Weekend at the Lake (Meet the Parents)
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.
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.