First time I saw her was when I walked into my wife’s workplace to bring lunch. I knew everyone there but she was a new face.
“Who’s the new girl?” I asked.
“Oh she’s a temp, part-timer, nobody important.”
It turned out that the New Girl had just gotten divorced and was devastated. She was now a single mother and forced to go back home to live with Mom and Dad.
She had a child. I had none. Being childless was something that bothered me to the core because I wanted to be a dad.
My wife decided to take her off on nightly excursions to clubs to meet other guys. Guys, however, seemed more attracted to my ex at the time; new girl was usually left holding the bag. One night her mother decided enough was enough, “I’m not going to continue babysitting so that you can go to clubs and bars to meet men!”
My wife told her to bring the baby to our place, “My husband loves kids; he and the baby will become fast friends.”
She did… and we did. The little girl became the missing piece of my life in a marriage that was already crumbling. We finally divorced. We both knew it was inevitable though we tried.
I kept in touch with New Girl because as she continued to date, I continued to baby sit. What sealed it for me was one day the baby and I went to Denny’s and the waitress, who was already used to seeing us together, smiled and sighed “Aw, another Daddy and daughter weekend, huh?”
Daddy. I wanted that title so bad it was consuming me. But I didn’t actually consider me and “new girl” as couple material or even dating material. She was still dating and I was still the free Nanny.
Until I took the baby to see a movie.
“I wanna come.” New Girl said and smiled
Really? I thought. Ok this has been a twosome, me and the little girl going everywhere, the beach, Busch Gardens, mall, movies, zoo, park. This was our thing… two’s company, three’s a crowd, I thought. But New Girl is the mom. She’s entitled, right?
We went on what became our first date. I’ll never forget it, I finally felt complete.
That was twenty five years ago. Here we are, in our fifties, now with the baby grown, married and living her own life. New Girl, my wife, and I had a son together who is now twenty. The years have been good and bad; anyone married for over fifteen years can attest to the times that sometimes you’d just want to jump off a cliff. Luckily in Florida we have no cliffs. You take the good with the bad, you nurture, you study, you sacrifice and you profess your love to each other in the best ways you know how.
Love is everywhere. Some find love in the weirdest of places: amusement parks, high school, work, family reunions – I found mine through divorce and a beautiful little angel of a girl who I will always say gave my life a jump-start.
Editors Note: Here’s a link to Rod’s middle school novel:
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