How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Missing Pieces, Part 2

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Continuing the epic saga of how my wife and I met all those years ago. If you haven’t read part one, just go here. Okay?

So, we spoke by Instant Message, because we’re a cliched generation of internet users and “You’ve Got Mail” watchers, to set up a time to meet. We figured a public place in case she wanted to run screaming. I remember thinking that the zits on my face and my lack of job, money, place to live and career were going to be super awesome to talk about.

New-Years-2001New Year’s Eve 2001. People asked us if we were siblings.

Prior to this point, there was no talk about US. The royal us. At all. She, of course, asked if I had an older brother since I seemed so “nice.” How wrong she was on all accounts. And nice? “Nice” and “cute” are the death of all romantic things, but we forged ahead.

We met at a restaurant and planned to leave immediately for a museum.

Where’s the romance, you say? Where’s the mystique of a sensual location? Well, we didn’t plan on falling in love, getting married, spending more than a quarter of our lives together (so far) and then rocking out two kids. The extraordinary can sometimes be nestled in the arms of the mundane.

But it happened.

We saw each other and I poop you not, I was stunned. Stunned by her glow. Stunned by her smile. Stunned by the fact that she was even prettier in person. Stunned by the fact that something inside of me changed instantaneously when I saw her, and I had no idea what it was. Needless to say, our first introduction was somewhat awkward. I was sort of aloof by way of awkward and she was just smiley. Damn her and her smile. It just makes you do stupid stuff.

We pressed on and walked to the parking lot. Awkwardness, round two. I told her that my car smelled like mold because it had rained and somehow water was bouncing upward, as water does(not), into my car from below so that the floors/mats were destroyed. Someone told me to put newspaper to soak up the smell and moisture. Basically, my 1986 Honda Civic looked like a homeless person’s lean-to underneath a freeway overpass. Since she’d just moved to Los Angeles and was temporarily living with her father while she got settled, she had borrowed his tiny pickup truck. She said it was pretty messy but my response to her was essentially begging her not to drive in my car.

Avara-in-LightHow could I NOT fall in love with her? I mean… Come on! Italy 2004.

I hope by now you’re getting the full scope of what a charming, attractive person I must’ve been. As a nineteen/twenty-year-old, I was obviously very well equipped in matters of the heart and manners.

We drove in her father’s pickup, which was neither a sty nor uncomfortable, and arrived at the museum. I can’t tell you how odd it is to completely know someone intellectually and yet not at all in person. Oh, wait. That’s kind of like our relationship isn’t it, audience? Believe me, it’s even more surreal in person. I knew so much about her and how her mind worked, but it was like our physical bodies got in the way of everything. I was so insecure and trying hard to “act” normal. Act normal? You know you’re acting strange when you try to act normal.

But there was a calmness to our conversation too. Like we were old friends from vast distances and lifetimes earlier. Honestly, that old soul familiarity was the only thing holding me together by that point.

When we arrived at the museum, I didn’t really know what we were going to go see but our docent was nice enough. She was an older and very quirky lady; she showed us around with great enthusiasm. But to be quite honest, the whole tour was a haze because the moment we walked in together this older lady with her frazzled hair asked us if we were married.

pregnancy-know-itGuess who is pregnant in this photo at the Opera and doesn’t know it?

Who asks a couple of young, attractive people that obviously have some unspoken chemistry if they’re MARRIED?!??#$OI#UTY$%()*Y I mean, what kind of cruel person are you to call out something so simply and inelegantly?

We both looked at each and furiously shook our heads. “No, no. Definitely not.” Definitely not. I said those words aloud. Avara had an equal fervor in her insistence that we weren’t married but I was the one who shut down the notion completely by using those words. Idiot.

The rest of the tour was a blur, honestly. My mind was pendulum swinging between “WHYDIDYOUSAYDEFINITELYNOT?” and “WHYISMYSTOMACHGOINGCRAZY?” I couldn’t tell if I was falling or flying. By Avara’s account now, I seemed somewhat uninterested.

But that’s okay because I set off explosives a week later and told her I loved her.

To be continued…

Read about our first son’s birth!
It’s a REAL good time.


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8 Responses to “Missing Pieces, Part 2”

  1. patricia says:

    LOVE your love stories. Where’s part 3, c’mon!

  2. Jo says:

    Sounds like perfection to me… =)

  3. Renee says:

    Too freakin’ sweet. I am getting goosebumps and butterflies reading this.

  4. Katherine Mitchell says:

    Awwwwww!!! His is too sweet, Charlie! Makes me wish I feel in love on the internet! Lol

  5. Katherine Mitchell says:

    *This (sorry typo)

  6. neal says:

    My wife loves You’ve got Mail. I’m gonna have to have her read your story, Charlie.

    I miss those early weeks/months of building our relationship. My wife is the right one for me, don’t get me wrong . . . but those were good times when I was dumb because of butterflies instead of dumb because of lack of sleep or because of just a general complacent dumbness.

  7. jane says:


    When you have time….part three, please? 🙂

  8. Alex says:

    I am so so waiting for the next part. 😀

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