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Weekend at the Lake (Meet the Parents)

October 28, 2010
Lake Gaston at sunset

Lake Gaston at sunset. Photo courtesy of ME for once 🙂

I sang the entire way to the lake, while Chef slept next to me in the passenger seat. We were both feeling kind of sick, having been out far too late the night before and having had a few too many drinks. But this was big Halloween lake weekend – not that it was actually Halloween weekend, but at my family’s lake place, they celebrate Halloween and the last weekend of the season the weekend before Halloween. So we had to get excited. This was our first trip together.

Chef has admitted that he’s nervous – you see, he’s meeting my mom and step father for the first time during this trip. He’ll also be meeting a couple dozen people who read this blog who happen to be lake goers – they have been known to read the blog aloud over the campfire a time or two. Needless to say, this will be their first time meeting the infamous Chef.

I didn’t really see this as “meeting the parents.” The lake is the place for fun, partying, pretending to camp out (when you are really in an air-conditioned trailer). I’ve brought friends, I’ve brought guy friends, I’ve made out with guys here … it is just the lake. It’s in no way equivalent to me bringing Chef home, collared shirt and all, to meet my parents over Sunday dinner. Or so I thought.

Chef seems surprised that I am literally going to sing the whole way to the lake (the full hour and a half). I like to sing like I’m trying to win a Car Grammy. We’re almost there when he interrupts my singing (probably for the best) and declares that he’s no longer nervous. I tell him I think that’s good, because there’s nothing to worry about. No biggie.

We pull into the campground, down the gravel road, driving 10 miles an hour (as I’m remembering the time the Ranger chased after me in a golf cart, screaming, “Ten means ten!” as I’m going a total of 14 miles an hour), and slowly make the turn around to my mom’s camper. She waves us in and tells us where to park.

I put the car in park, and Chef turns to me and says, “I’m nervous now.”

Umm. So was I. All of a sudden, Chef was meeting my parents.

Lake Gaston

Picture of Lake Gaston in daytime. Yet another picture courtsey of me

And so began a weekend of firsts. The first time Chef has been camping, which made me incredibly excited because I felt like I was saving some sort of inner-city youth from a life of crime and no extracurricular activities. The first time, in seven years, I’ve introduced a love interest to my parents. The first time I really appreciated how darned lucky I am that I have this lake place in which to go. I’ve been going for more than ten years, and somehow I forget that not everyone has such a wonderful place to go in the summers. To go camping, boating, jet skiing, line dancing; to spend time with family and friends; to drink so much you can’t drive – but guess what, you are at the lake and you don’t have to drive anywhere if you don’t want to, you can just stumble home. I found myself talking up the place so much to Chef, we all were, that at one point he jokingly remarked it felt like he was at a time share presentation. Which was hilarious and oddly strange, because it’s been a long time since I felt this strongly about the lake.

I didn’t think I’d love the lake again. My ex fiancée and I bought a cabin there last summer, spruced it up, made it our own. It was our little home, our little experiment of living together (on weekends), before we actually moved in together. It felt like a major foray into adulthood. I didn’t need to spend the night at my parent’s camper anymore; my ex and I owned a cabin together. It all felt very official (and became even more official with the engagement and pending wedding). Then we broke up and sold the cabin, and I never thought I would love the lake again. I thought I’d always think about this life I’d lost and resent having to stay at my mom’s camper again.

But here I found myself giving Chef the time share presentation, greatly appreciating this place of my childhood and of so many family memories. I found myself comfortable at my mother’s camper again, selling Chef on the fact that if we are together in the summer, he can come and go fishing. And feeling my heart hurt (in a good way, a touched way) when Chef said he hasn’t been finishing since his dad died. Damn it, I wanted to run to Wal-Mart right then and buy this guy a fishing pole.

We had a really fun time at the lake. I dressed up for Halloween for the first time in years (post on this to come in the future). We went to the dance, and Chef danced with me. He danced with me even though he’d given me fair warning that he might not; he wasn’t the dancing type. He didn’t just dance to a cheesy high school prom slow song, he also danced to the Cha Cha Slide (everybody clap your hands!). On a slow dance, we discussed the need for us to have a song. Wow, I never thought about having a song with someone new. Why do I forget these things get to happen all over again for me?

And when I asked, anxiously, what everyone thought of him, the most heard remark was that he seemed to make me so happy. That they hadn’t seen me this happy in a long time. And that he seemed so infatuated with me, took good care of me and looked at me with such passion.

We came home on Sunday, and I took the day off on Monday. We spent the day together, and later that day, something came out of me that was bursting to come out all weekend. Monday night we were talking in bed for hours (and it wasn’t even bedtime), and he was listening to me – it felt like he was REALLY listening to me and understanding me – and suddenly I said it. I told him I loved him. Totally on my own, not out of guilt or because he said it first. And no, I didn’t take it back this time.

And since then I’ve been thinking about firsts. I forgot what this felt like. Literally forgot how exciting it can be to show someone your world, and learn about theirs. To experience new things together, build new memories. I was so used to knowing so much about my ex fiancée, having experienced so much with him, that I honestly forgot how fun it can be to start fresh with someone. There are no old wounds, there are no drag out fights from three years ago, there are no preconceived notions of what your relationship is supposed to be. Everything is new, fresh and frankly, a little addicting because it’s not always going to remain so new.

When we left at the end of the weekend, Chef said, “I’ll see you soon” to my mom. It kind of struck me off guard. I have been fighting this relationship in my brain this whole time. When he said that, it made me feel really good inside. The whole weekend made me feel really good inside.

When he left for work that night, and I was alone for the first time in more than 24 hours, I thought a little more. This whole time I’ve been questioning whether I’m ready for a relationship with Chef, I’ve been thinking about what I’m possibly missing. First dates. First kisses. Recklessly flirting. I’ve been telling myself that I have never had the chance to do those things. And yes, while those things are incredibly fun, I didn’t give enough credit for how fun this is. This is firsts, too – just firsts with one person. I’m not sure why that never occurred to me. And frankly, I’ve only done this a couple of times in my life. And it’s just as valuable – if not more – than was my quest on the Year of Yes.

All this to say, I had a good weekend. And it all started with singing in the car while Chef slept next to me.

New to Simply Solo? Feel free to read back to how Chef and I got here. Posts are ordered from most recent to oldest.

Levels of Love

3 a.m.


Dating Red Flags or Deal Breakers

On Liking Someone

Five Dates With Chef Recap

Sad Face

The Chef: Part 2

The Chef: Part 1

36 Comments leave one →
  1. October 28, 2010 8:37 am

    This is so gorgeous. I’m really happy for you. And, weirdly, jealous!

  2. Kelly permalink
    October 28, 2010 8:53 am

    Everyone was right you looked happy and he seems like a really nice guy. Just remember things happen for a reason although most of the time we can’t see that reasoning at the time. There is a plan for your life and I think you are falling nicley into that plan.

    • October 28, 2010 3:33 pm

      Kelly: Aw, thank you. He is a really nice guy and treats me very well. I appreciate your nice words 🙂

  3. October 28, 2010 9:15 am

    I’m glad you felt comfortable saying “I love you” to Chef! I’m looking forward to seeing your costume.

    • October 28, 2010 3:34 pm

      I know, I was scared to say it again (lest I want to take it back) but all has been good! Whew! 🙂
      Now on the costume, haha… I really want to post it, but damn, the pictures are really embarassing. My task for tonight is to find a blog-appropriate picture 🙂

  4. Nancy permalink
    October 28, 2010 10:20 am

    So THAT was the “nervous” guy sitting next to you at your campsite! LOL. Wish we had been able to stop by for chili to get to know him better, but the little one was TIRED after trick or treating around the entire campgrounds…cabin area included…so we needed to stay put.

    • October 28, 2010 3:35 pm

      Haha, yep that was him! Sorry I didn’t get a chance to introduce you. I bet trick-or-treating was tiring! No worries, hopefully Chef will still be around next summer to meet you 🙂

  5. Nikki permalink
    October 28, 2010 10:25 am

    Wooooo hoooooooooooooo! Now THIS is the post I’ve been waiting for! Best of luck!

    • October 28, 2010 3:35 pm

      Haha, you and me both! 🙂 Thanks for reading and for your comment!

  6. 2 New Beginnings permalink
    October 28, 2010 12:04 pm

    Glad to see you are finally able to open yourself up to a new love and can now say the 3 words to someone other than your ex. Congratulations on moving forward….not looking back…you are well on your way.

    Isn’t it amazing how love finds you when you least expect it. Here’s to new beginnings!

    • October 28, 2010 3:40 pm

      I’m really excited about it too! Thanks for your nice words and comment. I like it – here’s to new beginnings 🙂

  7. John permalink
    October 28, 2010 2:03 pm

    this is great catherine. I havent read your blog in a while out of my friendship with “chef”, but I’m glad I did today. Your blog is also top news on facebook for me (smart facebook). You can thank my wife and I sometime for “the hookup” (nice dinner cooked by chef, of course!)

    • October 28, 2010 3:38 pm

      Hello John! Thanks for reading and commenting… I imagine your friendship with Chef makes it, um, interesting to read this, to say the least. LOL. We absolutely do have to a do a dinner sometime. And I’m happy to say, I definitely will not be doing the cooking 🙂

  8. Lost in France permalink
    October 28, 2010 2:12 pm

    Wow that was a great opener for me. Think I might need toi go back and get some history though.

    BTW Good luck

  9. Matt79 permalink
    October 28, 2010 3:05 pm

    I’m glad to hear that the weekend went really well – and I think that you sound more and more ready for this relationship. Here’s to lots more great firsts!

    • October 28, 2010 3:39 pm

      Thank you! I am feeling more and more comfortable in this relationship, and to be honest, in my own skin. You know what I mean? Appreciate your comment!

  10. October 28, 2010 4:10 pm

    Hey Catherine,
    I found your blog on cocktailsattiffanys and based on their comments about your blog I felt the need to read it. I only got through this first one but just needed to say that I know how you feel. I am currently going through a TON of firsts with a new guy and I never appreciated it all until I was reminded by your blog. Like you said, even though it’s fun to have lots of firsts again and again, it makes you feel really good to have it all with one person.

    I’ll definitely keep reading 🙂

    • October 30, 2010 3:53 pm

      Amanalynn: Thanks for reading and for your comment! Glad you found me through cocktailsattiffanys – I LOVE those ladies :). Aren’t the firsts great? I didn’t even really realize them (or appreciate them) myself until I started prepping this blog post. It’s amazing how much just taking the time to reflect on the things that are happening in our lives can have them impact us even more. You know? Thanks so much for reading. I’m off to check your blog out too!

  11. October 28, 2010 5:10 pm

    Aw…YEAH! I’m so excited for you!

    I know those firsts you’re talking about…maybe someday I’ll be ready but right now I’m participating in the firsts I never had when I was dating!

    • October 30, 2010 3:55 pm

      mct88: Thank you! When you’re ready – they’ll be amazing. But enjoy your time now as well – it seems you are, from your blog anyway! 🙂

  12. Vanessa Patrick permalink
    October 28, 2010 11:05 pm

    Catherine it sounds like you had a blast. Trust your heart. When someone leaves your life it was meant to be. God moves opticals to make room for the real deal. He allowed you to experience some things, have lots of fun get it out of your system so you could be ready when Chef comes into your life you would be ready to receive and accept his love and be extremely happy. You go girl, enjoy this man like God intended for you to do. Love ya!

    • October 30, 2010 3:56 pm

      Hi Vanessa,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. It was really a fun time. I appreciate your words and they’ve really given me some things to think about. Love you too!

  13. October 29, 2010 1:53 am

    See how right it feels when the words come out naturally? I’m happy for you! And jealous of your lake. I’d love to have a weekend getaway I could go to!

    • October 30, 2010 3:57 pm

      You are right on – feels great!! As far as the lake, I’m really excited that I’m in love with it again too. I’ve taken it for granted for far too long!

  14. October 29, 2010 1:18 pm

    AHH I can’t believe you said it! YAY!!! Looovvedd this post by the way, you’re such an amazing writer!

    • October 30, 2010 3:57 pm

      Thank you so much Gizzy! I know I can hardly believe it either. We’ve been saying it out of control ever since lol 🙂

  15. October 30, 2010 11:32 am

    So happy for you! Sounds like you’re in a really great place. 🙂

  16. November 2, 2010 12:38 pm

    I’m really late on reading this one but I am very very happy for you!!!

    This is awesome and made me smile. 🙂


  1. Catherine Takes On Halloween: Part 2 « Simply Solo: Single girl starting over – follow the journey
  2. Catherine’s Dating Resume « Simply Solo: Single girl starting over – follow the journey
  3. Breakup Prescription « Simply Solo: Single girl starting over – follow the journey
  4. One Hospital « Simply Solo: Single girl starting over – follow the journey

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