Update from In The Cards
After the meeting at Ruby Tuesday, Ken and I took our time getting to know each other better. I laugh when I recall how our friends and families “grilled” each of us as we slowly merged our lives. During drinks at a professional conference, I was aware that his colleagues were steering conversation in order to assess whether I might hurt their friend. His golf buddies and others took similar approaches. Standing at a party one evening chatting with new acquaintances, I surveyed the room and liked what I saw. Ken was introducing me to genuinely nice, interesting people who truly cared for him. They smiled at him, sought him out for conversation, and watched admiringly as he got down on his knees to help clean up another guest’s spilled wine. My own heart warmed as I watched him, and I hoped these new friends would like me too.
Although he had eased me into his world by introducing me to a few people at a time, I truly tested his strength by hitting him with it all at once. It was a pre-Christmas gathering at my home and included many of my friends and family. I’d told Ken lots about them all, but feared information overload would make him uncomfortable. Hours beforehand, I sat at my computer creating neat name cards with small pictures to help him make connections. My friend the PE teacher’s card had a basketball near her name. A police hat adorned another friend’s tag. It worked! Ken spent the evening amicably chatting with everyone and making connections (and jokes) based on the name tags.
My 2-year-old granddaughter watched him closely throughout the evening, never getting too close. As the evening wound down, she politely circled the room with her parents saying her goodnights to everyone. As she got to Ken, she hesitated. Finally, she took a step forward.
“Hold me,” she said softly and climbed into his lap. She looked intently at him then moved her face closer adding, “Ekimo.” Ken glanced at me, baffled. I pointed to my nose and said, “She wants an Eskimo kiss.” A smile spread across his face as he said, “It was so nice meeting you, Cassidy,” and rubbed his nose to hers. The room quieted a bit, and I looked around. My loved ones stood with small smiles, some glistening eyes, and nodding heads. This was a good thing, and I felt it.
Our feelings for each other built steadily and after two years together, we were married in an intimate family ceremony at my childhood church.
Since then, Ken and I have traveled, explored, and experienced wonderful adventures together. Our family has grown, and we try to make the most of our time with them. We still hold hands when we watch television or sit on our balcony watching the sunset. I look forward to sharing our lives for a long, long time.
Cheryl Dougherty was born and raised in Connecticut. After college, she relocated to East Central Florida, where she still resides with her husband, Ken. A retired middle school teacher, Cheryl divides her time between family, travel, and various volunteer activities. "In the Cards" is her first published work. She is currently working on a series of children's books. Watch for "Maddy's Pen Pals" in the near future. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org