I was so nervous, well excited more than nervous.  I had to do something. My husband promised he would stay up for the call. It was almost 11 pm east coast time. We had just come back from dinner at our local restaurant.

I had been keeping this secret inside for a few months and tonight I would hear and then I could share. It’s so hard to keep a secret especially when it’s good news. 

My son had been planning how best to surprise his girlfriend  with a proposal. It was hard to do after all because they had been talking about marriage for a few months.

I had flown out to Seattle to spend the weekend with him when his girlfriend was away at her B-School reunion. He had shared that he was ready to take that next step and he wanted to surprise her. I listened and watched him closely as he spoke of her, his face bright and happy.

There is nothing so wonderful as seeing your child happy with love, ready to share the unknown adventure ahead…the risk of it all, the leap into the unknown of promise. It’s amazing to watch the transition when kids move into that place.

So, that night of March 2, as the winds howled from the brutal Northeaster, and most of our area lost power, cable and internet  we were miraculously spared.

I was jumpy. I couldn’t just sit on the couch and wait for the big announcement he had so carefully orchestrated. He had shared every detail with me over these past two weeks and I was visualizing him this evening, every step of the way.  But now, two hours away from the big ask, I could’t sit still.

My husband promised to stay up and not fall asleep until the FaceTime moment. .

I headed to the kitchen, too excited to sit, and started to make a soup. It was 10 pm EST.

I laughed thinking I am truly channeling one of my favorite books, Like Water For Chocolate. The book is about a woman who cooks her emotions into her recipes and she creates masterpieces that reflect her state of mind.

I chose to chop. I chopped onions and celery and broccoli, I chopped carrots and garlic and Yukon gold potatoes. I chopped endlessly with my very dull knives and I was content.

“Bill, are you still up?” I bellowed from the kitchen. “They will be calling in 30 minutes, please please stay up.” Poor guy was exhausted.  We have shared so much in our 10 years of marriage. We love each other’s children.  I love his boys and he loves mine. Bill has filled the big role of Dad who they lost when they were teenagers. He has been amazing. 

I let him be for a bit longer and went back to my chopping.

I heated the oil, threw in the onion and garlic and the smell filled me. Its smell brought in powerful images of a house full of children. I added the nutritional yeast (it was a vegan soup), the rest of the veggies and I poured on the cayenne.  I don’t love spicy food but tonight I wanted spice and heat. And as the pot simmered the phone rang.

Drum roll…it was starting. My younger son’s girlfriend was Face Timing me from the bar. They were part of the surprise and had flow in from LA.

“Bill, Bill wake up”, I bolted from the stove to the couch. “It’s time.”

“He shook off the deep snoring and sat right up.”

Her Face Time scanned the room to show me all the friends waiting for the big surprise. 

“I’m so nervous, I’m sweating,” she said.

“I know, I know, I stink of cayenne, garlic and onions and I smell like I’ve been in a soup kitchen for days.”

We both laughed and then suddenly there they were on Face Time in Seattle, almost a continent away, but now right there in our living room.

We saw them smiling, he looked like the cat that ate the canary and her smile was so wide it filled the screen.

We tried to tell them we were so excited…over the moon…they couldn’t hear us but we heard faintly, “We are so happy.”

And, that’s it. It was done. Next chapter.

My husband and I hugged, he headed off to bed and I pulled out the Food Processor and listened to the whir of the cooked veggies becoming pulverized, their jagged edges morphing into a smooth velvety healthy soup. Pure nourishment for the soul. 

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