Welcome to The Locket's photo blog! This blog is to showcase my most recent work, keep you updated, and let you get to know me better!

Images and text by Erin K. 'Manson' Kirchhoff.

Check out http://www.thelocketonline.com/ to view my complete portfolio.

Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email. I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by!

Blog Archive

Friday, February 12, 2010

A bit of me Friday: My Ring

We started dating when I was just 15. I was a sophomore. He was a senior. I had reconstructive surgery done on my knee after a softball injury and was bound and determined to still go to the homecoming dance just a few days later. I was still pretty groggy from pain killers but I had bought the dress months before this surgery and I would have been crushed to miss the event! As I finished getting ready, my mother was so nervous people might see my underwear as I tried to maneuver the gigantor brace I had to wear that she made a last minute trip to Wally to get a pair of black spanks for me. After dinner we got into our vehicle and my date had to physically lift my leg into the car because I couldn't do it myself (hence, the spanks). We made it to the dance and I hurt so badly it felt best to just stand on my crutches out of the way. Time passed and the last song came on. Some senior guy came over and said, "Aren't you going to dance?" I thought the answer was obvious. For real? How? He said, "There's no reason you can't dance." And he proceeded to pull me onto the dance floor, picked me up under my arms, and held me up so we could dance. Hmmmm... I wasn't sure what to think. I'm sure my date felt horrible and I knew this new dance partner of mine had a steady girlfriend. And really? He was a senior. It couldn't be.

That next Monday at school there was no longer a steady girlfriend in his world.

Somehow I got tricked into believing that a bunch of people were going to an out of town football game one Friday night. When I showed up with my best friend - it was just us. We went to the game with this guy I barely knew and he acted funny toward me all night. I remember him tickling my leg on our drive home and I just hoped my friend in the back seat couldn't see because I was mortified he was touching me. He insisted he would drop her off first and I begged and begged for him to just take me to her house. I was pretty helpless because I couldn't drive with my leg screwed up. That night he asked if we could be more than just friends. It still makes me laugh to this day. Really? The farm girl who really had no interest in boys and would rather hang out with her dad at a school basketball game than sit with her friends in the student section. Really? Well of course I didn't give him an answer and on we went. Did that really just happen? In his typical way, he sent one rose to school that next Monday. The note read something to the idea of, "Do you have an answer yet?" Nope! The rose a day continued for two weeks before he finally stopped. We began to hang out and the boy I wasn't interested in, wasn't attracted to, didn't need right now - began to grow on me. We had so much fun together and started to become best friends.

Fast forward through him living at home and going to college while I finished high school. I went to Wartburg and he moved to start his junior year at UNI. He graduated and began teaching while I completed my degrees. We hadn't ever seriously talked about getting married. It was evident we'd get married eventually, but we never talked of it aloud outside of me always saying I wanted to be graduated and have a job first. My roommates all made bets that he would be at the end of the graduation stage waiting on one knee. No really - they actually had a pool and each picked a date that he'd propose. Well everyone's chosen dates came and went and why be in such a hurry anyway?

I went to Europe with a college friend the summer after my second year of teaching. While I was there, I saw a ring I loved and took a photo of it because I was way too cheap to buy it. I always dreamt of designing my own ring one day and thought this ring would be one version I could play around with. I told Brandon about it, but I told him everything. No biggie. Little did I know that while I was in Europe, he arranged to go out to dinner with my father. He cautiously asked for my father's permission to marry me but my father didn't give him a clean cut answer. Come to find out - my dad didn't know exactly what this boyfriend of mine was asking and my boyfriend didn't really know if he had gotten an answer. Too funny but so predictable. How could my dad not know what he was asking? After my boy toy called my sister's husband to confirm the strangeness my dad showed, he started to make plans. One weekend I visited him he took that ring photo off my camera without me knowing. He invited his parents along and went to a jeweler to see if they could make it. A few weeks later they had a mold for him to approve and then it was go-time! Once the ring was made there wasn't much time before he couldn't wait any longer. I had always hinted at how romantic going on a walk over a bridge would be while it was snowing. As thoughtful as this boy is, his romance level has never been top notch - but just wait.

After begging me to come up to visit him even though the weather was less than perfect, I finally gave in and drove up to see him. I remember meeting him at Target and the first thing he said was, "Your teeth look so white." What? He would normally never say something like this. RED FLAG. UP! We left there and I begged to go to Hobby Lobby. Agreed. This guy HATES Hobby Lobby and would willingly clean a rancid toilet before volunteering to go to Hobby Lobby with me. Strange. RED FLAG #2. UP! He even carried the big frame I bought up to the front counter. Again - highly unusual. So then he says we have to go to the nearby town to get gas. Could it really be that good of a deal that driving seven miles to the next town would save much? Whatever. At that point I knew something was up but honestly, we had never seriously talked of getting married and even scarier - we had never looked at or even discussed what kind of ring I liked. I was an art major and tend to think I have a unique taste. Scary to let a sports boy blindly choose a ring. Really scary. We left the gas station and he said we were going to take a walk on this bridge I had begged him to take me on a walk on for years. Although he got flustered trying to find the bridge and talked non-stop, I kept talking myself out what I thought was going on because I didn't think he had asked my dad and we hadn't talked about the 'M' word yet.

It had stopped snowing at that point, but it was the first snow of any type that year and as we got to the middle of the bridge he talked about how much he loved me and sure enough - popped down on one knee with a ring. Since we were on a snowy bridge, he wouldn't let me put the ring on! He made me walk back to the car first and man, was I nervous. I was so scared to see what he had done but was so in love with it when I saw it. I loved the European asymmetry of the stone and couldn't believe he was able to do what he did to have it made for me. Other than myself, nobody seemed surprised after more than nine years of dating. "It's about time," is all we heard for very long time! So after being together over 11 years we are more content than ever and excited to see where life leads us as one.

This always happens. When I finally make myself sit down to write, I just ramble and ramble. And I just wanted a story to go with the photos of my ring I shot in Hawaii! I didn't realize it, but my story is quite perfect as Valentine's Day is on Sunday. Brandon came home tonight and called when he was in the driveway. "Stay in your office until I tell you." When he came up to say hello he immediately asked when he could give me his Valentine's gift. On Sunday, duh! He is such a little boy. He's always begging to swap gifts early!