This is Part VII...part VI can be found here.
So I came home from Chicago. And he came over. We talked about my trip, drank wine and listened to a Joe Cocker CD that was left on repeat. (I do love Joe Cocker. Just sayin.) And we talked about us.
I was nervous about a new relationship. The previous boyfriend and I had been together for over a year and it was complicated. I knew that he loved me, but I wasn't really sure that he loved my kids. Like "wants to be their dad" kind of love. That was a problem, because whoever I ended up with would need to treat the girls as theirs, adopt them and never see them as just being "my kids." It was a requirement...because in the girls' lives, that man would be all that they had. Their biological father was not a part of us, so they could never be treated like stepchildren. And, to top it off, Chandler had begun to ask "Where's my daddy?" And I would respond, "Remember, Honey, I'm your mommy and your daddy." And then she would counter, "But where's the boy daddy?"
Amazingly enough, Chris did not run for the hills after this conversation.
So, we decided to date. Really. It was a conscious decision and not one that was made lightly. I was not about to get into a relationship and bring another man into the girls' lives unless I thought it would amount to something.
Then, somehow, we saw each other everyday. I would call and he would come over. Just like that. But we felt that perhaps an actual "First Date" was in order. So I called my mother to ask if she would babysit.
Me: Mom, I have a date Friday night. Can you guys watch the girls?
Mom: Really? And who would you be going on a date with? (to be read with a shocked tone, not mocking or sarcastic.)
Me: Chris. You know, the student teacher.
Mom: Chris the Student Teacher? Are you sure that's a good idea? Isn't he a little young for you?
Me: Mom. Seriously?
Mom: Well, I'm just saying, didn't he just graduate from college? Aren't you a little old for that crowd?
Me: Mom. He's 26.
Mom: Oh. Well I had no idea.
Babysitter arranged? Check.