The proposal

We slowly started emerging as a family of five. Trying on the guise of an intact family. Joe now 23, Zoe 7, Marley 5, Malia 3 and I’m 35. Joe has the intuition of a much older man and he steps into the role of father figure. This role has been void since my first marriage. Joe begins watching the kids while I work, alternating shifts so that we can accommodate breadwinning with the needs of homeschooling. When I reflect back over this time I remember tons of camping, field trips and nature exploration. We were learning to become a family as we tamed the great outdoors.

Joe came to me shortly after we we had started dating and told me he felt like he had won the million dollar lottery ticket. After being in a loveless marriage for ten years, I was overjoyed to be with someone who not only was falling in love with me but also with my children . One day Mom, Kate, the kids and I decided to go to Wild Quail with Joe. Mom and I wheeled Kate to the baby pool so she could soak her gnarled feet in cool water. Joe had taken all the kids to the deep end to play Marco Polo, Gram, Mom and I craned our necks to see Joe without his shirt as he jumped in to play with the kids. We were overcome with giggles as he held his nose before he took the plunge!

Later that summer we decided we were going to all meet at our beach house in Bethany. This was our safe haven for years, growing up, LSD ( lower slower Delaware ) was our refuge, our breathing space. Mom and her crew had headed down the day before. Joe and I loaded up the kids for the weekend. It should have been an hour and a half trip! Bathroom stops, air for the tire. bearcubbing, and cries of hunger required a stop in Milford, about forty minutes from our house. When we got out, we realized Marley’s blood sugar was plummeting and I proceeded to run into McDonald’s to get a sugar soda to alleviate the hypoglycemia that was coming. We finally reached the beach house and I climbed out of the car and drug myself up to my second story bedroom. Joe got the kids comfortable and kneeled at the foot of the bed. I raised my head up suspiciously, unsure of his intentions. Was he going to try to rabble rouse me? Urge me to get up and join the fray? No, he got down on one knee, and asked, “will you marry me?”

Are you kidding me? Most men would run, no this man…this boy/man who just happened to live next door to me…saw the craziness, the brokenness, the fragility of a single mom trying to raise three kids while also helping her mother and grandmother….this man was saying…I do! I do to the mess, the brokenness. I choose you!

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