He was the love of my life. His name was Michael. And the moment we met the connection was instant. Because in the next moment we were a ‘we.’
He was a carpenter and could make anything. He was smart and wise and had gentle blue eyes. I loved him with all my heart.
On our first Christmas Mike wanted to go home, which was Utah. He had two children from a previous marriage, and it made me a little nervous to meet them under such circumstances. They were quite young and since they lived in Utah and he in California I thought they wouldn’t want me gumming up the works and stealing their attention from their father. Was I right.
They were 5 and 6. Julie was like a little china doll with long dark hair and mesmerizing blue eyes, so deep you could get lost in them. And she had an adorable habit of singing conversation to you rather than just plain old talking. Her older sister, Annie, looked more like her dad with sandy hair and a quiet manner. They were cute and nice when they met me but kind of shy.
Mike’s mom, Marilu, was a hoot and a much better Martha Stewart than well, Martha Stewart. I learned that she had raised her three boys Mike and his two brothers pretty much on her own and I thought she’d done a wonderful job of it. She had a lovely home, beautifully decorated and a tree that took your breath away. Beneath that tree was an avalanche of presents, many of them for me. She couldn’t have been sweeter or kinder to me.
It felt wonderful to be in such a warm and welcoming home and I knew that it would be a Christmas that would go down in the history of my life. One I would fondly recall over the years. Heck it was like being in a Hallmark commercial for cripes sakes.
And then…the next morning. Have I mentioned that I’m not an early bird by nature? Oh no, the time had long since passed when I was up at the crack of dawn. Of course, at first light I heard the girls, muffled voices and laughs. But they were easy to ignore…at first. I simply burrowed beneath the quilt and reveled in the joy of such a comfortable bed.
Sadly, Annie and Julie weren’t as interested in my reveling as I was. For reasons known only to them there was an intense need for them to slam in and out of my room. “Aren’t you getting up?”
“No,” I mumbled and burrowed deeper under the covers.
Out they went. Slam went the door. A few minutes later. “She’s still sleeping?” Again, out they went, again slam went the door. And it kept up and up. Til finally, I took the hint and stumbled out of bed. I was none too pleased and asked Mike what it was all about. Like a good boyfriend and father he ‘spoke’ to the girls and they apologized as sincerely as they could muster – but I’m pretty sure I saw a glint in their eyes at having acheived their objective.
It put a wrinkle into the day and I feared our stay there. There were several more days to go and I worried that without even trying I’d gotten Mike’s girls to hate me. This is never a good sign, especially in a new relationship. So I put on a happy face and tried to befriend them. They weren’t too interested in that – they were polite but not really warming up to me. Oh drat!
Later that day, we were all doing to a showing of a holiday show for the kids. I had been smart and borrowed a very warm coat from a friend, since I heard it got powerful cold in Utah. Though it was relatively warm (for Utah in the winter) I took the coat with me. The girls wore light jacket over their sweaters and jeans. When we arrived at the theater we realized that we would be standing in line, which was quickly becoming long and winding.
It was only going to be about a 30 minute wait but, hey we weren’t in L.A. – we were in Salt Lake City. Suddenly the sky clouded over and the temperature dropped by about 20 degrees. Even I felt a chill under my nice big fur coat. The girls were shivering within minutes. We suggested maybe we should pass on the show and go to some nice warm place and eat or have eggnog but the girls’ hearts were set on the show. So I opened my coat and invited the girls in. We all snuggled inside that spacious warmth like it was a big family sleeping bag – but still the girls were cold. So I did what anyone would do – I took off my coat and wrapped it around them. Then the four of us did that kind of huddle you do at highschool football games when it starts to snow and you have to stay til the end even if you’re freezing your bageebers off.
After what seemed like an eternity, we were finally allowed inside. Honestly, I don’t remember a thing about the show. What I remember is that suddenly two little girls loved me and wanted to sit next to me and in my lap and fought over who got to do what.
I was officially adopted at that point. The rest of our stay was just like a Hallmark movie without the tears. And when it came time to leave it felt as if I was leaving my own children. We all cried and said goodbye and made plans for a summer visit. But that seemed oh so far away.
But we got in our VW bug, now loaded with gifts, and pulled away from the curb. I watched out the window to see if I could see the two angel faces in the window, that I knew were there.
“We’ll see them soon, honey,” Mike said as I wiped at tears.
I nodded, looked straight ahead and immediately started wishing for summer.