The Engagement

Kelly and Brooke

As I peered over my glasses surreptitiously, I watched the small attractive woman quicken her stepwhile crossing the parking lot not wanting to be late for the 4 pm meeting. From this moment on the lives of this virtual stranger and I will be forever and inextricably interwoven like the intricate threads of a multicolored tapestry.

With each rite of passage a child makes, cheerleading parents hover in close proximity with invisible pompoms and smiling faces silently transmitting praise, encouragement, support and of course tremendous pride at their accomplishments. When an adult child meets that significant life partner and decides they’re the one, there is nothing more special or momentous. If the intended is wonderful, that joy is monumental. For a parent, there is nothing greater than sharing in the happiness of your child.

Here we were two mothers coming together to help the betrothed decide on a venue for their engagement party. Aside from a brief hello at the beginning of their courtship, this was the first time; the “mothers” were officially meeting. The obligatory kiss hello, polite conversation framed the next hour as we made the appropriate clucking sounds of approval as the sales manager highlighted the features and benefits of having the engagement party there. The view was spectacular, the room was intimate yet expansive and the roof deck offered a panoramic view of the Hudson that was spectacular. The four of us had no trouble envisioning dancing the night away as the moon’s glow bathed the revelers in soft yellow moonlight while the stars glistened and the gentle waves cascaded over the moorings in the harbor.

Traveling to the restaurant in separate cars, the couple, each accompanying their respective parent, the mood was simultaneously light and pensive. So much to digest, so many decisions to be made, and the timeframe was growing shorter with each breath. As we reconvened in the restaurant, we ordered cocktails while perusing the menu for tasty forays into the tapas selections originating in southern Spain. As our drinks appeared we toasted to our children’s love, happiness and impending nuptials. We also toasted to the uniting of disparate families coming together in harmony and the love of our children. I immediately liked her. The chemistry was undeniable. Oh, I thought to myself, the bonding of our two families is going to work out well.

All of a sudden, with the head turn of She-Nay-Nay, my new in-law-to-be asked, “so how are you dealing with this?” My understanding was immediate, my answer was swift, “I’m fine NOW!” All four of us laughed in unison because my transformation from denial to acceptance was not unique. Suffice it to say, my transformation was a process that occurred over many years. Believing I was an enlightened and modern woman only to realize I was just an ordinary mother battling my own hopes, dreams and yes, demons only served to complicate my journey. Through much introspection and self-talk, fueled by the love, admiration and unwavering support for my daughter, my own “coming out” was inevitable.

It was a whirlwind weekend, evidenced by food tastings, signature wedding drinks, a fabulous brunch necessitating 7 trips back to the buffet for tasty morsels of seafood, sushi, carving and omelet stations not to forget the titillating desserts, interviewing catering staff and hospitality personnel, checking out hotel rooms for out of town guests, all culminating with the unanimous decision regarding the venue for the engagement party and the wedding!

The next six months will be fraught with planning, shopping, scheduling, crying, laughing, celebrating and much, much more. I am braced for this roller coaster ride we all experience when planning a life changing event but I am comforted by the knowledge that this journey will be traveled with the people I love, respect, and enjoy spending my life with. To my daughter and her fiancé, sit back, enjoy, and relish the experience; it will be a truly unforgettable and heartfelt ride!

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