Meeting The Boyfriend

Empty Nest


“Mommy, I want a play date with him,” my younger daughter said when I picked her up from pre-school at noon. “Sure,” I replied, pleased that she wanted her best friend over, but worried about entertaining him.  He was super bright, incredibly nice, but had Asperger’s and had never been on a play date.

I called up his mother and convinced her to let him come over.  Trains were his passion, I found out, so I set to work.  We would have a Train Day, and decorate T-shirts with pictures of trains, build trains from blocks, make Train Sandwiches, you name it.

The play date was a hit, everyone had a marvelous time, and best of all, he wanted to return.  His mom was amazed.  It was The Perfect Play Date.

Now I am wondering if I can pull it off again, but this time in a different iteration:  my older daughter is bringing home The Boyfriend.  I would like to say I have never met him, that I am a clean slate to him, but that would be—as my very polite father would say, an “untruth”.  I did meet him last summer, or shall we say he met me, when I visited her at the place where she spent the summer working—on an island in a lake in New England.  Three of us stayed overnight—all that was allowed—and in the morning said our goodbyes to her at the dock.  I managed to keep it together until I held her in my arms.  Then great big salty tears came out of nowhere, rolled down my face and fell splat onto the wooden planks at our feet.  I wouldn’t be seeing her for another six weeks, and then only for four days before she zipped off to college again.  I stroked her hair and hugged her harder.  “I miss you,” I whispered.  “I love you, Baby Girl.”  “I love you, too, Mommy.” I reluctantly let go and climbed into the motorboat.  The kid at the wheel, thankfully, did not make eye contact—but surely he was aware that the entire ride back to  shore I was sobbing.

It was The Boyfriend.

I learned this several months ago when she called to tell me she was seeing him, that she had been in the relationship for a while.  “Why didn’t you tell me? “  I protested. “I thought you told me everything!”  “I didn’t want to jinx it.”  Apparently my Baby Girl is growing up.

So now The Boyfriend is coming home to our house with her for Easter weekend, three days of marinating in our company.  I am in a flurry of excitement and nervous sweat.  Will I have the perfect play date again?  Will he like us?  Will he like me?  Will I embarrass her?  I have issued, in stages, to-do lists to the others in the family—to their occasional amusement and their occasional rebellion.  Yesterday I was informed that I will get a to-do list if I do this again!  And my older daughter has given me instructions: no letting on that I know The Boyfriend is a picky eater even though he really is one, no talking baby talk to the cats or indulging in what she calls my “cat obsession”, no “clingy behavior”.  Meanwhile, my younger daughter is busy reassuring me that I will, indeed, pass The Boyfriend’s scrutiny and make this another perfect play date.  “He is nice, Mommy,”  she says.  “You’ll see.”

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Parenting from the Empty Nest
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6 Responses to Meeting The Boyfriend

  1. mompalooza says:

    That’s great–your family will have a wonderful holiday! Enjoy!

  2. momshieb says:

    Oh, the nerves and butterflies! We have been through the ‘significant’ other a few times with our three kids. I don’t know who is more anxious, the parents or the “other”!
    I will pass on a bit of good advice from a friend of mine:
    You can just relax because if the relationship doesn’t last, who cares? If it does, you’ll have great memories to share later!
    Have fun, and hug those cats all you want!

  3. janfanakapan says:

    How terrifying for you. But be grateful that she has taken her time to make sure he is worth introducing to you. It’s easier on your heart that way. And, you think you’re scared? Imagine how he feels!

  4. Very true, much harder for the visitor.


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