My son and his fiancée, newly-engaged in Sydney
Last week, on a headland overlooking one of Sydney’s spectacular Northern beaches, my son and his beautiful girlfriend became engaged.
The story of this couple — their meeting, their romance and their plans for the future — is theirs to tell, not mine. But as the mother of the groom-to-be, I’m thrilled for these two young people I love so much and hope you won’t mind if I share a few of my own special memories leading up to this occasion.
* A moment in 2012, over breakfast with me and Clive in our New Jersey hotel, when my son said, ‘I met a girl at a NATO conference … ‘
* The first time we met her, in the lobby of a London hotel where they’d travelled to spend a few wonderful days with us.
* Times my son told me of their shared activities and travels – different events in Washington D.C., a weekend in Montreal for his birthday, a surprise trip to Las Vegas to see Celine Dion, for hers. Times they met each other’s closest friends and time spent with each other’s families.
* When Clive and I looked at apartments with my son last year and how he wanted both of them to love it. The way they sought and respected each other’s opinions and we knew they were planning a future together.
* When we met her parents and brother and the times we’ve spent together since, and how I’m deeply thankful for how quickly we bonded and for our many shared interests and values.
* When my son told me he wanted to propose in Australia and my heart swelled with a mix of joy and sadness as it does whenever something momentous happens in his life, because his father is no longer here to share it.
in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens
* When they planned their trip to Australia months in advance and looked forward to it with great anticipation.
* When, by serendipitous coincidence, the day I arrived in Washington D.C. last August was the same day my son made a day trip to New York City, to meet with a ring designer in the diamond district. When he arrived back in Washington and over dinner that night — his fiancee-to-be was on a business trip in Germany – and shared with me a description of the ring he had commissioned.
* When I received the text message from Sydney, in the middle of the night in the UK. When, minutes later on the phone, they told me I was the first person to know and I was overcome with gratitude and felt like the most blessed mother in the world. When once again my heart filled with that mix I’ve learned will always live inside me, of joy and happiness for my son and everlasting sorrow that his father wasn’t there to share it, even as we know he is always with us in spirit.
* When I’ve shared every one of the above moments with Clive, who’s given great love and support to both me and my son for many years (including in the middle of the night last week) and for whom I’m thankful every day. I’m excited we’re heading to the U.S. via London early next week and will see and hug the engaged couple in person very soon.
* When I think of Australia and what an amazing country it is, how I adore Sydney and how many memories I have there. When I realise it will never fail to move me that my son and his fiancée became engaged there, in the magical Harbour city that holds so much happiness for him and our family and now for the two of them together.
Sydney Harbour, Opera House & Harbour Bridge
Cheers and thanks for reading. Next week’s letter will be from the U.S.