It’s been almost two years now since Mr. Right contacted me on CatholicMatch with an email about himself and his family.
The thing I remember best about his profile was a picture of Mr. Right with all of his children dressed in their Sunday best. It’s funny, but I’ve always thought that the children were posed as if they were looking for me in that photo.
I, myself, have never posted pictures of my sons or grandchildren on my profile, so I do believe that when I told Mr. Right my sons were all grown up and married it seemed a little daunting to him.
He most likely wondered what type of interview these men would give to their mother’s suitor. I just smiled at the thought because, after all, they will always and forever be my baby boys.
Mr. Right and I actually dated about three months before I introduced him to my sons, daughters-in-law and granddaughter. I’m sure he was a little nervous about that first meet and greet, but any tension he had was released in laughter when my son Mike called us on the way home. As Mike’s voice boomed over the Bluetooth connection in the car, he announced that “the family committee” had put the seal of approval on Mr. Right and he was welcome back any time.
About two months later, Mr. Right invited me to his home, in a distant city, to meet the Right children.
The way I remember it, I stayed at a local hotel and before my meeting with the children, Mr. Right arranged for me to have a massage at a local salon. That did help to alleviate my tension, but I couldn’t help wondering what type of interrogation I was going to be subjected to. Maybe I had watched too many old movies, but I wondered if Mr. Right’s kids were on Santa’s naughty or nice list and perhaps that was why he thought I needed a massage.
I shouldn’t have been so worried, because later that same afternoon Mr. Right escorted me to his home, which I entered armed with a huge plate of my home-baked chocolate chip cookies.
Somehow those cookies struck a chord with the kids, particularly the teenage boys, who true to form are always hungry. Everyone greeted me with smiles and welcomes and our relationship was off to a successful start.
Because both Mr. Right and I are widowed parents, our relationship contains a lot of give and take. The giving is done in small sacrifices such as moving the time of our date because Mr. Right has to attend one of the kid’s baseball games — or a date might consist of my 3-year-old granddaughter’s birthday party. Not a romantic idea but definitely a test to see whether we are compatible on all levels.
Of course our phone time is also limited some days due to Mr. Right being the homework checker, chauffer and chief dish and bottle washer. I, on the other hand, may have a babysitting gig with a 1-year-old that I wouldn’t pass up for the world.
The taking for me is when I see smiles on the children’s faces when I bake them a delicious treat or the laughter we enjoy together, like the time I played poker with Mr. Right and his sons on Valentine’s Day. I remember, recently, the joy in Mr. Right’s daughter’s eyes as she showed me her engagement ring and the pleasure it gave me to share that moment with her.
This past Christmas, the Tess and Right children shared a meal and an afternoon of socializing. The women from each side pronounced both families “normal.”
Laughter abounded as my own sons regaled us with tales of antics that they had “gotten away with” as youth. I came away from that meeting with a few gray hairs from the stories and happiness down to my very core in knowing that it is possible for two families to change and grow together. So often we do what is best for the children, but in our case the reverse is also true: Our children are working together to do what is best for their parents.
Getting back to that picture of Mr. Right and his children…The thing is, before I met Mr. Right, I had asked God every night in my prayers to send me a man who had children because I felt that I was not done being a parent yet. And then I saw that photo of an entire family, who I thought was looking for me. God really does answer prayers because He sent me not only Mr. Right; He sent me the entire Right family.
Many years ago, Fleur Conkling Heyliger wrote a famous poem called “Not Flesh of My Flesh.” The poem speaks about a child from the viewpoint of an adoptive parent. The last line is especially poignant for me because it echoes the way that I feel about the children of my sweet Mr. Right. It states, “Never forget for a single minute you didn’t grow under my heart but in it.”