I met my prince at the ball 21 years ago. I was a single mom of three kids, after going through a contemptuous
divorce. He was a 38-year-old hedge fund principal who had never been married. On paper, this would never work.
A very dear friend of mine called me one day to ask if I could help with check-in at the Blue Note Ball, which is a fundraiser for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She said, it will only require 45 minutes of my time and then the rest of the night I could socialize with her and our other friends. It sounded like a good trade, but I still needed a sitter for my 3 kids on a few days’ notice and of course, I needed a ball gown. No easy feat for someone who is trying to survive as a single mom. There were not a lot of extra funds in the budget, earmarked for attending galas. My sister luckily agreed to watch my kids and I headed over to my local TJ Maxx on my quest to look ball-worthy.
So at TJ Maxx, I found a slinky black long dress with a strappy back for $30 and went to the ball!
If you believe in fate, then you’ll believe me when I tell you that I knew the moment I met Peter, he was going to be a significant person in my life. We danced and talked all night until it was time to go. While waiting at the valet at the Intercontinental Hotel Chicago, my minivan with the three-car seats pulled up simultaneously to his Jaguar convertible. Just before that, he had asked me for my number, but because I had my heart broken already after my divorce by men who had never been married and never had kids, I was apprehensive to give him my number. When his Jaguar convertible pulled up at the valet, I knew we had absolutely nothing in common.
Later that evening, or should I say in the wee hours of the night, we met up with our friends at a local bar. After he had repeatedly asked for my number, I thought I’d just recite it to him without writing it down. Surely in this loud, bar, he won’t remember it in the morning. I was wrong. He called.
After dating for about a year without bringing him around my kids, we decided it was time for him to meet and get to know them. I was very surprised by how natural he was with my kids. How he was truly engaging with them and didn’t mind their temper tantrums or their sometimes misbehaving. He would help them with homework, watch Titanic with the girls or play a zillion games of pop-a-shot with my son.
Two years later we married and he took on his step-dad responsibilities full-time. Within a few years, we had 2 more kids together. It was kind of crazy for a while for both of us adjusting to 5 young kids, but he has always been a huge help and a hands-on, wonderful dad. Always treating all five kids the same, with equal love.
Today we are celebrating our 19th anniversary! My two little girls are now both grown up and married. My oldest son and Peter have a close relationship and talk every day. They talk about work and financial markets and sports and all of the things that guys talk about. I could not have asked for a better man to have shared the past two decades with, and hope fate continues to bless us.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the people who’ve had to reschedule their weddings or have them without any friends and family in attendance. A wedding is special and meant to be a public announcement as a couple tethers themselves together for life. But whether you have an intimate wedding with just a few in attendance, marry online or at a large event in the future, it will always be your special day and your story.
Everyone has a story about meeting their significant other. What’s yours?