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Our Story Begins: They Can Still Surprise You


Our Story Begins
The Can Still Surprise You


I had psyched myself up for the conversation. It was time they knew and had the discussion. It had been long enough.

I buckled down, screwed up my courage, and sat down at the kitchen table to talk with the three kids still in my house.

“I’m going to a party,” I told the kids.
“Yeah, we know,” they said.

I wasn’t starting well. I had informed them I had a cocktail party that I had to attend. I didn’t have a suit that fit so I had to go buy one. So this . . . they already knew.

I took a deep breath.

“But I’m not going alone,” I told them.
It was pretty much in unison.
“I’ve been on a few dates. I’m taking a very nice woman as my date to the party. I figured you should know.”

Related: Our Story Begins: How Do You Do This Dating Thing?

I looked at the three indifferent faces in front of me. The silence was deafening.

“That all,” they asked?
“Well . . . yeah. That’s it.”

They all looked at each other, shrugged, and began playing video games on their Game Boys.

“Umm…we’d kind of figured that out already, Dad.”
I opened my mouth but no sound came out.

This wasn’t some national secret here. I wasn’t sure how each kid would handle my starting to date again. At first it seemed pointless, the online dating community wasn’t working. I canceled my memberships to both sites.

“You don’t have a problem with that,” I asked them?
“Why would we have a problem with it,” asked my son, actually making eye-contact and allowing Mario to die on the screen of his game.
Again…my jaw opened but no noise came out.
“We want you to be happy,” my middle daughter explained. “Why wouldn’t we be okay with it?”

I didn’t think they’d be okay because, more than a year ago, when I had the same conversation with their older sister, it didn’t go well. She wasn’t happy about it and it strained things a bit between us. I ended up having to inform her that the fact she was now an adult and living in another state more or less eliminated her right to be indignant. We agreed to disagree on that. I had dealt with my grief and she was still dealing with it. Things are much better now.

Read more: Our Story Begins: Worry, Worry, Worry

So I sat at this table thinking I’d face a triple threat and instead had the wind taken away from my sails completely.

“Dad, as long as you’re happy that’s all that matters to us.”

Mario had died enough. It was time to navigate him to the top of the flag pole again, it seemed. All eyes were on the game boys.

I worried because after my wife had passed away I told my kids I wouldn’t lie to them. They never asked if I was dating and I just never told them because it wasn’t really a point of contention up until now. This time I had an event and events create talk. So talk I was.

“Why would you think we’d be upset about this,” my other son asked. I told them their older sister hadn’t been happy. They replied:
“well she isn’t here most the year anyway, so it really doesn’t affect her, does it?”
“No, and if she asks, I’ll tell her,” I informed them.
“But . . . no offense, dad, but for an investigative journalist you didn’t hide it very well. We’ve known for a long time.”

I smiled because, maybe they were right. I also realize, in more ways than one, I have really smart kids. They figured it out.

And they are still full of surprises.

What about you? Do your kids surprise you still?

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