Once, awhile ago, I was sitting an Irish restaurant* with theCSO, his parents and his sister Hillary. TheCSO was about to graduate from college. I'd been out a couple of years, tried grad school, disliked it, and left.
We were talking about theCSO's future plans.
Now theCSO is really, really smart. Smart enough to stay out of the little bar fights I start here, for example, and he's really really good with computers and for awhile was being flown around the country fixing them and setting them us. I used to say that theCSO's job was roughly "Batman." Now he's "the guy who trains Batman." I fully expect him to become "the guy who manages the guy who trains Batman" anytime now as Jesus himself couldn't get more fawning performance reviews. (Am I gushing? Sorry. I'm a little in love.)
But at this particular point in our lives together, theCSO and I weren't married and he didn't have a job. We were still kids in the eyes of his parents, and I see us that way myself in retrospect. It didn't help that I was something of a free agent myself in the employment department.
His parents were talking with great glee about the possibilities ahead and how he should be looking for jobs all over the country. He was listening quietly. TheCSO had been their son for 20-some years at that point, but he'd been my boyfriend for three, and I knew him pretty well. Excessive options do not lead to action for theCSO (or me, either, for that matter).
I said "I was thinking he and I could just pick a city, probably DC or Charlotte, and both move there and just look for jobs there. It's always easier to find a job in the city where you're living and that way we would both be looking for jobs in the same place."
Tension hit the table like a thunderclap. His parents both looked at me, concern for their son in their eyes and arguments on their lips. I get that now. Even long-term girlfriends are temporary and a job search is serious business. I'd had a post-college-wandering-around period that they quite understandably wished their son to avoid if at all possible. Goodness, I wish I'd avoided it.
Anyway, it was clear that my idea had not gone over well. At the table, everyone was silent for a moment, looking at each other like cowboys who just saw Black Bart walk into the saloon.
"Sounds reasonable to me," my now-sister-in-law Hillary said.
And then she went back to eating.
The tension broken, we all went back to eating and talking and planning, not as a family who wanted one thing and and a girlfriend who wanted another, but just as a family.
First he and I settled in Charlotte, where theCSO had a contract job for awhile. He did send some resumes to jobs in other places, but none of them worked out. Then we moved to DC where I had a contract job for awhile. Then we both got permanent jobs. Then we got married. Then we bought a house.
My guess is that theCSO and his mother will be surprised when they see this. I doubt that either of them will remember that moment. TheCSO's dad and Hillary don't read the Chaliceblog at all as far as I know. They may never see this and probably wouldn't remember the moment I'm describing if they did. But it was a pivotal thirty seconds in my relationship with the CSO and his family and in my seeing both he and I as adults.
TheCSO and I will have been together for ten years on December 5. We will have been married for 5 years on November 27. Today, I'm writing this from a coffee shop and used bookstore in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. At four o'clock, we will gather to watch Hillary get married.
Good luck, Hill. Wishing you love, luck and laughter on your wedding day.
*By which I mean "Irish-themed and in Charlotte, North Carolina"