27: Meeting McKenna

27: Meeting McKenna

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game

Meeting McKenna

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.

~William Shakespeare

It was finally time for Joe to meet my daughter, McKenna. The plan was for Joe to come over to the house on a Friday after work. The two of them would get acquainted and then we would get some dinner. I had not really shared with my eight-year-old that I was dating anyone seriously. I told her Joe was a new friend that I had been spending some time with over the past couple of months.

Since my relationship with McKenna’s dad had not been positive for most of her life, I think it was different for McKenna to see me so happy. We are very close because of what we have gone through together. I worried that she would not accept Joe. Boy, was I ever wrong.

During that first meeting, I tried to think of something that the two of them could do together that would be a good icebreaker. Time to get out the Jenga game. Joe had never played Jenga before and McKenna considered herself to be somewhat of an expert. It would be an especially difficult game for Joe, considering he is blind.

I watched in amazement as my young daughter explained in great detail how to play the game to a man who could not see. I witnessed a man who had never been a father react so kindly to this new addition to our relationship. They played game after game after game. At one point, Joe had McKenna put a blindfold on so that she would not have an advantage over him. I know that he was also approaching this as yet another opportunity to educate.

After at least two hours of Jenga playing, the tournament came to an end. Both contestants considered themselves to be winners. And they were right. Later on Joe asked me, how I did it. How did I work all day and then come home and play with her for hours? I told him that I usually did not play for hours. We generally only played for thirty to forty-five minutes.

From that first meeting on, McKenna and Joe developed a remarkable bond. He was the dad that she had been looking for and she was the family that he had always wanted. Everything seemed to click. Years later, when the three of us were at the hospital visiting a sick friend, a complete stranger said something I will never forget. She looked at Joe and McKenna and said, “There’s no denying that’s your baby.” Was she ever right!

~Laura Dailey-Pelle

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