Sunday, March 17, 2013

Shannon Maureen, Will You...

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
~ An Irish Blessing
Boomer & SMO, St. Patrick's Day, 2001
PBS in Southwest Florida is terrible.  We miss the wonderful original programming of channel 11, WTTW, Chicago's PBS affiliate.  Our favorite, must-see-together programs were Chicago Tonight for news and Check Please, a restaurant revue program where the critics are regular foodie-wannabe-folk with above-average, intelligible opinions like us. We think so highly of ourselves in this way, don't we?   

A new French bistro, Papillon (translation:  Butterfly), had recently opened in Skokie, just a few miles away and was getting rave reviews when it was featured on Check Please.  Its reputation was also quickly growing as the romantic hot-spot for couples to get engaged.

You know where this is going...

Yes, Papillon is where Boomer proposed,  "Shannon Maureen, will you marry me?"  It was March 17, 2007 - - St. Patrick's Day.  Six years ago today.  It wasn't a "SMO" kind of night; Boomer pulled out all the stops, first and middle naming me in his proposal.  He was so nervous.  So was I.  Even though he let his own secret plan slip to me back in January.  His enthusiasm got the best of him one night, after his first visit to see Karla, the jeweler he worked with on my ring.  That was his first dropped hint.  Next it was February, when we asked me to save the date to have dinner together on March 17, a month out, knowing I wasn't into the hoopla of St. Patrick's Day.   2 + 2 = Popping the question.  I never told him that I suspected or that he let his own cat out of the proverbial bag.  I don't think I ever told my friend Barbara either, who was Boomer's local confidant during his planning process.  Wait a minute, I did tell, Barbara - - I asked for her help in choosing which earrings to wear with my dress for dinner.  It was Barbara who never let on that she was already in the know for months. 

Papillon, or Butterfly, is often symbolically associated with change, transformation, or transition.  In many cultures throughout history it is also spiritually aligned with the human soul.  That's where my story today is really headed...

Boomer transformed me.
  • He transformed my belief in a "soul mate," demonstrated time and again with how we finished each others' thoughts, shared values and our deep ever-growing understanding of one another.
  • He transformed my faith in abiding love, true love at its core.  Weathering the storms side by side, to the best of our ability - - no matter what.
  • He transformed my attitude about writing and receiving letters or notes; some of my most treasured memories are the notes and letters he wrote me - - thoughtful, humorous, sweet, loving, yearning.  A far cry from letters of contempt, meant to inflict pain I'd associated with from my past.   Not so with Boomer.
  • He transformed my confidence to be me.  To release my inhibitions, expose my vulnerability and trust  that amidst my own peculiarities (read Juicing), I was all the more loveable - - to him.  That mattered to me.   Boomer made me want to work at being the best partner for him I could be - - because he mattered to me.  
  • In these ways, he transformed my understanding of partnership, marriage, and committed, mature, adult love. 
  • He transformed today, St. Patrick's Day, as he did other holidays (read Oy!).  It's no longer just a day I roll my eyes at in the over-hype and prefer to avoid.  Boomer asked me to be his wife today -- six years ago.  I said, "Yes!"  One of the best days ever!
I like to think he would say the same of me.

Papillon continues to have symbolic significance in our life together, including naming our home here in Florida, "Casa Mariposa" (Butterfly House in Spanish), and the naming of this blog.  More on those another time.  The irony is often very unsettling for me these days.   Because now, March 17, 2013, being Boomer's widow is not the idea of transformation I had in mind.  Not at all. 

Later this morning, my personal transformation continues, with Boomer in my heart and around my neck, both his ring and mine (read Mood Ring).  I have my first organized bike ride today, a 62-mile endeavor, shattering last week's personal record of 50.6 miles.  Today will be a day of catharsis and honor.  I need to distract my mind and my heart (read Sutures and Anticipation), striving to move forward while continuing to rise toward being my highest, best self - - just as my dear, dear Boomer would encourage.

I love you Boomer.  I miss you.  I'm grateful for you.  And yes, I'll hit 62 with ease, because of you.

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