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The Opened Oyster

I met Francois through traffic court. He had received a speeding ticket--and I work for Administrative Adjudication Court as a court clerk. When he had to appear in court we both had instant eye contact. He then approached me in a kind and gentle way, and we began corresponding from that day until now. I could tell he was younger than me, and not African American, which I am.

I thought and hoped he was either Hispanic or West Indian. I had been married to a Haitian man and vowed to never date a non-American again. The first difference was he was eight years younger, and is Haitian, and the youngest out of five children!

On our first date I emphasized my age, that I have two daughters, and that I am divorced. He patiently listened and explained that my children are not a disease or a problem, my age is not contagious and being divorced is not the greatest sin!

My first reaction was that this guy cannot be this mature; it is all a game. We agreed that communication would be our best friend. We are still working very hard to keep our communication alive and well. My first reaction to his age was to say Good-bye Young Boy, I will not be your teacher or some great story to talk about to your friends.

Our biggest problem is his sisters. He expressed that everyone has a right to their own comments. My stand is "yes," everyone has a right to their comment, but if your comment is negative and your life does not consist of a positive role, take your comment and apply it to your life! We agree on that!

My mother's first reaction was he is YOUNG! My father was furious -- he is a Black Archie Bunker.

The positive impact in our relationship is family ties and hard work. "Patience" was never my friend, but now we are walking hand in hand.

We are still trying to come to a mutual understanding that men and women can be friends. I still disagree! There are a lot of hurting people in the world, and they use people when they can. I try to emphasize to him when a women is talking to you, hear what she is really saying -- not just what her words are, but her expression also.

The outside world does not concern us much, but what does concern us is the impact we leave on our girls and future children. We are expecting to be married on November 27, 1999. Francois has no children, and I agreed to reverse my tubal ligation and increase our family.

His mother's concern is that the girls will become rebellious and disrespect him as they get older, causing problems in our marriage. I explained to her that my girls have known him since they were two years and four years old. They are now six years and eight years old. They understand the meaning of respect and loving our family. We agree that family is a relationship not only Blood! His mother now embraces the girls as her own grandchildren.

Francois' unwavering patience and understanding has allowed me to reveal to him the pearl inside the oyster.

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