It was an ordinary, average Tuesday morning. Scott and I had been living together for about two years. I took a shower, got dressed, poured myself a cup of coffee, and sat down at my computer to read the news before work.
“I’m leaving, Steph,” Scott called out.
I walked to the front door and put my arms around my boyfriend. “Bye, Sweetie. I love you.”
“I love you too,” Scott replied. “Hey, what would you think about getting the tomato soup recipe?”
I felt dizzy and my head started to swim. Was he asking me what I thought he was asking?
I should probably back up.
My family has a tomato soup recipe that’s been passed down from generation to generation. The soup was served on holidays and special occasions. I remember waking up on Thanksgiving mornings to the sweet and pungent aroma of tomatoes, meat, and brown sugar. It took all day to cook, and I would beg my mother for a taste long before it was ready. It always tasted too sour and sharp in the morning, yet almost magically, by dinner time it tasted perfect. It was sweet, mellow, and rich. The taste made me think of being with my family, and was always warm and comforting.
Throughout the years, whenever my sister or I asked for the recipe, we were told that only the married women in the family would get the recipe, and that it would be passed on to us by our mother when we got married. I always protested, grumbling that I didn’t want to get married, ever, and that it wasn’t fair. I thought I should be able to make my favorite soup any time I wanted it.
When Scott and I started dating, the first time he met my parents was at a holiday dinner. My mother had made the tomato soup. Scott declared it the best thing he’d ever eaten and went back for seconds. When he asked my mother if he could have the recipe, I groaned, embarrassed, when my mother told him that it was a family recipe and the only way he’d get it is by marrying into the family. I was mortified. We had only been dating for a couple of months at that point, and marriage was the furthest thing from our minds.
Several years passed. Scott and I moved in together. We ate many bowls of tomato soup together on many holidays. We said we wouldn’t get married. There was no reason to get married. We were perfectly happy. Scott had been married once before and it ended badly. We were content.
Then there was that normal, average Tuesday morning when Scott asked me if I wanted to get the tomato soup recipe. He smiled, kissed me goodbye, and left me confused, excited, and wondering what had just happened. I somehow made it through the day, feeling as if I were walking around in a dream.
When I got home from work that night, Scott and I went out to dinner. We went to a local steakhouse, and after we had ordered our meals, Scott reached across the table and took my hands. We started talking and he said that he’d been thinking a lot lately about what it would mean to get married to me. He said that if anything happened to him, he wanted it to be me who made the decisions for him if he was unable to do so for himself. He said he would understand if I didn’t want to get married and wouldn’t pressure me, but what he didn’t know was that I had been thinking a lot about marriage lately also, and I hadn’t wanted to pressure him!
By the time we left dinner that night, we were engaged. I went home and immediately called my little sister to tell her the news, but not until she swore not to tell my parents because I wanted to tell them myself. We giggled and wept together, and she exclaimed, “I’m going to have a brother-in-law! This is so exciting!”
That Saturday afternoon, Scott and I went to a jewelry store and bought my engagement ring. Scott said he wouldn’t officially give it to me until he had asked me to marry him in front of my parents.
The next day, Sunday, was Mother’s Day. Scott and I met my parents and my grandmother for brunch. I was so excited I felt like I was about to burst. After we ordered our food, I turned to my parents. “Mom,” I said. “Well, you’ve done it. You finally found a guy who likes your tomato soup enough that he’s willing to do anything to get it.”
At that moment, Scott pushed back his chair, got down on one knee, and said, “Stephanie, I love you. Will you marry me?”
“Of course I will!” I replied, and Scott slipped the glistening diamond onto the ring finger on my left hand.
My parents gasped in shock and then started laughing and crying at the same time. Everyone in the entire restaurant applauded. My father hugged me and welcomed Scott to the family. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life.
My parents got us the loveliest wedding present: a huge soup pot with the tomato soup recipe tucked inside.
Scott and I have been married for nine wonderful years today. Happy anniversary, my love. I hope we have many, many more bowls of tomato soup together.