I didn’t introduce the guys I dated to my children. I would absolutely not put my kids through meeting men who didn’t have the potential of being a fixture in their lives. Mike and I had only been on one date. Once the kids were settled into bed, I was going with Amy to meet up with he and his friends. I felt the confidence of a woman who has nothing to lose. Mr. Right was a myth. Dating had become boring. Mike seemed great. Yet, I wasn’t hoping for anything.
I sat playing at the blackjack table with Amy. Mike would come stand by me or play a few hands. When I first sat down to play, I noticed a dime stuck to the bar room floor, NO THANK YOU! I wasn’t about to pick that up. At some point, I noticed Mike bending down to pick it up. Maternal instincts dictated that I put my hand down to shield his head from hitting the bottom of the table as he stood up. THAT was my intention. It was a reflex! I did NOT protect him at all. In fact, I knocked a glass of beer on his head as my hand moved down to “protect“ him. WHY??? He was soaked with beer! Thankfully, the glass didn’t break or even hurt him. It all happened in seconds. I was horrified, “Oh my gosh! Are you OK? I am SO sorry! I just didn’t want you to hit your head.” I became more sheepish at that last bit. Should I be checking his head for lumps or doing some sort of triage? Too weird. Keep your hands to yourself! Mike laughed, “I didn’t hit my head. Something hit my head. I’m not hurt. I’ll go clean up a bit. Keep playing. I’ll be right back.”
Well, I did keep playing. It seemed that barely any time at all had passed, when Mike reappeared, but something was different. “Is that a different shirt?” Oh Lord, do I really want to know? He chuckled, “Yes, I am wearing a different shirt.” Why on earth is he so amused? My friend, Amy, was ready with an answer as she looked at me incredulously, “Mike went home, showered, changed clothes, and came back. He must really like you.” I was mortified. I cringed inside, How could I not noticed how long he was gone? Oh my gosh, I’m an ass! However, when it was time to leave, he readily gave me a ride. I hadn’t blown it…. yet.
The ride home was filled with great conversation. Mike was growing on me. I mean, the man shrugged off having a glass of beer toppled onto his head, and having a beer shower. He went home, showered, changed, and returned to me. I still give him mad props for that! We pulled into the middle of my parents’ driveway. He got out and walked me to the door. The kiss was far above par. Perfect ending to an awkward evening. The end…. HA! If any normal person was telling a similarly cringeworthy date story, that would be the end. Only the insanity that was about to ensue could make MY date story complete.
I smiled as I went down the stairs to my room. Emily sat up in bed, I could see immediately the rosy cheeks and glossy eyes. It was clear she was running a fever. I kissed her forehead (the mom thermometer) and knew I needed to get her some Tylenol right away. I searched the closet downstairs and the medicine cabinet. I wasn’t seeing it. Soon Mom was up looking with me. And then came the knock on my bedroom window. What on earth? Now what? There stooped Mike, “My keys are locked in the car.” Please tell me this isn’t happening. This can not be happening! I met him at the door and invited him in, introducing him to my mom in whispers, and ushered him downstairs where Emily was waiting for Tylenol. “We have to wake your dad,” Mom was matter of fact. “Oh, Mom, NO.” I was dying inside. “Well, there’s no choice,” I knew she was right. Mike’s car was parked in the middle of the driveway. I’d never be able to maneuver Dad’s car out of the garage and around it.
To this day, there is an ongoing debate as to who locked Mike’s keys in his car. Of course it was probably me. Prove it. Mom and I flew into a frenzy, trying to located the Tylenol. When we finally found it, after what felt like ages, I gave it to Emily. She and Mike sat awkwardly in silence, eyeing each other. If they had conversation, I’ve no clue. Mike was an amiable guy, and Emily was pretty chatty when she was healthy and wide awake.
I returned to the entryway, sure my dad was going to be very unhappy. I resigned myself to my fate. I had no intentions, whatsoever of introducing Mike to any of my family yet. I did an inner eye roll, Seriously? Now? Like this? Mom woke dad up, no doubt with strict admonitions that he be nice. When they came downstairs, I began the awkward introductions, at which point, Emily interrupted, “Mom — You have a friend.” The humor of it broke the tension. I said, “Yes, Emily, I have a friend. This is Mike.” He was greeted by everyone with sleepy enthusiasm.
Dad got his car backed out of the garage, somehow maneuvering around Mike’s Oldsmobile. Maybe it helped that Mike drove an Oldsmobile. He and my dad were joking around about whose fault it really was that the keys were locked in the car. Knowing my track record in life, it was most likely me — still circumstantial. I tucked Emily, now cheerful because she had met my “friend”, back to bed. I was nervous about my parents having any conversation with Mike. TOO SOON! Mom pulled me aside, “Mike seems like a really nice man.” Yes, that was somehow the beginning of their fondness for him. Only Mike could bring their daughter home at nearly two in the morning, creating mayhem, and become immediately liked by my parents. The entire ordeal had been too much. Soon Mom and I were quietly giggling at the events that had just transpired. She hadn’t even been told of the beer shower debacle from earlier.
When Mike and I returned from getting his spare keys, He gave me a quick kiss in the car. Not taking any chances. Good choice! Mom and Dad were still up. Great. I saw the amusement in their eyes. Dad just looked at me and said, “You have a friend,” repeating Emily’s words from earlier. It was all too much, we had to laugh. How that all worked out with everyone cheerfully returning to bed in the middle of the night, is beyond me. Mike had won three members of my family over. I marveled at how he had remained so calm through the events of that entire evening. I actually kept that dime he picked up off the floor. As guarded as I was, I couldn’t help thinking that he might be a keeper.