the "princess fair" of the WHOLE fam,
SO, for some human to THINK of marrying you
was like the END of the fairy tale....... REMEMBER???
I know, if Ryan had ridden a WHITE horse into the office and bowed down waiting to be "knighted"
ALL of this awkward "memory" stuff would NEVER have happened!
GOOD thing we all resort to "short" term memory loss sooner or later!
I was at the wedding and I know your folks were proud as anything you married a "returned mish" in the temple and have actively been building/raising an eternal family!!!
LOTS of past history's are fun to laugh at,
NOW that they have made it to the archives!
Just remember that to ANY father, it is a GREAT shock when their darling daughter decides to move 'em to #2!!! Your dad was just PROJECTING!
Chalk it up to the "Sherrill" sense of humor!!!
You have to be "related" to "get it" sometimes!!!
That, just saved you $75 in a counseling session!!!

brooke romney said...

I love this story and really love Ryan's hair and Jessica's dark lipstick.

Tristan said...

Yeah my Ryan kind of forgot to ask my Dad for my hand before he had already put a ring on it. He did have a talk with my parents after he had already given me a ring, so all was forgiven.

I am loving this story! It is so fun!

Lorena said...

Yeah, Jessica's Dad...quite the character...

He sat Dane and I down when we went up to visit the family after Christmas (we had been dating two months) and pretty much made us commit right then and there that we would get married. He used the missionary pattern of committment. I was a little shocked, Dane wasn't.

I guess we could have warned you.

Anonymous said...

Hah! Hopefully, our dad will do better when the man I marry asks for my hand and has this talk with our dad. Thanks for going first!

Anonymous said...

P.S. I hope I'm lucky enough to find a man like Ryan! These story corners are so cute.

Tammy said...

I love this post. Kudos to Ryan for a great story. I also remember that missionary and by a LANDSLIDE, Ryan is the best man for the job. He is 100% perfect for Jessica, how they managed to find each other is magical....they truly are the perfect pair and I am so happy that Mike said yes at least. :)

AMY said...

You had me totally thinking there was a deeper meaning to coming in second, guess I was wrong - but I have to admit it's always good to have a story to remind them of that makes them get all red in the face. Call it a bargaining chip if you want.

PS At least he has a good sense of humor - you too, Ryan.

Carie said...

THis is hilarious post + comments.

I remember getting that picture with your wedding invite. You have always been a picture mathcing and picture taking genius!

Pa Pa Jim said...

A father/daughter relationship is very special & Ryan will understand that the day his baby girl gets engaged. He'll have the same interview. When another man comes into your daughters life it is very painful to realize that you have become the second most important man in her life. She ask her husband’s advice before she comes to you. You want the best for your girl & you want her future husband to appreciate how wonderful she is.

TexasTwinsTwice said...

hahah--that anonymous comment from your dad is sooo funny! I think we all wish we could take back a few things too....