This post was written in response to a prompt from The Red Dress Club: Write a post that either starts or ends with the words "Lesson learned." Word limit: 400 words.
It was my first time meeting his family…and I mean all his family. We sat with his brother and girlfriend, grandmother, parents, and even two aunts. And then there was me.
I entered with some discomfort and uneasiness. The world of dating was new again. Meeting the family, sat on my mind, unfamiliar and odd. I had been invited to take part in a birthday celebration. I sat and I listened. I did my best to pay attention to stories, adventures, jokes about people I didn’t know…and I began to ease in. They kept me included and I smiled and laughed.
This family was different than others I had called my own. Professors and bankers speaking of politics, annual parties and taxes entwined with affection. Yet, they spoke with love and belonging, and my nervousness lessoned and I gently relaxed. He would look at me with his eyes of adoration and check on my level of calm. My grin encouraged him and it appeared all was on track for success, just as he planned.
So he slipped me a kiss and excused himself and off to the restroom he went.
Suddenly the stories shifted, and the attention was drawn to me. A few simple questions, and their head shakes and acknowledgement continued in the positive direction we had started.
And then, his aunt who sat beside me leaned in and asked, “Do you have children?”
“Yes, I have 4.”
And the fuse was lit. The news moved around that table, and the reaction was much the same.
4? You have 4 children?
The feeling in my stomach rose and entered my face in red. I could not believe he hadn’t told them.
As he entered back into the conversation he could tell something had rolled into the atmosphere.
As he listened to the next question fired towards me….and I told their ages of 10, 13, 14, and 17 he realized what had happened and nervously chuckled in response.
He squirmed in his seat, unsure which storm he needed to answer to first.
He thought about his preparation for this moment, and I sat and wondered about it too.
Me…I knew he should have never left me alone. And he wouldn’t through many more family visits.
Because that day, my sweet man had a
Author’s Note: I did marry this man. And this is one of the favorite stories to share when we all get together now. Now…I can laugh.