Where we last left off, Mr. W had just popped the question. For the rest of the day and part of the next, we got to revel in the fact that we were newly engaged and bound to be with one another for the rest of our lives.
I couldn’t think of anything more perfect.
Driving back, I was anxious to get the word out. I quickly let my sister know with an excited and gushing phonecall. And then we drove to my parents’ to spring the good news. It only took 5 minutes of waving my hand around for my mom to notice the shiny brilliance on my finger. We drove home and unpacked, resting up a bit before I went to gather my children from where they were staying while we were away.
First pickup was my son. His friend’s mom and I stood in the driveway excitedly gossiping about upcoming wedding plans, how he asked, and anything else wrapped around that ring on my finger. The Taz came out with his things, and his friend’s mom breathlessly told him I had some news for him. Taz looked at me expectantly, and I held my hand up to show him the ring. He rolled his eyes and sighed loudly.
“I knew it!” he muttered, and I put my hand down, smiling sheepishly in my embarrassment.
“Taz,” my friend said. “Congratulate your mom!” she ordered him.
“Congratulations mom,” he mumbled, putting his stuff in the car. But he moped for only a second. His first reaction was forgotten as we stayed a few minutes longer to talk with his friend’s family, and then as he told me about his weekend on our way home.
“Do you really hate the idea?” I asked Taz. He shook his head.
“I was just kidding,” he told me, even though I knew he hadn’t been. Truth is, while I would have loved an excited reaction from him, I wasn’t surprised that he had been disappointed. I knew he liked Mr. W. Sometimes I even think he loves him. But the idea of his mom getting married was still a really large change.
And his reaction only made me dread telling his older sister even more.
DQ has always been quite clear in her stance on Mr. W and me. She likes the guy. But she was not a fan of us moving in together. While the Taz had welcomed that stage with great enthusiasm, DQ sulked about it for weeks before finally accepting her plight in life. And yet, I always knew that she would have preferred it had I stayed single for the rest of my life. It wasn’t that she wanted me to get back together with her dad – that ship had sailed long ago. And it wasn’t that she wanted Mr. W and I to break up. But she missed the time when it was just she, Taz, and me all in one house.
I seem to also remember another time when DQ had been adverse to change. It was a little over 4 years ago, during the first week of living in our brand new apartment, when helicopters were circling overhead while we timidly peeked through curtained windows. As the police shut down the streets near our Santa Rosa condo on the westside, she told me we never should have moved out of my parents’ house. It was only one of many times that she would blast me in this decision to leave the safety of the country and all her friends to move to this cramped apartment of our own where money was tight and everyone looked at us funny.
It was the same place she was now wishing we lived instead of a house full of people all over again.
I walked in the door where she was staying with my sister-in-law. While tense about what she would say, part of me hoped that maybe she might be fine with this. I had talked with the kids plenty of times about the engagement that was bound to happen at any time, preparing them for when the event actually happened. And while it wasn’t her favorite news, she had offered many ideas for how the wedding should be and what we all should wear. She had even been there when I picked out the ring Mr. W would one day present me with. And so, with lots of hope and a bit of luck, I held up my finger when she looked at me.
She took one look at it, and stormed out of the room.
The goodbyes at my sister-in-law’s house were short, and the ride home was silent. I got home at the same time as Mr. W did from picking up his own son. And by the way his son silently left the car and slipped into the house, I had a feeling the news wasn’t any better on his side. I caught Mr. W’s eye, and his expression said it all.
We had the support of our families. We had the support of our friends. But the kids, whose opinion and support meant the most of all, could not have hated this decision worse.
To be continued…