Dec. 17: First Date with Prince Charming

“Don’t screw it up,” my friend Sandy told me before I went on my first date with Fred Lick. I did my best. I dressed up, styled my hair, took care with my makeup. I tucked my diaphragm into my purse, just in case. And then he drove up in the rattiest car, and I thought, Oh no, what am I getting into.

But you can’t judge a man by his car. Fred was in the process of getting a divorce, which is hard on the finances, and his teenage son had put something on the car that ruined the paint. None of that mattered. Fred was handsome, smart, and funny. He had a good job supervising senior centers, and he lived in this quaint little house in the Willow Glen section of San Jose.

He took me to a winery in the east foothills, one of his favorite places. Then we went out for Chinese food. After that, we back to his house to watch movies. We didn’t actually see the second movie. Somewhere early in “Flashdance,” we began making out. I excused myself to put in my diaphragm, and Fred brought pillows and a blanket for the floor. We made love.

Unlike other guys who assumed sex came with dinner, Fred was gentle and considerate. He kept asking, “Is this all right? Are you sure?” I was sure. By the end of the evening, we both knew we belonged together. It was the beginning of a beautiful love story.

I soon learned that I didn’t need the diaphragm. Fred had had a vasectomy. After a certain amount of talk about adoption and ways to get me pregnant, he let me know the three kids he had from his first marriage were enough. We never had children together, and I grieve that loss. But that does not negate the love that began on Dec. 17, 1983. Fred is not here to celebrate this year, but I will remember and treasure what I had rather than what I have lost.

So many of us get caught up in what we don’t have. We start seeing our mates as the enemy rather than the people we love. Take some time today to look at your spouse, partner or lover and treasure what you have with them. Maybe you don’t have kids, but you do have each other. Thank God for that.

Happy anniversary, Fred.