September 08, 2011

A Day Like Today

Have I mentioned how much I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art?  Kidding, since I know I've probably mentioned that one fact more than any other on this blog.  And you thought it was just because I like looking at the beautiful Egyptian tomb paintings, didn't you?  I do, obviously, but the Met is a very special place for me.  Besides meeting the great female pharaoh and long-time hero of mine, Hatshepsut, there, I had a once-in-a-lifetime moment at one of their other sites.  Oh, yes, the Met doesn't just encompass the huge building in Central Park; they have other outlets for their awesomeness, as well, and one of the best is known simply, elegantly, as The Cloisters.

The Cloisters is actually a large collection of cloisters and other parts of medieval European monasteries, salvaged from a host of unworthy uses (one old monastery was being used as a stable) and utter ruin to be compiled into one beautiful museum.  All these disparate pieces were woven together into a re-creation of the sort of ideal medieval monastic institution, and it is simply gorgeous.  So peaceful and serene.  The main cloister of the complex hosts an heirloom garden, stocked only with plants available to the monks and nuns of the time period depicted.  Rooms throughout the museum are filled with artifacts suitable to the rooms in which they are placed, so that the fact that they are "exhibits" is made as inobtrusive as possible, their presence a part of the organic whole. 
The "monastery" features everything from a chapter house and running fountains to a private chapel wherein lie the bones of a long-forgotten noble European family.  It is a truly amazing experience.

Sounds wonderful, but why am I telling you all this, right?  Because five years ago today, on one of the balconies of The Cloisters overlooking the Hudson River, my wonderful husband, Michael, got down on one knee, asked for my hand in marriage, and then lovingly and patiently helped me lean up against the wall and rest for a moment when I nearly fainted from excitement.  I'm not kidding.

He couldn't have chosen a more perfect spot, or a more perfect day.  (The Feast of the Birth of Mary, the Mother of Christ, was a date he was guaranteed to remember if I ever decided to play, "Guess what tomorrow is, honey!" games with him.  I tested him just yesterday.  He passed with flying colors.)  Nor could either of us have chosen a more perfect match for ourselves.  There have been horrible events in the past five years--the death of two parents, a bankruptcy, a high-risk pregnancy that got really scary in the last few weeks--but we survived them all together, along with our happy, healthy Brigid the SuperToddler.  There have been wonderful events in the past five years, too, and good or bad, I wouldn't have wanted to tackle any of them without him.  And to think, it all started on a sunny day at The Cloisters.

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