This was a new first…

12249750_10153529344233889_3949158369468534276_nToday’s post is from first-time contributor Rhonda Tindal and originally appeared on her blog, smiling’s my favorite.  According to Rhonda she knows she’s not 24 anymore, doesn’t have nearly enough tattoos, and loves Jesus but cusses a little. Follow her on Twitter at @Rhomba and Instagram at @Rhonders.

I’m in this brand new season of life, one that is full of firsts and unmarked territory for my little tribe.  I was at one point, the person who was told “always a bridesmaid, never a bride.”  As that circle of friends paired up rode off happily ever after into the sunset, a new circle of friends developed just shortly before I met my, now, ex-husband.  Then I was the first of us to ride off happily ever after into the sunset…until I wasn’t. Then I was the first push through a separation. I was the first to have babies. I was the first to be divorced. And now, I’m the first to go on first dates again.

Dating is so fun yet the most dreadful thing all at the same time.
I was recently reunited with a high school acquaintance.  I don’t know that we’d ever shared words in the 4 yrs we spent wondering the same halls so many years ago, Go Rams.  We never had a class together and, until recently, I couldn’t have even told you what he was involved in. I remember I always thought he was incredibly handsome, but that’s about all I remember. Our circle of friends just never crossed.

Now, if you’re able to enter into a judgment free zone with me for a hot second then do so, if you’re unable, then go ahead and press that little X at the top of your screen. I’ll give you a minute… Ok, for those still with me, we matched on Tinder (I know, I know). Both of us had resigned, just days before, to just try it out and both had basically the same thought process as we came across a familiar face with 50+ common Facebook friends -including each other- and decided to swipe right. It’s a match!

We exchanged texts for a few days and planned to see each other on a Friday night, however, some plans changed and my Thursday evening was free, so we got together for drinks, a pre-date, if you will.  I’m giving this much detail about our history and location, because, well its fun, and this is where the simple, incredible-to-me, experience occurred.

We met at a trendy bar he frequented.  Our pre-date went great! He’s clearly a very well liked man, loved even, as he was being greeted left and right. We were submerged in his community, his friends, his ‘cheers bar’ as he calls it. We caught up on the last 13 yrs and just enjoyed each other’s company.

So, Friday night. Date night. We walked to dinner, hand in hand for a few blocks, he always made sure he was closest to the street. We met another couple for dinner, and then walked to get drinks after. I was lovingly teased for ‘talking way too much,’ as I was happily laughing at all their stories but naturally took a backseat to the dominant personalities around me. We went to a couple bars but eventually returned to the one we started at on our pre-date the night before.  As he ran into people he knew throughout the night, again and again people seemed filled with joy as they greeted him. However, this time was slightly/immensely different. He kept his hand on my back or a hand in mine and almost seemed to rush through his own hello so he could get to the part where he could introduce me. Every. Single. Time. He’d confidently introduce me to each person that greeted him. With a hand on my back, aware, I assume, that this could be overwhelming to the quiet girl that’s been taking a backseat to the dominant personalities around her. I felt safe, cherished, and a prize- not in a cheap or materialistic way, but I was in a room full of his community, his friends, his tribe, all vying for his attention, yet I felt like he just wanted them to know me.

As I try to paint this picture, I know how simple it sounds, how it’s hard to see any significance here.  This isn’t a bash on anyone from my past, present, or future. It was just a moment, where I felt like the only person in the room, where it didn’t feel forced or awkward. A moment where I didn’t feel like I was messing up street cred, or cramping his style, or an ‘oh yeah, and this is Rhonda,” moment.  This was a new first for me…A simple, normal, social interaction that in my 30yrs I had never experienced.

Now, I don’t know if there will be a happily ever after with the incredibly handsome boy I once kind of knew, but I do know that as I’m in this new season of firsts, for the first time, maybe ever, I felt like I was picked first.  And for the first time, this is a requirement of all my future firsts.

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