Growing up, I would ask my mother how she knew that my dad was the one. Her reply was always the same: “When you know, you know.”
I never believed her, until one day, June 3, 2009, after sunset, I was standing under a glittering Eiffel Tower.
After graduating college, my best friend and I decided to take a month-long trip to Europe. She recruited her older brother to come with us as our translator/chauffeur/bodyguard. About a month before the trip, she told me, “I’m just going to say this once, and then I’m never going to mention it again: I think you and Matt would be perfect for eachother.”
I refused to listen to her—refused to even think about it—because I knew if I did, I would focus on trying to impress this random guy instead of enjoying my time in Europe. No, I thought, I’m just going to be myself. If he doesn’t like it, oh well.
As soon as the trip began, however, I quickly figured out that not having a (huge) crush on him would be impossible. Instead, I just kept telling myself that there was no way he would reciprocate my crush. Come on. In his eyes, I was just his kid sister’s friend, right?
Then came long car rides throughout the lush landscape of Ireland, where he and I discovered that we had all the same interests and never ran out of things to talk about. Then came the inevitable frustrations of travel, where I watched him handle delays and disappointments with positivity and calm.
At the end of our time in Ireland, he made the casual observation that, “Before the trip I just considered you Jill’s friend, but now it’s safe to say that you and I are friends, too.”
Then came Rome and Florence, where he made me weak at the knees speaking flawless, melodic Italian. We had such great conversations, and I could get lost in his eyes….
“Stop it!” I told myself. “He just sees you as a friend! Nothing more!”
Then came Paris. Anyone who has been to Paris knows that after sunset, every hour on the hour, the Eiffel Tower begins to sparkle with thousands of bright, twinkling lights. Just at the moment, walking side-by-side at the base of the tower, the most amazing man I’d ever met put his arm around me.
Not sure if I should break the silence to express my inner euphoria, or just soak in the perfection of the moment, I said simply, “I’m really glad that you have your arm around me, Matt.” He gave a low little chuckle, looked down at me, and replied, “I’m really glad I met you, Caroline.”
Looking into his eyes in that moment, I knew, with every fiber of my being, with more certainty than I’ve ever known anything, that I was going to spend the rest of my life with him.
Mom was right.
(Photo by Andrea Rose)