“And there he was with a rose in hand at the bottom of the escalator of the Palm Beach Airport. . . .”
She: I was late in my 30s with my clock (you know the one that sounds like a sonic boom in the bowels of your ovaries) creating havoc. I was fresh off of a heartbreak and through with what Red Bank dating had to offer so I packed up my business bags and started fresh at a law firm in NYC. That meant instead of working late into the night in my cozy home office I woke up at 6:00 am, jumped on the Atlantic Highlands ferry, took a subway or taxi to 250 Park Avenue where a 10+ hour day began. Everything was new.
The commuters were my new family but we all knew each other. All commuters were familiar — they were either like kind single women, ex-husbands of friends, or the ex-husband of the single woman on board. All way too familiar.
He: I woke up one day and my life was turned upside down. I have 2 grown sons and I lost my wife of 40 years, their mother to cancer. We all went through our mourning process but now what? After awhile my sons suggested that I date. The last time I went on a date was 40 years ago. I’m sure that dating is not the same today. And it wasn’t. Now I’ve got to get on my computer, look at women’s profiles and try to make a connection online while also running my business. This is pretty ridiculous for a grown man. But what else could I do? Here goes. I met a few nice women, went out on a few nice dates. So many women looking for a husband and I just want to go out for dinner. Many one time dinners for me.
She: NYC became my life. I began dating on Match.com. What else could I do? I worked so much that I didn’t have time to meet or date through friends. In between hours and hours of work came the task of finding a good date/social life. At the office there was always stories, laughter, oooohhs & aaaaaahs over Match profile photos and descriptions. There was never a shortage of funny stories, interesting profiles. A guy in his 40s who lived with his mom, had no job, and was honest that he had no prospects for a job, wore overalls, didn’t own a comb but looking for a “super model wife” who made plenty of money. You have to appreciate his honesty.
He: Early 2005 I met an Architect, Alex Weismann on one of my projects. We talked over lunch about work and our personal life. Talk went to the story of losing my wife, missing being married and Alex shared his story, his family & love. I thought, what a lucky man.
She: I met an Architect, Alex Weismann on one of our projects. This project took me to Brooklyn and by chance we had lunch while we waited for documents to be made available by the City Planner. What else is there to do but chat. No, this is not my “how we met”. . . . Alex was (presuming still is) married to his beautiful wife and his 2 beautiful children. I was not shy to say I would like one day to have a family of my own. He heard my story of leaving New Jersey for a bite of the Apple in search of completing the story of Me. Alex mentioned a “really nice guy” he had met in Toronto that had recently lost his wife to cancer after 40 years of marriage. Although he was single, he was not your typical single guy. German born, living in Canada, serious person but probably not interested in having children. This man, too, was dating on Match.com. My thoughts, this referral would be a dead end. We live in different countries, he’s dating without purpose after living a full life — he with 2 grown children & a long term marriage just behind him. I’m looking for that life in front of me. Passing “single” ships with different destinations.
He: This weekend I met a woman and flew to Colorado for a date. Living in a small town makes dating difficult. Not only is it difficult to meet women in the area, but then to find one that doesn’t require the difficult task of blending families. Of course, how can one meet someone that has lived a full life but without the difficulty of “baggage” a new word I’ve learned in the new world of dating.
She: As time went by, I began spending more time in NY, many late work nights, stays in the city with the realization that I was over the commute and ready to settle in New York. My house went on the market.
He: In the world of Match.com, there is a silly thing called a “wink”. . . basically compared to a 7 year old boy punching a girl in the arm because he likes her. Or visa versa. Trying to get their attention. February 2005, I saw a profile that caught my attention. It wasn’t anything except a smile that did it. I sent a wink. She ignored it.
She: February 2005, I get a wink from a man in Canada. Winks are for kids. I ignored it.
>He: Ok, forget winks. I send an email to her, she responds. We agree to a phone date over the weekend. This is new age dating. A phone date.
She: Same wink profile sent a note. . .let’s talk. German businessman, strong accent. He was very serious. We spoke for hours and during that time I found out that he has 2 grown sons, a wife he lost to cancer, and lives near Toronto. Somehow, this man found me through a sea of profiles. Alex was right, he is not your typical guy. He’s great, but what man who already has grown sons wants to start new, a new family, a baby? A guy that’s not a typical guy.
He: With geography a slight issue, where do we meet? Since it was winter, why not Florida? I have a place there. The blind date is made. We will meet in Palm Beach on Friday after she’s finished with work. What can come of a woman who lives in NJ, and works in NY more hours than she sleeps.
She: The car service grabbed me up from the office to head to JFK. My colleagues had my itinerary in case he was unsavory. In case I went missing. You never know these days. No matter how charming he sounds on the phone. It feels like it was yesterday, walking down the hall of the airport, riding that escalator down and seeing Axel for the first time. I knew it was him, without question. And there he was with a rose in hand at the bottom of the escalator of the Palm Beach Airport. . . .
He: Do I take flowers? Do I take roses? Is it too much, too little? Ok, one rose. And there she was, thankfully, the exact smile I recognized from the website. We both smiled. A warm hug. I think we both knew we were lucky to have found each other. It was warm. It was finite. I am now her husband, and father to our daughter Olivia. Ten years of marriage, 11 years together. 10 years raising our daughter together. Fate took over and brought the two of us together. My life was renewed. Would I ever think after raising my sons for over 30 years I would become a father again? Never. What’s the chance of being blessed twice?
She: My life as a wife and mother began. All firsts for both of us. First child for me, first daughter for Axel. Wonderful lives lived and great loves came before that brought us here and continues through us today. Together. And that’s how we met.
*Footnote: March 4, 2005 We met in person, May 2005 “she” moved to Canada, February 2006 we married, September 2006 Olivia was born and the wonderful Carrie Drazin was there to witness and photograph Olivia at a mere 5 minutes old.