I have found the one whom my soul loves. from Song of Solomon
Keeping a secret from my daughter is not an easy feat for anyone, requiring the cunning of a Sherlock Holmes and the nerves of a James Bond. Grace is skilled at planning surprises for others, relentless when she wants something, and clever at reading people. So, when Matt, her boyfriend of three years, told us that he was planning a proposal and that he wanted it to be a surprise, we were thrilled, but also fearful that those of us who were co-conspirators might blow it by giving it away.
Matt was planning two surprises for Grace – one was the actual proposal, and the other was having his family and ours in Boston to help celebrate after the proposal. Other than Matt’s brother, RJ, none of us lived in Boston, so getting his Mom, my husband and I, her brother and his girlfriend, and three best friends to all rendezvous in Boston on the same day, well, Matt knew that would be the icing on the cake for Grace.
It was so thoughtful of him to want us all to be there in person – and of course we immediately made plans to be there that Saturday. We ran into a lot of traffic on the way up to Boston, but miraculously we made it to the rooftop bar on the waterfront in time.
The rain was a possible setback that day, but it stopped, and when Matt got the word that we were all in place, he set the plan in motion. RJ set up the site in the Boston Public Garden where Matt had decided the proposal would take place. Matt had taken photos of locations around Boston that had meaning for the two of them – the bar where they first danced, the front door where they first kissed, the Freedom Trail, the Aquarium, even Brigham and Women’s Hospital where Matt spent the night with Grace after an emergency procedure. The photos were enlarged and placed on easels, and then RJ and a friend hid so that they could take photos and videos.
Matt suggested to Grace that they walk to the Public Garden to see Shakespeare in the Park and an Art Gallery. When they walked close to the location where the photos had been set up, Grace remarked that this wasn’t much of an Art Gallery. As they strolled up closer for a better look, she noticed that one of the photos was the front door of her former apartment, and that’s when she realized that something out of the ordinary was unfolding. The photo in the center was covered with a red cape, and Matt suggested she uncover it. When she did, it revealed a photo of Matt in that spot, on his knees in the grass, and as she turned around, there he was on his knees, proposing.
She was totally surprised!!!! She never expected the proposal to happen when it did. There were many tears of joy and laughter and hugs, and RJ made his way to them and then there were more hugs. I love the Asian girls in the background of the photo who, as they realized what they were witnessing, began to smile and point at Grace and Matt.
Matt suggested they go to a bar to celebrate, and again, Grace had no clue that we were all lying in wait on the Harborside rooftop. You can see her face and it’s a face of total shock and happiness.
It’s just amazing how much joy and happiness are contagious – you couldn’t help but feel it all weekend. We were all very emotional, and lots of happy tears were shed and many hugs all around. Sometimes you see couples together and you think, gee, I don’t know about those two, but Grace and Matt are so perfectly suited for each other. They remind me of Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley from Pride & Prejudice. Mr. Bennet says to Jane, “I have great pleasure in thinking you will be so happily settled. I have not a doubt of your doing very well together. Your tempers are by no means unlike.”
Matt, of course, was very pleased and relieved that he pulled it off, and I was just relieved that I no longer had to carry around the secret.
I had already met Matt’s Mom, Peggy, and RJ, but the weekend gave my husband and son the opportunity to meet and spend time with them, and we had a lot of fun. We had a fantastic lunch at Legal’s Test Kitchen, played Wineopoly, a version of Monopoly, back at their apartment, drank lots of champagne, and had a lovely breakfast in Boston on Sunday. The other co-conspirators included Lilly and Kenyon and Alex, all fellow Bentley alum and dear friends.
So, this retirement gig affords me another gift – the time to help Grace and Matt plan their wedding! As one of my friends who knows me very well told me, I will be “in my glory”.