So it finally happened: I met the parents. It’s been years since I’ve had to meet the folks. The Big Ex didn’t want his family to meet me so they wouldn’t get too attached to me; in hindsight this should have concerned me. My lack of parental contact over the past seven years combined with my string of not-quite relationships left me unprepared and more than a little nervous when it came to meeting the boyfriend’s parents.

To his credit Mr. Unexpected made it as easy on me as possible. We didn’t meet his parents at a fancy restaurant or brunch where I would probably have had too many mimosas in an effort to get comfortable. We met them at Tim Horton’s at King and John, close to home and so simple I couldn’t help but feel like myself.

The key to meeting new people is always having a sense of comfort, but to have all the pressure taken off also shows how much Mr. Unexpected cares about me. He knew I wasn’t totally excited about the prospect of meeting his family, he knew I was nervous and he knew that my past would make this particular meeting fairly difficult for me, but he did his best to make it easy. When his mother sat down I was actually reminded of my own mom: she’s sweet with a slight sarcastic edge and a down-home vibe, which made the whole experience feel like coffee with an old friend rather than the boyfriend’s parents.

While I won’t readily admit to wanting to get married and I’m always going to put my career first, there is a small part of me that fantasizes about being with a man who has a family that I love. My own family has changed over the years and I miss the big Christmases, the Easter dinners and the fire alarm going off every Sunday when dinner inevitably burns and everyone argues over what kind of take out to order. I’ve never seen family as this perfect beautiful thing but I miss the messiness of it all. I miss hearing the same story for the four billionth time about how my uncle convinced my grandfather that the soap he was making was actually white fudge.

Part of being in a relationship is being a part of the family, and while at first I wasn’t sure about it I feel more sure than ever that I can be part of Mr. Unexpected’s life and not just the easy parts. When I signed up for the girlfriend thing I signed up for all of it and I’m just now realizing exactly what that means but— and I won’t tell him this—I really like it.

The only problem with meeting his folks is that I had to tell my mother and now she’s wondering when she gets to meet him. She lives in Ottawa. Maybe it’s time for a road trip.


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