It’s official: tomorrow evening my mom will be in town with her husband and Mr. Unexpected and I are joining them for dinner. What else is official? I’m nervous.

My mom is a lovely lady, she’s fantastic and I’m so lucky to have her in my life, but the last time she met anyone it was the Big Ex and he left me a clichéd pile of tears and Ben & Jerry’s six months later. I’m not worried that Mr. Unexpected will leave me, we’re solid. What I worry about is that my mom still doesn’t trust my taste in men, I worry that she thinks I’m still the silly young girl running off to the most Northern parts of Ontario and I worry that she’ll put all that pressure on him.

Is it even normal to freak out about introducing a new man to your family? Do most people just think of it as a typical part of the dating process? I wonder about these things pretty much constantly. Never having been the commitment type, a lot of the standard dating behaviour feels foreign to me.

The funny thing about all this stress is that the thing that will keep me most calm is the exact same thing that is causing me stress. Mr. Unexpected knows how to calm me down in almost any situation, just having him beside me makes me feel less stressed out and more myself. He takes the edge off better than a shot of tequila.

I’m sure that mom will love him. In fact, she’ll probably start planning the wedding by dessert—not because she’s pushing me to get hitched any time soon but because she’s never seen me date a “nice boy.” According to my dear mom I have a bad habit of dating emotionally unavailable, damaged, broken and rebellious boys. Actually, I think whenever I tell her about a new boyfriend she pictures me on the back of a motorcycle in some kind of black leather get-up. Or maybe I’m exaggerating her strong dislike of everyone I’ve ever dated. But I’m probably not.

A friend of mine told me recently that I seem like a calmer, less high-strung version of myself lately and she attributed that to my relationship with Mr. Unexpected. While I’d love to take credit for the person I’ve become over the course of the past seven months I think she’s probably right. While I’m still the loud, slightly strange, sometimes crazy always moving lady that I’ve been since forever, I don’t let things get to me the way they used to. I don’t try as hard because I’ve found someone who likes me for my quirks rather than liking me in spite of them. According to him he’s learning to speak, “Wild Shannon.”

When tomorrow comes, after a glass of wine, I’m sure I’ll be fine because he’s not just another guy in my life, he’s not just another fling, he’s something real and the woman who knows me better than anyone will surely be able to see that. I hope.

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