I am so humbled and honored to have received a donation from Michelle Johnson and Andrew Greengrass. There is always this unknown when it comes to the friends of your significant other. Are they your friends, are they acquaintences, do they like you, do they hate you? Or maybe even worse, do they just tolerate you or think quietly “I guess she’s okay, but he could do better”.
Now I’ve never heard definitively from Michelle and Andrew that they think I am the greatest thing that has ever happened to The DBF, but I am going to take this wonderfully kind donation as a sign that in fact I am above “Not too bad” and they must like me!
In fact, I met Michelle and Andrew, as well as their two children, shortly after The DBF and I first met.
A little background: The DBF and Andrew went to Hunter College High School together, and were among the same group of friends, so have basically known each other since 6th grade. Sometime there after a New Year’s Eve tradition developed among the boys (they were 15, I think) and it is a tradition they still keep today, over 20 years later. The tradition is: Eat Chinese food for dinner, spend some time recapping your previous year on this Earth, and then play board games until sunrise, when you then eat bacon and go home to go to sleep.
Funny little tradition.
So The DBF and I began dating December 14th, 2008, or at least we attempted to start our first date that night. I stood him up because I had a callback for Ragtime. So we rescheduled for December 17th, and our date went much better than either of us had expected, especially since I had already flaked out and stood him up for the attempted first date and our second date I never had time to change from the clothes I wore to move into my apartment, so I basically had our first date in sweats. So he liked me, I liked him, and we quickly planned a second date before I was heading home to Minnesota for the holidays.
By date two I was smitten kitten, and he had told me he wanted to date me exclusively, and we were a couple, pretty instantaneously. I was spending Christmas at my parents house when he and I were discussing our plans for New Year’s Eve. I had none. And he, of course, had long standing traditional plans. After some time there was a very hesitant offer extended to me to join the gang for New Year’s Eve. The DBF’s hesitation made me pause, and I tried to get him to qualify why he was being a bit recalcitrant to invite me, and he said previous girlfriend’s have come and not had a good time. Lore even tells us that one girlfriend of yore even cried.
Now, loyal blog readers, we already know I am nothing if not insanely competitive and that, my friends was a challenge. To go and have fun! But I also discussed it with my mother, who said “You have the opportunity to meet his friends of over two decades? You go, and you take notes!”
And so plans were made for New Year’s, which The DBF was hosting at his house. I think by the time December 31st had rolled around we had maybe had 5 or 6 dates… Fully fledged as a couple but… well… really not knowing much about each other.
So I first met Michelle and Andrew, and their two beautiful children, Adam and Rebecca, New Year’s Eve of 2008. I liked them both right away. First because of their beautiful children. My father has a saying that “Nutty kids come from nutty families”, and the reverse is also true: happy, bright and loving children come from happy, bright and loving families. But I also found Andrew to be open and welcoming and I liked Michelle because she is also from Minnesota and is a doctor (like my father). I felt a little closer to her perhaps just because a Minnesotan recognizes another Minnesotan. She has even moved Andrew and the kids out to Minnesota, which I think has given my parents the pipe dream that The DBF and I would also move out to Minnesota some day. Sorry guys, not going to happen.
Since New Year’s Eve of almost two years ago I have spent quite a lot of time with Andrew and Michelle, both in New York when they have visited Andrew’s family who still lives here and of course the crew of boys who have now become men and still steady friends. But we also spent a week in Canada with Andrew and Michelle (and many other New Year’s regulars) in a bi-annual tradition of a week at the cabin up in the Northern Woods, and we’ve visited their home in Minnesota when The DBF and I visited my family again this spring.
So the question still always remains, in a relationship, when do “your” friends become “our” friends. In reality I have accepted that in the case of The DBF and his motley crew of guy friends, they will probably really always be “his”. You can’t make up for the 20+ years of friendship and experiences, and if for some horrible reason we broke up, I wouldn’t expect to still be invited to New Year’s or Canada. But Michelle and Andrew have always made me feel welcome, and like I belonged. And perhaps not just “belonging”, but a more profound sense that I might be appreciated, that my presence might add a little something. Maybe more song and dance routines.
I also have to say one of my favorite things about Andrew and Michelle is they have been very patient with my learning how to play Wiz War. What is Wiz War you ask? Well, it is the game of choice for these guys, and to even begin to describe it would be another five blogs and I would fail. And I said I was competitive, but I meant it. I’m so competitive, I don’t ever want to fail, or God forbid, to lose! So I didn’t play Wiz War for a full year. I just watched. I tried to make note of strategy, tendencies, etc. And Andrew and Michelle have always been patient with my learning, and guiding me towards where I am now, which is a mildly competent Wiz War player. I have never won, though I came close once, and I think I’m starting to understand it enough that it might actually be fun!
So I am eternally grateful to Andrew and Michelle for always making me feel welcome every time I’ve seen them, but now also being so kind and generous in helping me with this latest competitive obsession: running a marathon (and raising $3000!)