Chapter 2: Hello, SD
As we ended Chapter 1, SO and I were at the start of our new relationship. It was an exciting time for both of us, the ‘honeymoon’ phase of things. We had wonderful dates and began to spend overnights at each other’s places. In October 2015, he jetted off to SD’s university for Parent’s weekend. He spent time walking the campus with SD, checking out her dorm and classes, and going through the agenda of university-sponsored parent-child events. I made sure to give him space for this and did not text or call during their weekend together, but was excited to hear his stories when he returned. How was SD acclimating? Was she enjoying the school? Her classes? All seemed well.
The next couple of months for our new relationship marked some milestones. We celebrated SO’s birthday together, the first as a couple. For Thanksgiving, we drove north to spend the holiday with SO’s brother – it was the first of his family I met. Soon after Thanksgiving, the Christmas season rolled around and SD arrived home for her winter break.
As our relationship was still new – we had committed to seeing each other exclusively but had not gone further than that – I gave SO and SD some time alone after her arrival to catch up. A couple of days later, SO invited me to dinner at his apartment so we could meet. I arrived after work and my first impressions were that she seemed like a typical teenager (she was 18 at the time). She was dressed like most teen girls did – a T-shirt, skinny jeans, and boots. SO offered some wine and we had some basic chit-chat before dinner – how was her flight, did she enjoy her first semester at college, how was she adjusting to the change in weather. Her responses were brief – not quite one word but not much embellishment around them either. She didn’t ask me any questions and seemed a bit shy, which I thought was understandable.
We sat down to dinner - a simple pasta and veggies meal – and the conversation continued. Well, at least it continued between SO and SD. I felt like I had turned a bit invisible but again, I thought this was understandable as there were likely nerves all around. I didn’t know at the time this was going to be a wave of the future. After dinner, SD got up and walked away to the living room. And left her plate there on the table. I picked it up with my own and brought it to the kitchen where SO was cleaning up a bit. I thought it a bit ill-mannered for an 18 year old to not pick up their own plate after dinner. Again, at the time I did not know how large dirty dishes would loom in our future.
I left that evening feeling like the initial introductions had gone well. Sure, SD seemed quiet and I wasn’t really pulled into their conversation, but that was normal for a first meeting, right? Surely, I reasoned to myself, SD would warm up to me over time. I’m a swell person (if I do say so myself) so why wouldn’t SD like me?
In Chapter 3, we’ll fast forward to 2016 – a milestone year for me which marked a new home purchase, a deepening committment between SO and I, and SD’s return home for summer. More to come…