Location: Madison, WI
David and I spent this past weekend in Madison, Wisconsin visiting Noah and Leigha. We cheered Leigha on at a triathlon she competed in on Saturday morning, on a gorgeous day that was perfect for us as spectators but was probably a bit too hot for the athletes. We strolled around the farmers’ market, a spectacular one that lines the perimeter of the state capitol and has the added benefit of free cheese curds samples every five feet. And we enjoyed some of Noah’s delicious cooking, including his garlic, lemon and thyme stuffed chicken with a shallot and crème fraiche glaze and his homemade raspberry and dark chocolate ice cream. Yum!
What we enjoyed most of all is seeing our son so happily settled. It is one thing to say your child is grown. Noah has been off of our payroll and living across the country, on his own, for several years now. But to be served a meal in a house he now shares with his girlfriend, to stay in their guest room and have their rescue dog Tater start warming to you, and to see your adult child so in love, that is a milestone that is all its own. There is such a peace and contentedness I feel in knowing that Noah has found his life partner. And that he will share his life with someone who brings out his best and wants the best for him.
Last weekend, Noah and Leigha called to share the good news that they are engaged. The announcement did not come as a surprise, but that did not make it any less exciting. I told Leigha that I felt like I should be welcoming her to the family, but she has been a part of our family for quite a while now. They are planning a small, simple outdoor ceremony in Madison next summer and it was fun to start talking specifics and make some preliminary plans. The wedding and ceremony are really just the proverbial icing on the cake, though. It will be a chance for all of us to celebrate what we already know, and have known since early on in their relationship (that began when they were both cast in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at Chapel Hill) and that is that these two wonderful human beings who respect and value each other are good together.
I have suffered with friends as they bemoan the less than stellar significant others their children bring home, and that was always a fear of mine. I wanted Noah, Hannah and Eliza to find someone who would love them each as much as they deserve, but worse than being alone would be to have them end up with someone who didn’t deserve them. With the first of my kids finding the person with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life, my joy is coupled with relief. Leigha is smart, talented and engaging. Phew. But what I value even more about her is that she is kind and that she and Noah each want the best for each other. There will inevitably be fights and hardships (they learned the hard way that putting up a spice rack together is a great stressor on their relationship) but there will always be an underlying and foundational love and decency that gives this momma great peace of mind.
I know many have gone down this road before me, and it gives me new insight into how our own parents felt when David and I announced that we were engaged almost thirty years ago. I am just here to say that as far as milestones go, this is such a joyful one. Yay for our son finding someone who fits so well with our own family as he forges his own. Yay for seeing him so happy, both with life right now and as he envisions his life with Leigha in years to come. And yay for the girls finally getting to be bridesmaids!!