So New: In Which I Take The Bean Out (40 of 90)

Two years ago, I dated a woman with a 16-year old daughter. That was a first for me. I’ve certainly dated single moms before, but never one with a kid who would really remember any interactions we’d have.

I fell in love with her immediately, the way in which adults fall in love with children. She was this beautiful, funny, engaging, shy, nerdy, awesome love-able kid. We had our ups and downs, most of which I was prepared.

(Of course, I was wholly unprepared for the strength of the emotional outbursts – both good and bad – that come with being a teenager. Even as someone who has taught teenagers, it’s hard to gird yourself for that inevitable one-on-one clash.)

Still, in the short time The Bean’s mom and I dated, I developed a bond with her. One that I was devastated to lose when my relationship with her mom ended.

I kept in touch with The Bean through social media, although I checked in with the ex to make sure that it was okay. I’m very cognizant that she’s not my child and I wouldn’t ever want to over-step my bounds in that way. Still, I really wanted to catch up with the nugget in person. There’s only so much Twitter can do. I ran the idea of taking The Bean out past the ex, and she graciously agreed.

To say I was excited would be an understatement. The Bean and I watched musicals, argued about Buffy and just laughed. She is exactly the kind of daughter that I always imagined I would have.

I picked up The Bean today for an afternoon of Chipotle (we ate burritos like they were going out of style), Cold Stone (a Like It and Love It sizes), Barnes & Nobles, a little Hot Topic shopping (where I was the only one who bought something) and a promise that I wouldn’t let two years elapse before our next visit.

The ins and outs of it aren’t important. They were ours to have. But it filled my heart in ways that are – I suspect – a mere shadow of the feelings that parents have with their kids. If that equation is true – and I suspect it is – I don’t know how I could ever survive parenting without having my heart burst, daily.

I don’t have kids of my own, and I’m fast approaching the age when it’s increasingly unlikely I will. I’ve come to grips with that. But it’s nice to know that The Bean is running around out in the world. That she let’s me in from time to time. That we can talk and laugh and gossip.

And to know that even though her mom and I didn’t work out, we at least had enough of a relationship where she allows me to help watch over The Bean.