I used to get offended when at an intimate moment, between lovers, over appetizers and wine, mine would toast with "cheers." I guess I wanted it to be an opportunity for more to be said. Some turn of phrase that I’d repeat to friends the next day, evidence, I thought, of where we were as a couple.
"To us" seemed too easy. "To you," flattering, quite simple, really, but still too easy. And "To tonight," might have made me roll my eyes and make a retching sound. "To friendship between lovers, to laughter and second helpings, to living our lives in extraordinary moments like this one." That would work. Overkill, but the nice kind.
Growing up, for special occasions, my family would go out for dinner together, and my father would make eye-contact with each of us, raise his glass and say something profound, something sincere, something that showed his love for us. I always liked this. Last night was no different. "Here’s to being a family, to being in the best place in the world with Philip and Stephanie, all of us together." Then we clinked glasses and exchanged smiles. Later in the night, at the very same table I would cry, when my father would confide, "Philip, I am convinced, couldn’t be more perfect for Stephanie. Really." And tears welled hearing him. "Look, she’s going to cry," he said. And then I did. And Carol said she understood.
"It’s getting your father’s recognition, approval, right?"
"It’s just, so–" I smeared my tears into my hair with my fingers, "so special."
Not everyone gets that opportunity, to hear from their closest ones how happy they are for you, to have them validate your choices. It’s never necessary, of course, but it sure is nice. And I felt lucky, very lucky, and loved and wished in that moment for more meals and toasts with the people I love.