Every love story is special and every love story is different. But not all love stories work out. Though, sometimes two people are lucky enough to find a second chance for a new story – to write a Chapter Two. This is one of those stories. This is how Derek and Kylee found each other and are writing a new story.
They maybe, might have, kind of knew each other in middle school and high school. He had a girlfriend and she had a boyfriend. He recalls her as the popular cheerleader. She recalls him as a happy-go-lucky, smiley-eyed and funny guy. But this didn’t really matter then…. He went off to school in Arizona and she went off to Lubbock. That was in 1994 and 1995. Their impressions of each didn’t matter again until 2011.
A little backstory on Derek: after college he moved to Seattle, married a girlfriend from college and moved back to Dallas in 2006. He was divorced two years later.
A little backstory on Kylee: after college she came back to Dallas and married a friend of a friend in 2002. She popped out a couple of awesome kids but it just wasn’t the right family dynamic, so she divorced in 2008.
There they were, two single people in a world of single people. But they had one thing in common, well two things – Angela and Stephanie.
Kylee knew them through her kids’ sports and activities while Derek worked with them both. They were not shy about trying to set them up. Derek wasn’t interested in a mom with two kids.
Then a few months after Angela & Stephanie mentioned Kylee to Derek, he happened to notice a picture of her on Facebook… after all, they might have, kind of, could have known each other in high school and isn’t that the foundation of all good Facebook friendships. Her picture was alluring to Derek. He caved and messaged her, not knowing he was turning a blank page in the book of their lives to start Chapter Two.
Honestly, the meet-cute is pretty traditional. Their first date was drinks at Whiskey Cake…. she was excited for a night without kids and all dressed up. He ended it after two drinks.
Hello? He thinks he might have gone to meet friends after… Really, Derek?
Though, he called his mom after the date to say he’d met someone and “she comes with two potential grand-kids” – that says something, right? Their second date was Chuy’s and a movie. It ended with an awkward and “kind of bad” kiss at the end. They’ve gotten much better at that.
This was new territory for Derek – the whole dating a mom thing. He’d had a great time, they had so much in common and he was willing to see what could happen. She thought he was “so cute, oh my gah, so cute” and couldn’t resist those same smiley eyes she remembered from high school. Within two months, she knew she could see herself married to him but better yet, thought he would fit into her little family dynamic.
He was still getting used to all the rules – the kids’ schedules, the divorce decree rules, her busy schedule and independent life. All that meant that they had to bring some old-school chivalry back into the mix. There weren’t late-night texts to come over or swinging by her house to just hang out. There was every other weekend and Wednesdays. They fell in love the way people used to – by respecting each other and making time for each other – but mostly by letting anticipation and excitement to see the other build. It worked…. He fell hard and she was done for, but she had to be sure he fit into her little family. She needn’t have worried.
He fit in like they’d been holding the spot just for him. He gets them. He’s goofy like they are, he’s real with them and doesn’t try too hard so it seems forced. He gets to be himself and so do they.
That doesn’t mean it wasn’t all overwhelming…. taking on four relationships at once (Kylee, Emree, Coen and their dad). He does it with patience, laughter and one of the most tender hearts I’ve ever seen.
They dated for eight months and ever the practical planners, they picked out and designed her ring together. One weekend away at a friend’s lake house, Kylee found the ring in his bag. Okay, she WENT looking for it, but none the less she found it. When the weekend ended with no question from Derek and her left finger still light… she started prodding on the drive home. He finally said “Do you want to see it?” reached in his bag and handed it to her. Thank goodness they have a dramatic, romantic story to tell their grand-kids someday.
Three months later, with their families, they got married in a simple ceremony in California. They’ve been a family ever since – if not before. That’s one of the things I love about their story…. how the role of step father to Emree and Coen was meant for him. That he entered their lives (all of them, Kylee included) just when they needed him most. I’m not sure he knew it but I think he needed them, too.
Like any great book, the first chapter sets the scene but the second chapter is the one that hooks you and keeps you reading the rest of the story.
I love their “Chapter Two” and am lucky to get to watch the rest of the story unfold. The story of my friend Kylee finding the final piece of the family dynamic she knew she needed, her kids needed and that she and Derek deserved.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:12