I've Got Issues...And Peace


Boulder, Colorado,
October 22
Family, marital, and individual psychotherapist. Mother to four who no longer need my services but still enjoy my love as I do theirs. I specialize in stepfamily dynamics and difficult transitions. I try to write from the heart with a sense of vulnerability, humor and a frank look at myself. Art shown: "Four Pots" by Lindsey Leavell


JULY 13, 2011 11:29AM

A Proposal

Rate: 52 Flag

Last month in the wedding month of June, I received the Email in the middle of an ordinary morning, a work day filled with clients, finishing up an article and tending to the more mundane tasks of  life like doing laundry, running errands and paying bills.

The Email stood out from the usual junk mail and spam that normally filled my Inbox.  It caught my attention and I immediately clicked to open it with curiosity.

The Email was from a young man, a man I had grown to know and love in the past year and a half.  He was my oldest daughter's boyfriend and the Email was an invitation to join him for lunch in Denver at a time that would work best for me.  He told me not to worry; he just had some things he wanted to talk to me about.

Well count me in!  Anyone who knows me well knows that there's nothing I delight in more than in being in relationships, in connection, in knowing and understanding another human being. 

Jeremy had come into Kellie's life at a time when she was a deliberately free and unattached woman.   She had had a long-term relationship in college and when that ended she made a declaration that the only person she wanted to spend time with was herself.  She wanted no restraints, no ropes to tie her down.

When she graduated from college, she and a girlfriend traveled to parts of the world exotic and strange.  She loved her independence and decided going "solo" was going to become a long time commitment.

She moved to San Diego to work for a sports team as a Guest Representative. The pay was paltry and to make ends meet, she took a waitressing job at a Mexican restaurant that was situated in a touristy part of town and she was miffed at the costume she had to wear and the lousy tips of loud and demanding customers.

Shortly after she began working there, she began to speak of a young man who had caught her attention and the way she described him made my ears stand up in attention like a paramedic on alert.

He was a couple of years older and like so many other others, he had been laid off from his job as a civil engineer and was doing whatever it took to make ends meet, including working at the cheesy tourist restaurant.  They became friends and he told her of his plans to move to Denver where work might be more available and the call of the mountains was stronger than he cared to ignore. 

When her stint with the Chargers ended, she returned to the state she was born and to the family who had missed her and to the young man who had moved there several months before her, pounding the doors until his persistence paid off and he landed a job in his profession.

I had always wondered if there was a man out there who would be strong enough for my daughter, a fiery passionate determined young woman who eschewed the attachments and commitments of coupledom and the ties that might bind. 

Fast forward to this recent June morning when the Email came.  Could I meet him for lunch?  Hell yes I could meet him for lunch.

I was curious about his intentions for our meeting but no matter.  When I arrived at the restaurant, I could see him sitting outside having procured a table on the patio.  He's a gorgeous young man with a head of hair so full of dark curls you have to stop yourself from reaching out and touching them.

Lunch was ordered and I sat back in my chair waiting.  He looked me right in the eyes and began to speak words of love about my daughter.  He told me of her qualities, her attributes, and her beauty.  He told me she made him a better man and he told me he couldn't imagine a day in his life without her.

He leaned forward meeting my gaze with intention and purpose. He confessed that he knew it might be considered old-fashioned but he wanted to ask for my blessings to ask for her hand in marriage.

And the warmth in that summer air, intensified by the look in his eyes, enveloped me and my heart was in danger of bursting right there, right there on the spot.

I reached out and hugged him tight and spoke words of love and enthusiastic approval and told him I couldn't think of anyone better to be with my daughter.  Since he had come into her life, his calm quiet presence and way of speaking words clearly yet gently had melted the rough edges around my girl and I couldn't have been happier.

As I drove home with goose bumps making permanent residence on my arms, I tried not to pinch myself.  I've watched the world become a ruder place, where manners and decorum are seen like artifacts from days gone by.  Where marriage is drifting to the back burners of a culture who finds, for a variety of reasons, it may be better off to do anything other than to utter the words, "Till death do us part."

My future son-in-law may be considered "old-fashioned" but to me he is my Hero.  And I will never forget that sweet summer day when he honored his future bride by honoring the ones who raised her.

It will always stand out as one of the most precious days of my life. 

Kel and Jer 

And yes, she said a resounding "YES!" 



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Oh, Mary! What a wonderful story, and a wonderful experience for you. Jeremy sounds like a delightful young man and, hey, there's nothing wrong in MY book with being old-fashioned. (BTW, Kellie did say yes, right?)
Hello? Anyone here! This is a darling post from a wonderful mother!
Hey you,

Great story...nicely shared.

I'm becoming jaded. I read the piece with apprehension. I thought there was going to be a bad ending to it…and it made my day that I was wrong.

Good for good; good for Kellie; and very, very good for Jeremy.
so so so so good. him, her, you, the story, the plan, all of it. i have only one child whose husband is exactly -- exactly -- who i would have chosen for my beloved, strong, independent, smart daughter if i could have designed him piece by sterling piece from a pile of qualities. some of us - you, me, our girls - are lucky beyond imagining.
So sweet, congrats guys!!!
So did she say yes...? That is the question...
A well written, expressive, and joyful piece
I also was worried there was going to be a bad ending. What an unexpected surprise; it sounds like you and your future son-in-law are off to a wonderful start.
Well, I'm an old-fashioned gal and I must say that I adore this story. It's what I hope for, for my own daughters. I'm so pleased for all three of you!
I'm so glad to read this!
Congrats to your daughter and son-in-law, your expanding family, and you!
Manners and honorable touches, consideration for others, these are the tools that heal. We can all use them.
How wonderful your daughter found the right man for her.
(Okay, I admit-- my fiance also did this lovely gesture to my mother. I admit because ever after, when anything came up between us, my mother ALWAYS took Husband's side and would ask me, "What did you do?"
All part of Husband's master plan : ))
Mary, this is an incredibly poignant story. I literally have tears in my eyes! And you told it just beautifully. ~r
Okay now you have shared your goosebumps!! I was nervous in the beginning when you wrote of the email and so pleasantly surprised that he asked for her hand!! Congratulations!!
Now I can look forward to reading wedding preparation blogs~
You gave me goosebumps too, Mary. What a great story - told so well.
This wonderful story even reached the distant, covered, once romantic heart of an old cynic. He sounds like a special person.
Wow, who knew anyone did that anymore? Congrats to all of you!
good boy.
polite and knows his history.
cultural history at least.

this is an obvious thing to do,
a no brainer that takes immense courage
in our corrupted circus of a modern life
Just wonderful.
Bravo, Jeremy and congrats to Kellie for finding one of the good ones. May they have a lifetime of happiness together.
Oh yeah...those with character and purpose dot this planet..and it appears your daughter has one in her life.
Congrats to you all!
"He leaned forward meeting my gaze with intention and purpose. "
" He's a gorgeous young man with a head of hair so full of dark curls."

Reminds me of someone else... hmmm

"I've watched the world become a ruder place, where manners and decorum are seen like artifacts from days gone by."


"I will never forget that sweet summer day when he honored his future bride by honoring the ones who raised her."

~Real TEARS!!!
Lovely tale. Congrats to all, and loads of love to go around.
WOW!!! Mazel tov!! Such an incredible story...every mom's dream!! What a great way to begin a marriage. Blessings!!
You say this so well: "he honored his future bride by honoring the ones who raised her." If "old fashioned" has assumed negative connotations, this young man has turned them positive. He is an exemplary graduate of that institution so many scorn: the "old school." To this old heart, your story is radiant.
Mary, count me among those who held a little reserve reading this tale expecting an O. Henry twist at the end with modernity spoiling an otherwise poet's dream of romance. The closer to the ending we got, the more I braced, while, at the same time, hope grew that my cynicism would be disappointed. Thankfully you didn't disappoint. Lovely story.
Congratulations to all three of you!! What a charming young man he seems to be and how considerate that he asked your permission first. It just goes to show that your opinion matters to him. You can't buy respect or fake it if it is not there. What a wonderful family yours is extending into! :))
I was worried, that you were going to say she said no..r
I have tears of joy in my eyes. I think things are contagious, the more people that love and live like this, the more we see, desire and emulate. I hope this gets an EP. Thank you so much for sharing!
Awwwww! Old fashioned is chic, romantic and speaks of admirable character. You are right, he sounds like wonderful suitor; men of his sort are hard to find. A beautiful story that deserves a happy ending. Congratulations! R
Great post, Mary. Your goosebumps are contagious.Your daughter must be quite a woman to have such a fine young man for her suitor!
I got all worried by the picture placement that I was going to have to ask what she said. Good build-up. Best wishes to all.
sweet, and gracious. nothing better than a loving son-in-law.
I smiled to myself knowing this young man had the right idea. (My new husband went to my father and asked him for my hand before he proposed to me!) Manners and good breeding never go out of style. I'm really happy for your family. There are a few good men left!!
Right out of the pages of Amy Vanderbilt's Etiquette! Congratulations to your daughter, your future son-in-law, to you, and the rest of your family! Potential new OS blogger in the future?
Absolutely luminous. Treasure this happy moment in your heart, always.
Very sweet, and what a gorgeous couple.
Yes!!! Love the photo, Mary! Who took that?!? Amazing! What a wedding that will be!!! Be sure to mention to Jeremy, what I said about "Auntie's Rights!!"
Made me teary eyed. What a great guy! I thought he was going to say he loved you - probably just a little projection on my part. ;-)
hey maryt. this is very interesting news. I saw a pic of your gorgeous daughter way back in your blog and thought, wow, what a gorgeous woman. hey, Im envious!! clearly, it runs in your family. was the guy from another age? maybe. or maybe he was very canny. I mean, c'mon, in your family, women rule!! I mean "rock". or something like that. you seem to have a strong matriarchy thing goin on over there and its great to hear of the new generation.
but, I am gonna laugh when the dude starts to find out more about your family. lets see, one sister is into writing erotic haiku, the other has a top-rated post on tickling the g-spot.... holy cow. holy mama!!! the guy doesnt know what he's in for. or maybe, he does!! he better be on the top of his game, if you know what I mean. thats a lot of pressure to deal with hahaha
Ahhh! Too beautiful of a story not to share(and great that she said yes, I've always waited in terror for one of these stories to say, AND SHE SAID, NO WAY, GET OUT OF MY WAY....:D)

montana: I had to keep my mouth shut for almost a month after our lunch...this was no easy feat I can tell you! He proposed to her this weekend at the unmatchable Maroon Bells. And yeah, she said Yes :)

Sister Cathy: Love to M & R! Love is in the air. Let the weddings begin :)

neilpaul: Hmmm...I'm not at all sure that there was any "muddying" of the waters here, so talk to me.

Frank: Apparently you weren't the only one who read this post with apprehension, and I found comments like this surprising as I had no intention of trying to build suspense or make people wonder. So then I started to wonder if we have just become used to so much bad news, and especially bad news about men's behavior in general that we're waiting for the knockdown. And I'm so glad that you were wrong :) Thank you Frank for your good wishes...they mean a lot.

Candace: I love your description of your daughter and her good husband, and yes, we are lucky beyond imagining. Thank you much for your wonderful and uplifting comment.

Cfranc: Congrats to them and congrats to you...soon to be Maid of Honor!

Moana: Oh sorry Moana, I forgot about that part. He asked her this past weekend and yes, it was a big time YES. Thank you.

DH Austin: Thank you much for reading!

Margaret: Again I see how we are programmed to feel set up, disappointed...and I'm so glad you were pleasantly surprised. We are surrounded by such negative news and honestly, after the engagement was made, I was so excited to know that there would be months of happiness ahead, a nice break from all the troubles and sufferings in this world. Thank you much for reading.

Outside Myself: I had not had an expectation that this would ever happen to me, especially given the divorce. Jeremy also met with Kellie's father and all of us, including Kellie's two brothers and sister couldn't be more excited.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....eyes are drooping, I'll be back in the AM. In the meantime, a heartfelt thank you to all of these good wishes. Nighty night.
What well-written, wonderful story of a beautiful love and deep, sincere respect.

Jeremy honours you; he honours Kellie; and, he honours the parents who raised this man of principle.

Most of all he marks the beginning of a new life with his bride with utmost respect and love.
"And I will never forget that sweet summer day when he honored his future bride by honoring the ones who raised her." Extraordinary! Best wishes to the whole family!
Oh yay! Yay ! Yay! Yay!
I still intend to come back. Thought I would have more time this morning but I didn't. I want to thank everyone for their very good wishes and comments. They mean the world and I really do intend to come back and thank the rest of you personally.
Boy do you know how to express anticipation, history, personalities, and the heart of a beautiful young man. And mothering -- both mundane and miraculous. Mary, all I can say is that you have now put MY goosebumps in danger of permanent residency!
Just Thinking: Thank you so much and your comment really made me laugh. Clever men they are! And I can already tell I might end up doing the same thing your mother did! Love it.

Joan H: I really feel like you and I are on the same kind of "mother" wave length. I knew you would get it and I thank you so much for it.

Susie L: Hey Susie, did you know that GQ put Boulder as the 40th worst dressed town in the country? Ha! I consider this an honor. I digress. Thank you so much for reading and resonating. As for the wedding preparation blogs...oh I can already tell a book could be written!

trilogy: Thank you trilogy!!!!

Dr. Spud: It gives me joy to know my post melted some of those crusty edges away. But I understand the cynical part. I've found myself as of late getting kind of cynical and I don't like it all, but also understandable. My future son-in-law melted my cynical edges as well and that's always a good thing. Thanks for reading.

Procopius/Steve: I know, who would have thunk? It was pure delight. Thank you for reading.

James: I loved this, "this is an obvious thing to do, a no brainer that takes immense courage in our corrupted circus of a modern life.' You're right. Thank you so much for reading.

Lainey: Thank you!

Stim: I will pass on your sentiments but I'm pretty sure they have seen these wonderful comments. Thank you so much.

JD Smith: I find there are many men, like yourself, like Jeremy and so many others, who are the "good ones". Thank you so much for your good wishes.

trig! You're a dad so you know what this must mean. Yes, love those curly-headed men! And as for your real tears, well, it made me tear up. We're just having a regular old tear fest here! Hugs to you and wonderful son.

Lea: Thank you Lea! It always means so much to me when I see that you have commented.

Jerry: I loved your comment...I'd like to publish your comment somewhere for the world to see. Thank you so much.

Matt: Isn't it interesting how many had that sense of reserve and apprehension? I feel for you that when you were reading you were simultaneously bracing. And I'm more than happy that the ending didn't disappoint. Thank you thank you.

Susan: You are so right about respect. Respect is something that cannot be demanded (despite our insistence on it at times). It must be earned and I appreciate you bringing that up. So hey, maybe now I will pat myself on the back :) Thank you.

hugs, me: I had neglected to say in the original post that she said yes; this wasn't even a consideration. But I can understand that from your point of view. Thank you much for reading and commenting.

l'Heure Bleue: Hey, I like you! And I love your good point about the contagiousness of good news. There are so many of us that could use good news right about now. Thank you so much for reading and your wonderfully supportive comment.

Thoth: Love this, "Old fashioned is chic, romantic and speaks of admirable character." I couldn't agree more! Thank you so much.

julie Kiernan: I would have to strongly agree with you about the daughter part. Kellie is one of a kind and those who know her know exactly what I mean. They are a wonderful compliment to one another. Thank you so much.

Kent: There's the "build-up" thing again. I honestly never attempted a build up. Maybe I'm a natural builder upper! Ha. But really, thank you so much for you good wishes.

dianaani: You're comment gave me more goose bumps as I realized that a loving boyfriend, then fiance will become my son-in-law. I'm so happy! Thank you!

BuffyW: How cool is it that your new husband asked your father. I love him. Thank you so much!

Carrie: Yes, let's bring Etiquette back as chic as Thoth suggested. I'll have to check with Jeremy about the future blogger part. That could be veeeeeery interesting. Thank you so much for reading.

Monsieur: Well leave it up to you to come up with the perfect word. Luminous. Perfect descriptor and I will. I will never forget that beautiful day. Thank you.

emmapeel 2: Ah, emma. Thank you so much. I truly appreciate your sentiments.

JC: I think Jeremy took it if you look at the picture closely. So that means it was taken by a smart phone. You gotta love technology.

grif: Ah Grif...Jeremy may have made my year, but you sure made my day. Thank you so much!

vzn: Now wait a minute here. I'm a little more used to you working me over or challenging me on something so I had to reread this a couple of times. As for the women in my family, I had to smile. My parents had five girls in a row and despite my father's longing for an eventual son, his pride in the five of us was more than evident. The two brothers followed later but they didn't have a prayer :) As for Jeremy learning more about our family, believe me, he's been given a full indoctrination into all of them (Tahoe family reunion last summer). One thing he really knows about my sisters is how much they love to touch his hair! As for naughty Just Cathy and Joan Wilder, what can I say? Cougar aunts? Yup, that works! Thanks so much for your comment.

Tinkeretink69: Tink! Happy to see you hear. Yeah, I know what you mean about the occasional "no" answer. I think I saw one recently on the news and it was totally cringeable. That would suck. It reminds me I have my own very cool story of how my husband proposed to me and I'll just have to write about that someday. It involves men in kilts and telephone poles aka cabers and yes, regimental is the way to go. But I digressed. Thanks so much for reading and sharing my joy.

Little Kate: I love the great point you made (well I loved all of them but especially this...) about marking the beginning of a new life with his bride with "utmost respect and love". A superb foundation. Thank you.

ktd: Thank you so much and thank you for your good wishes for our family. It really touches my heart.

sweetfeet: Yay! Yay! Yay! right back. You get it. Thank you!

Joan: Speak of the cougar devil :) As always you are so supportive of me, my writing and my heart and my children's hearts. You rock as their aunt and we will have a blast celebrating this one. Thank you!
gorgeous words gorgeous photo
now I have to reread Greg's with a new light
lovely story, and mazel tov!
I absolutely LOVE this post!! It brought tears to my eyes! Rated and congrats to all three of you!! :)
Sometimes I think I have just stayed away from this place too long...this is so beautiful and hopeful and loving...all the best to your daughter...her dashing beau and your whole family!
Beautiful story Mary! Like others, I was a little worried that it not have a happy ending. Love the picture of the happy couple at the end.