I often said I would never get married again. Not because I didn’t believe in marriage or felt marriage wasn’t a beautiful thing but simply because I had done it, it didn’t work and being a single mom for eleven of the twelve and a half years my daughter has been alive has suited me just fine.

That isn’t to say I didn’t want romance or love. I did. I am a hopeless romantic and the idea of falling in love and someone falling in love with me and my daughter sounded like a wonderful fairytale.

And then… it happened.

When I met Derek, the moment I met him, something in my soul, my gut said, “if this guy wanted to marry me I would say yes.” I don’t know why.  My heart just knew it had found the heart it had always been searching for. Kind, beautiful, funny, gorgeous, spiritual, passionate, musical, compassionate, intimate, gentle.

My guy.

We fell instantly and hard. Like two people who had walked through deserts and mud, hurricanes and heartbreaks, darkness and near death to finally climb to the top of the mountain, look out at the big blue sky and whisper,

Oh, there you are. It’s you. It’s you.

And the only thing that could make me fall even more in love with this man was witnessing how he and my daughter bonded. To watch someone cherish your child, talk to them, laugh with them, play music with them and care for them as if they were their own… that is quite possibly the most beautiful image ever.

I have been very protective of my daughter. Never casually introducing her to men. Never for a moment putting a man before her. Never letting her see her mom settle for a man out of fear of being alone or needing financial support or just basic insecurity. I have always wanted her to know that love shouldn’t hurt. It should bring out the very best in both people. It should shine.

Shine bright.

So, Saturday night Derek’s band played at 9 on Vine in Hollywood. My entire family and closest friends were there. His family and friends were there. Strangers coming to see a rock band were there. And I, the proud girlfriend, simply there to cheer on my guy and his band for an evening.

But, after apparently a month of secret planning, rehearsals, family flying in and, most important, having asked my daughter for permission to marry her mother, Derek proposed to me in front of the entire crowd.

By far the easiest YES I have ever said (but not before looking out at my girl in the audience to make sure she was okay with it). She was more than okay. She was… shining.

Life really is more than beautiful. Much, much more.