I am a person who has said Fake it until you make it more than most. I think that I lived it this Thanksgiving and fortunately it all aligned quickly. Danny came over the day before Thanksgiving and before he left, he looked as if one of us was meeting the executioner in the morning. I saw the fear and it shook me.
Initially, I said my old fall back, “it is what it is” and I saw that was the wrong thing. I then took him by the shoulders and looked in his eyes and said it is going to be wonderful. I think I was trying to convince myself too. I heard a friend from work who said “what is there not to love when they meet you?” I prayed he was right.
I did not sleep well at all. I knew what was on the line. Danny’s words that he may be alone forever because his children did not want him to be with anyone. I was terrified too. But I had waited a long time for this day. I cannot say how many times I had said rip the damn band aid off so if you need to let me go I can go. Well that day was upon me.
I was scared and there was no other way to describe it. I just sucked it up and remembered how much I wanted this and how long I had been waiting. I must have played the David Lee Murphy and Kenny Chesney song “Everything’s going to be Alright” at least 5 times on the 5 mile drive from his house to mine. I was scared. I gathered myself as I pulled up to the house, took a deep breath and went to the door.
I decided to ring the doorbell. His oldest was wrangling his dog and he let me in. I went in with the case of wine and the cranberry sauce. I met the second oldest and they both shook my hands. Danny was obviously upstairs. I had texted him before I left my house and told him I was on my way and asked if he needed anything. I had not gotten a response. I asked the boys/en if they needed help it was declined, so I sat on the couch.
The oldest son’s girlfriend appeared. It was not until later I found out she had chosen to over indulge in alcohol the night before. She missed pretty much the entire Thanksgiving day and night. I talked to her for a bit. His youngest came down and introduced himself I went to shake his hand and I was engulfed in a bear hug. All the terror melted. Shortly there after I heard the text tone for Danny. He responded nope.
He then came down the stairs and was surprised to see me. In hindsight I am glad he let me fend for myself. It was better I made my own impression without him hovering.His daughter came down and there was a priceless Father/Daughter exchange about ripped jeans. I asked them if they had seen the Nick Saban press conference on it. They had not and I shared it later that night. It was too funny.
I did get time to know his second oldest and I was pleasantly surprised. I should not have been, as I really think he is more like me than not. I also spent time with the youngest and he melted my heart. Danny’s parents and two younger siblings also came to dinner.
Danny’s mom is adorable and I wanted to just eat her up. His dad, reminded me of Papi – Dan LeBatard’s father. His sister was nothing as I imagined and I did not get to know her. His brother well I gave it as good as he dished it out, we totally got each other.
I enjoyed the rest of the evening and it was so comfortable it flew by. I was invited by the second oldest to come for the big Rivalry games on Saturday. I was so grateful and touched. I was accepted. The fear that had been stirring in Danny did not come to reality.
I have been with them every day since Thursday. Yesterday, I spent a lot of time with his only daughter. I am happy she is open to getting to know me. I am also excited the two of us are going for a day trip to New York after Christmas.
Today, Danny and I went to the weekly Costco run and we had some really good discussions. I see now how deeply I am in this family and in his heart. He may not have said the words he loves me but it is evident.
I am pretty emotional about the turn of events. I have a relationship with each one of them in his family now. I had wanted this and now I see it has melted me to my core. Somewhere along the way here they found themselves in my heart. I feel like they have always been there. I had no idea I had the space to love these people I barely know.
I ran one final errand for Danny so he could spend more time with his family. I came back to the house to drop it off. It was right as his youngest two were headed back to college. I saw the sadness in his eyes and I could feel it. I knew more was coming as he still had to take one to the airport. I love this man and I am the one who helps him hit the reset button.
I waited a couple of hours and then texted him. “I saw the sadness in your eyes and felt it as I left you – I get why- but I am going to remind you how much they love coming home to be with you and the freedom that you give them is priceless. They love you deeply so reflect on that part and be happy that they enjoy coming home to be with YOU.”
I know he knows all these things it is just hard for him to focus on the good. I am working to help him stay in gratitude.
I am grateful for the glassy waves. I hope life is delivering you similar glassy waves.