A reply to: A letter from Newt
Man. I am so sorry I blew it. Meadow tells me that I should have worked through my feelings first, and then written you. She says it’s OK to write, “Hey, I felt angry when blah-blah-blah,” but that should be written after the anger has been dealt with and dispatched, not in the heat of all the messy feelings. She said I what I did was “unskilled,” but that’s really her code word for acting like a jerk.
I’m sorry. I’m new at this emotions stuff.
Let’s just put it past us, if we can, and move on.
Congratulations on proposing to Janet. Even bigger congratulations that she accepted! Ha! (Just kidding!)
Also, good move on getting your business plans together! Buying that bar sounds like a really smart decision. Finally, you’ll get out of your dad’s business and do something for you. Makes me happy that we’re both able to rework our careers into something that makes sense for us, rather than simply following our fathers’ plans for us.
I told Ira that you were getting married again.
I thought it might make her upset, you know, given her past experience with her ex.
She got thoughtful and quiet for a while.
Then, over the next few days, I noticed she became more affectionate than usual. She started telling me what a good thing it was for her and Aari to live here. How she wanted it to be permanent-like. I told her she was a permanent fixture in my heart–there was no getting rid of her. I have become very corny; I’m the first to admit it.
I noticed her and Aari having a lot of really serious conversations. Once, I overheard her say, “How would you like him as a real dad?”
I got the impression they were talking about me.
She started dropping hints. Nothing too subtle, because, you know. I’m a guy. Subtle doesn’t work too well on me.
But they were subtle enough that I could pretend it was my idea without getting scared about getting rejected. Ira’s smart that way.
So I thought about it.
I guess when I learned about Ira’s past, I pretty much kissed any dreams of being legit goodbye. It wasn’t that important to me. Her feeling safe and happy, Aari having a good home–those were the things that mattered to me. And I know, there all sorts of ways to make a family.
But, Newt–I gotta admit! The more I thought about it, the more it brought a smile to my face.
I realized I should probably talk to Aari first, since it involved her, too. I mean, she and I had a pretty good deal worked out, with me being her designated “PCG” (primary care-giver). I didn’t want to mess that up, and I knew she had all sorts of conflicted feelings about her birth dad.
But she gave me the green light.
“I know it won’t change anything for bad,” she told me. “Besides, I already think of you as my papa in my head.”
I can’t even express how proud that made me feel.
Next, I had to be certain that I was sure. Was this really what I wanted for me, or was I just doing it for her, because she’d been dropping those hints?
So I talked it over with an old friend who’s a good listener.
I realized that it was Ira who’d made me happy all this time. It wasn’t just me, making her feel safe. It was her, and all her magic, making me feel alive.
I thought of Aari, filling our home with the spunk of a brave and sassy kid, and I can’t imagine this house without her.
I made up my mind. I’d do it. If you can do it, I can do it.
Finally, I decided the right moment had arrived.
I called Aari in to join us. You see, since it involves her, too, I wanted her to be there for the big moment. That way, she’d know I was really taking the whole family, her included, and she wouldn’t feel like she was in the way.
She knew what was up and started giggling like a maniac.
I got cold feet. Could I really go through with this?
What if it changed everything?
The old Norm would have left it alone. He would have chickened out and rationalized, “Why fix it if it isn’t broken?”
But the new me thought about what his coach, Newt Murdoch, would say. You’re the guy who encouraged and inspired me to make a change in our business so that it fits me and my ethics, not just my dad’s. You’re the guy who inspired me to get together with Ira in the first place, back when Windenburg’s Most Eligible seemed perennially destined to remain a bachelor.
Heck. I would do it. I thought of you, and I felt brave. Or at least, brave enough.
I walked back into the living room, and I went the whole nine yards.
I even got down on one knee.
I made a crazy speech, about collecting toys, collecting hearts, being big kids, being fools. Who knows what I said?
All I know is that Ira’s eyes went soft and she let out this little noise like a purr, while all along, Aari sat and chuckled quietly.
I don’t know if it was romantic. It was us. It was goofy and family and so over-brimming full of love, and my heart must have burst about a million times.
“Catch her, Papa!” Aari yelled, as Ira leapt into my arms, just about knocking me off my feet.
It wasn’t graceful. It wasn’t smooth.
But it was very, very endearing.
And pretty silly, too. And so, yes. She did say yes. We haven’t fixed the date yet, but we are engaged. Ira, beautiful, strong, spunky, magical Ira, is going to be my wife, and she is going to let me be her husband.
Ira told me it was because of you and Janet, moving on and moving past it, that she found the courage to give marriage another try. If the two of you could do it, we could, too.
Newt, can you even think back to our first letter, when both felt like we were living someone else’s life that had been handed to us with a note that said, “Take this, or else?”
Well, my friend, we have kicked those fake lives to the curb. I will say that now, for both of us, we have our lives. Thank you for being my hero, Newt. This is all because of you. You have no idea what a good life coach you are.
Thanks for it all. More than words.
Your soon-to-be-married pal,
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