It is a strange concept to think about your dad dating someone new.
My dad is visiting with our family this week, and he brought his girlfriend with him. I knew he had been dating someone for the last several months, and I knew from what he had told me that things were getting serious. I was really curious to meet this person that has recently brought my dad so much happiness. I was tempted to call my aunt or grandmother to get the scoop since I knew they had both met her. However, I didn’t want to have any expectations about what this week would be like. I wanted to just let things happen naturally and to see where it lead.
Within the first few minutes of meeting her, all of my worries and concerns disappeared. She began opening the conversation by talking about my mom, and immediately I felt relief. There wasn’t going to be a giant elephant in the room; she made it known that she understood how it felt to lose someone – she was a widow herself, about as long as my dad had been – and had been through the trenches as well.
I got goosebumps as she and my dad began talking about their first few dates. Both were on eHarmony, and yet neither one had run across the other in all their searching until a year after starting their dating profiles. She still lives right next door to my mom’s best friend, and crossed paths with my mom and dad a few years ago when they attended the same church briefly. She said the first time she stepped foot into my dad’s house, she was overwhelmed. My parents owned a Precious Moments ceramic figurine of Mickey and Minnie in wedding attire; it was a purchase made from their honeymoon in Disney World years ago. When we went to Disney as a family in 2000, my parents bought an updated version of the same figurines in honor of their honeymoon many years ago. Her and her husband also owned that same figurine from 2000. They purchased it as an anniversary gift to themselves. There was a mirror and a few other items in the home that she owned as well, and when she walked into the kitchen she said she was speechless. My parents’ kitchen is decorated in an apple motif, and so is hers apparently. She added, “I think your mom and I could have been great friends”.
The week has gone by smoothly, and it has been touching to see her interactions with my dad as well as my boys. One of the things I grieved for and continue to grieve for is the fact that my boys lost their wonderful grandmother. She was such a joyful, welcoming, and loving person that it broke my heart to know that my kids would never get to feel that warmth. There was one moment that Tammey shared with Will that brought tears to my eyes. The boys had been outside playing in the kiddie pool one afternoon, and we brought them inside so we could start dinner and watch a movie together. We got Will dressed, and as he sat on the couch he curled up next to Tammey. She put her arm around him, and as she looked down at him, she noticed a piece of grass still stuck to his face after playing outside. She gently pulled the piece of grass off of his cheek, and it was such a tender moment that it has stuck with me this whole week. To see such tenderness and care in a woman that has just met my kids took my breath away. It hurts that my mom can’t be here with us to do those simple grandmotherly things for my kids, but it makes it easier knowing that there is a person who could potentially love my kids the way they deserve to be loved.
She also brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers the day before the two year anniversary of my mom’s death. She came in the house, carrying this gorgeous bouquet of hydrangeas (my absolute favorite), sunflowers, and Queen Anne’s lace. She set it on the counter, and told me she got these flowers for me as a thank you for hosting her in our home, and as a small gesture in remembrance of my mom. To be honest, I was a little nervous before their arrival about my dad and her being at our house on May 23rd for that very reason. But once again, she surprised me and by simply acknowledging my mom and that significant day made all the difference for me.
Neither my dad nor Tammey ever thought that when they made their vows to their now deceased loved ones, that their life would lead them to this place. But to have both found someone that understands what it’s like to have lost and then to find love again, that is incredible. I am excited for what the future holds for them.