I remember when I was younger, meeting a new date was fun, something you looked forward to, because maybe this person would be cool and awesome and fit right in with your friends or maybe not, and maybe you’d see the person just this one time and there would be a fight between them later or something and you’d never see them again except maybe in the checkout line at Walmart where you’d both struggle to place each other and there would be that knowing nod or a simple shrug then you’d leave, passing like ships in the night.
And it was okay, because when you’re young, there’s more. There’s chances, and opportunity, and hope in spades, so you don’t worry so much about the people that come and go. But when you get older, those pools start to dry up and you wonder, whoa, what if? Is this it? What happens if this doesn’t work? What do I do next?
So, last night, we met a friend’s new girlfriend. They’d been dating a while, but it was time to introduce her to the friends. I went in with almost no expectations, except said list of baggage above. As a friend, the thing I most look for in meetings like this is not so much how I feel about the person, but more how the new couple interacts. They seemed to get along great, which was awesome, and in stark contrast to my friend and his ex, the mother of his daughter. So, unfortunately, I had that measurement to compare them to as well, but that’s life, right? You gotta try to be happy, no matter what your situation, and no matter what has happened to you.
The best thing about the meeting was how the new date and her daughters took to my son. They were given prior information about his condition, so they had an idea of what they were getting into, but they really surprised me. They walked all over the restaurant with him, helping him climb onto chairs and laps and giving him things he asked for, like toys and drinks. They carried around his vent and food bag and didn’t bat an eyelash, even when a nurse who took care of him in the hospital came running over because she hadn’t seen him in so long, and picked him up and kissed him all over his face. At the end of the night, the older daughter even helped us take Fin to the car. It was wonderful to see. I hope this is just the first of many meetings.