I don’t know if I’ve told this story here or not… I’ve probably told it 100 times but I can’t even remember what I had for lunch yesterday never mind if I wrote a blog post about something that happened 14 years ago or not.
Back in 2007 when Jen and I first started dating, she had a rule that we needed to stick to. Anyone she dated had to be around for six months before they were allowed to meet the kids. I liked that rule, not because I was insanely nervous about meeting the kids (I was, of course) but because it was a sign to me that she cared more about them than anything in the world including any potential new relationships she might find herself in. It meant that the kids came first, and she wasn’t going to let them get attached to someone who might not be around for the long haul.
Six months later we were still going strong and the day came when I was to meet Bellana and Harry. The plan was to go to a Chuck E Cheese near my office in Framingham after work. Obviously I was terrified. I had zero experience with kids and if they hated me right off the bat it was all going to be over for me and Jen. She told me that Bellana (age six) was a little more outgoing and probably would be more interested in me. Harry (age four) was a little more shy and would probably clam up.
We met outside of the building so that we could all go in together. It went exactly the opposite of how we expected. Bellana hid behind her mother and was very shy. Harry, with all the confidence in the world, walked right up to me and asked if I wanted to see a paper he had worked on in pre-school that morning. He was completely fearless.
By the end of the evening both kids seemed comfortable with me and I was already loving them. They accepted me right away, and they accepted the idea of me and their mother being together right away. I can’t thank them enough for that. Even now, 14 years later, I am pretty stunned at how well that night went. I will never forget it, and I will also never forget that Harry was the first one to welcome me into the family. I love both of those kids more than I ever dreamed I could love anyone.
Once again, happy 18th birthday, Harry.