By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 7/22/2018
Occurred: 1/29/1997
Posted: 2/25/2008
Topics/Keywords: #Humor #LakeMassebesic #MichaelManion #NewHampshire #WashingtonD.C. Page Views: 971
How I introduced my new boyfriend to the rest of the family…and them to him.

Today, February 25, is Michael's birthday. And since I have no stories of Michael's birth to share (those are his stories, not mine) I will use the occasion to describe our first day together, and how Michael met my family.

I've already described how we met in November of 1996 and how he came to celebrate New Year's with me at Manchester and Concord's joint First Night celebration.

We woke late on New Year's day, but I was determined to make the most of Michael's visit. So, after a quick brunch, we drove out to Lake Massebesic for the fresh air, the view, and the fun of walking on water.

The water was frozen solid, of course, which made walking on it a lot easier.

Paul, standing on thick ice.

Then, as when I'd first met him, Michael had shoulder-length hair.

Michael and the Moon.

We ran around on the thick ice like school kids, holding hands and generally goofing off and having a good time. There's something about sub-freezing air that encourages such things—perhaps it's only nature's way of keeping us from freezing our asses off. Or maybe it was something more.

Who needs skates when you're in love?

We'd gotten there late, and as the sun began to sink in the west and our ears to burn more fiercely from the icy wind, we began to think it was time to leave.

Is that your aura, or are you just glad to see me?

When I put him on the plane the next day, we'd already talked about possibly making a trip to Reston, Virginia, where my kids lived…obviously, for them to meet him. But this was also triggered by his casual comment that his oldest friend, Barbara, who now lived in Arizona, was going to be making a business trip to Washington, DC. I therefore thought that I would impress my new boyfriend and get to introduce him to my kids by staging a trip to the Nationís Capital.

Paul and Michael: Our first photo together.

I arranged to pick him up at the New Jersey Path station at Journal Square at 6:00 pm., which time would allow him to get off work and get out there. Unfortunately, I had a much longer road to follow, and traffic held me up, so that I didnít show up until after seven! Miraculously, he hadnít given up, and was still waiting—freezing in the February cold, but waiting.

Then, following a road I had driven literally dozens of times before, we managed to get so deeply into conversation that we suddenly found ourselves completely off our route, near New Jerseyís western border. Talk about making an impression on my new boyfriend! (Here's a general rule: I can navigate, or talk…but not both.)

Barbara and Paul: First meeting in this lifetime.

Amazingly, he did not leap from the car and hitchhike back to Manhattan. Instead, we managed to find the road we wanted and, eventually, made it to the hotel in Georgetown where we were to meet Michaelís high school friend.

Now, as it happens, and unknown to me until minutes before meeting her, Michael had "come out" to this person just a few days earlierÖover the phone! Also, I found out on the way down, he had once proposed to her shortly after her graduation from college. So, I didnít know what to expect.

However, she turned out to be a perfectly sane, and completely delightful person who'd known Michael since junior high.

The three of us went to visit a museum exhibit of Russian crown jewels, where I was a bit startled to see a painting of a Russian prince, in which the prince appeared to be a dead ringer for Michael. Of course, it was just a coincidence…or was it? Wasn't there a scene in Highlander just like this? Or if not, in Bewitched?

In any case, we then drove to one of my favorite places in Washington, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

Barbara and Michael: A monumental friendship.

Eventually evening came and it was time for us all to meet the kids at the Japanese restaurant.

Washington: A fairytale ending.

Dinner went well, I think, considering that this was the historic first meeting of my partner and his childhood best friend with two of my kids and my ex-wife.

Michael: I can't believe I'm having dinner with my boyfriend's ex-wife… Barbara: I can't believe I'm having dinner with my ex-fiance's new boyfriend… Karen: I can't believe I'm having dinner with my dad's new boyfriend… Mary: I can't believe I'm having dinner with my ex-husband's new boyfriend…

Wisely, the table chef kept his thoughts to himself.

This kind of thing never happen in Japan.

The result was our first family photo…and everyone in this picture, has been in many more since as our family has been extended to include my other two children, Michael's sisters and their families, Barbara and her husband and their families, and more. I know it sounds corny, but it's true nonetheless: There is always room at Love's table.

Karen Barbara Michael Jenny Paul Mary First family photo.

As Roseanne Rosannadana use to say, it's always something…but nothing needs to get in the way when there's mutual love and respect to go around.