A new relationship

It was the New Years before daddy passed away. I celebrated bringing in 2018 with my mom and dad. Dad wasn’t feeling well, so we came home before the ball dropped. I welcomed the new year in my parents bedroom with my oldest.

I’m not sure if it was the champagne or the holiday spirit, but I mustered up a question I had wanted to ask my dad, but was too afraid to speak.

“Daddy, when you pass away and go to heaven, will you help me find a good man?” His reply was filled with love, “Of course I will.”

Far too many times I chose to ignore my parent’s words of caution around the relationships I was forming. I didn’t think they knew what they were talking about and sometimes I agreed, but I believed I was strong enough to handle it. Turns out I was wrong. Turns out my parents were speaking love into my life, but I didn’t just want to hear it.

We didn’t speak of the conversation again.

A few months after daddy passed away, I decided it was time to start dating again. I kept things light. I didn’t get attached. I’m not sure what was different, but I held myself to a different, a higher standard. I wasn’t afraid to decide someone wasn’t right for me. In the past, I think I was just so flattered by someone’s attention.

Then I met Gary.

I went into our first date with the same hope I had in many other first dates. Not much. We had spoke on the phone for almost a month before actually meeting in person for the first time. He seemed nice but I had been here before. Meet a nice guy. Have a nice dinner. Then get ghosted.

When I saw him in person for the first time my heart fluttered a bit. He was tall, broad shoulders, wearing a plaid button down with cowboy boots and a belt buckle. I found myself a cowboy! He saw me walk thru the door, greeted me with a polite hug and then whispered, “I have to go to the bathroom.”

We sat at a booth around the corner and started to get to know one another a little more. I had a sink or swim mentality. Just ask all the hard questions right out of the gate. No use in being shy, I didn’t have time to waste on guys who weren’t right for me.

I remember the exact moment I knew he was different then the others. He was talking about numbers of some sort. I believe I even said out loud, “You’re smart, like really smart.” Not only was he smart, but he also has depth. He knew things about life. Our conversation wasn’t just about the weather. We talked about his daughters and I watched his eye light up with each mention of their name. We spoke about our past hurts and how we healed and learned from each one.

We took things slow.

I asked him ALL the questions, multiple times. I think partly to see if his answers changed and partly because his answers seemed too perfect. While some may disagree, I tried to just let things happen as they were supposed to.

Second date
I stole a picture on our second date to show my friends at work.

While I didn’t follow all my self inflicted rules, I can tell you this … Gary was so patient with me. He softly questioned me when something didn’t make sense to him. We spoke about things with love and kindness, wanting to know more about each other. No matter what I discovered about him, I just couldn’t find a reason to not let myself fall.

Here we are a year and a half later, engaged. I’m not only in love with him, but he loves my boys and I love his daughters. We are making this beautiful blended family across two different states. He loves my extended family as his own and protects all of these relationships.

I could write for days on what a wonderful man Gary is. With each hard question and each honest answer Gary gave me, I started to feel more and more that Daddy really did help me find him. Our paths are so intertwined, yet we never met. His story complements mine in a way I never imagined.

When we first started dating, the way each of us showed affection was healing to the other. I have always felt safe when he’s in the room and proud to be the girl on his arm.

Thank you daddy for helping and guiding me. I really do wish you could see me now. I wish you could meet this amazing man who has promised to love me and to be a role model for the boys. I think you’d be proud and happy to know that you will have two son-in-laws who will care for your wife as their own mother. I just really wish you could have met Gary.

Love, Mel

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