This past Friday, the fourth of July, I met D.P.’s family. I wasn’t intimidated in the least, except for the thought of meeting his daughter. I was nearly terrified at one point, and I told him last week that the only reason I was nervous about meeting his daughter was because he was making me that way. LOL

I left my house at about a quarter-past nine that morning and drove to his house. Wearing nothing but his shorts, D.P. was in the front yard watering the flowers when I arrived. I helped myself to a bowl of cereal and watched his beautiful body move. When he was done watering, we visited a very busy Wal-Mart, where we picked up some last minute meat and condiments for the BBQ at his parents’ house later that afternoon. We still had a couple of hours before we needed to be at the BBQ, so we checked e-mail and did some other random things before we headed out at about 3 pm.

The plan was that he would take me to his parents’ house and then would go pick Valerie up from her mom’s house. [At first, I was supposed to meet him over there, which was fine with me, but he decided that he would rather take me himself so that’s what we ended up doing.] When we arrived at the house, he introduced me to his mom, Marsha, who was so sweet and funny. D.P. asked where his dad was, and we were informed that Don was still at Chaylene’s house, where he had been helping Chaylene and Luann move sheet rock and more for the basement. After the three of us talked for a while in the kitchen, D.P. left to pick up Valerie, and Marsha and I moved to the family room to sit on the couch. We talked about her own visit to the hospital in April, and what had been going on with her mother (the family calls her Grammy). Even though the subject matter was very serious, the conversation remained light, just as I expected it to be. I felt very comfortable talking with her, and hoped the rest of the day would be as easy.

It wasn’t much longer before Don and the rest of the family (Chaylene, Luann and their five kids) showed up. I was particularly excited to meet their oldest daughter, a foster child named Desiree. 🙂 The look on her face when she was introduced to me was precious, and I will never forget it. I shook hands with each family member as I was introduced to them, including the kids – some of the children were more receptive to my hand than others, and that was okay with me. Sometimes, it’s hard meeting someone new, isn’t it?

Eventually, D.P. and Valerie arrived.

[There had been some discussion prior to that day (and a little on our way to the house) between D.P. and I whether or not Valerie would come to the party knowing that I was going to be there. I wasn’t comfortable at all with D.P. not telling her, and essentially surprising her at the BBQ, and I was very clear about that. He was afraid if he did tell her, she wouldn’t come. I was of the opinion that, with her being an adult (however immature she is at this point), she should be free to make her own decision in regards to supporting (or not supporting) her dad moving on with a new relationship. I didn’t think it was fair for him to make that decision for his daughter, and he agreed. However, he remained concerned that Valerie would fill Cheryl in on all the details after the party; I told him I didn’t give a rat’s patooty if she did. After all, Cheryl’s opinion should not concern D.P. in the least. Girls are going to talk, yes. But, giving her the power to alter your life, I just don’t see any benefit in that.]

Valerie saw me when she walked in, and didn’t really acknowledge me until D.P. introduced us. I tried not to be afraid and/or intimidated. I shook her hand, and she played nice. During the course of the afternoon, I didn’t really talk to her as much as I had hoped I would. I knew she wouldn’t be the one to initiate conversation, but I had hoped it would have been easier than it was. It was almost like I lost all brain activity… I couldn’t think of a single thing to talk to her about, other than school, and I didn’t think she would want to talk about that while she was on vacation. I did look at her in the corner of my eye on a few occasions, and she was smiling. I’m not sure if she was smiling at me, or at the conversation in general, but I never saw an eye-roll or anything disrespectful. At the end of the visit, she said goodbye, and told me it was nice to meet me. To me, it was a successful introduction. 🙂

During the time I was at the house, I was able to really speak with Chaylene and Luann, which was cool. The kids were great, too… at one point, the middle (foster) child, Izzy, was sitting in D.P.’s lap and started to get down. I looked at her and half-whispered, “If you get down, I’m going to sit in D___’s lap.” She hopped right back up there and smiled. I laughed. Later, she stood next to me and said, “I love you.” I responded with a big smile and said, “You do? How sweet!” and gave her a hug. What a little doll. I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to get to know his dad more, but the girls kinda took over. Next time, I plan on making it a priority to talk to Don.

Dinner and dessert went well, and when the family was getting ready to go see the local fireworks display, D.P. took Valerie home. I had to wait to leave until he got back, which seemed like it took forever, but it was okay as I was able to get in some last-minute conversation with Chaylene. She startled me when she used the word ‘husband’, and I was concerned that she knew I was still married to Rob. I talked to D.P. later about it, and told him I was disappointed that she had known such an intimate detail about my life when I didn’t even know that she knew about me in the first place! Fortunately, it didn’t seem to bother Chaylene or Marsha (D.P. said he had mentioned that Rob and I have been separated for three years, but wasn’t sure how his sister knew. I know how she knew.), so I am not going to concentrate on it that much.

When D.P. got back to the house, we went in with his mom to retrieve the leftover meat and condiments and Marsha asked if they would be seeing me again. I said yes, and we talked briefly about what family functions were coming up next. I said goodbye to everyone, and shook their hands one more time. I felt comfortable enough to give Marsha a hug, and hoped that was okay. I assume it was, because she hugged me back. LOL

It was a complete relief for me (and I know it was for D.P. as well) that the ‘meeting’ had gone so well, and I’m really looking forward to the next time I’ll be with them.

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