I was meeting my older man’s family for the first time at his cousin’s wedding, and as the evening wore on, we started mingling with the rest of the extended family. Keegan’s family is massive, and all of the cousins his age had children who were about 10 years younger than myself—I was officially closer in age to all of the kids.
After the main reception party, all of the cousins—basically everyone Keegan’s age—decided to keep the party going. The grandparents stepped in to take care of all the kids while the “adults” all met up at a local bar. On the way there, we rode with Kelly and Richard, the bride and groom. In the backseat of their car, Keegan warned me. “They’re probably going to grill you now. Just be yourself. I love you,” he whispered to me.
It was a quick five-minute ride from the reception to the bar; we were all quickly seated in a large booth and pulled more tables and chairs over to accommodate the rest of the group. “So Vivian, you are the only new face of the group,” his cousin Warren started. “Here it comes,” I thought to myself.
“What are your intentions with Keegan? Do you plan on having sex and need protection?” Warren said, laughing as he chugged his beer.
“Keegan said you work full-time. What do you do? Are you a nanny or something?” Warren’s wife of 15 years, Carla, asked.
“You’re drinking, so you aren’t pregnant, right? I can’t figure out why a 20-something as hot as you would want this old man! Hey, Keegan and I were born two months apart. Do I get a free pass?” joked Richard, as his new wife smacked his arm.
“Slow down, slow down. She’s clearly inebriated and new to our all-night drinking. She has a low tolerance being so young,” his other cousin Kim chimed in. As uncomfortable as I was, I joined in with the laughter.
Luckily, I didn’t actually get a chance to answer any of their questions before Keegan chimed in. “She’s my sexy babysitter, because you know, I need a babysitter, since I don’t have any kids!” The room erupted with laughter at Keegan’s sarcastic joke, painting me as his babysitter.
Everyone except Carla was laughing. We didn’t know at the time, but it turned out that her husband, Warren, had been having an affair with their foreign babysitter. We didn’t know, and didn’t mean to touch on a sensitive subject. The group of cousins had a lot of good fun otherwise with our age difference and was overall a very good group of people. It wasn’t long before they were all ready to retire to bed; having kids was apparently tiring.
Since we had none of our own—other than me, they joked—we weren’t ready to go bed. So Keegan and I decided to take a stroll by the bay. It was beautiful at night; the perfect spot to watch the sunrise. We cuddled up in the front seat of his Dodge Charger and waited. We discussed the evening and had a few good laughs.Overall, Keegan felt that it went well and that I had been “cemented” into his family now as his soon to be young wife.
Keegan’s family left quite an impression on me, too, being filled with many couples who were together in such long, stable marriages that weathered countless storms—his own parents are married for 47 years now, his grandparents for 68 years, and his aunts for 30 to 40 years. Many of his cousins’ marriages were the same way; most were heading on their second decade of marriage. That’s not a value or principal that is present in my family. I loved Keegan deeply, and very much wanted to have a stable, happy marriage with him, full of longevity and passion. Keegan could make this dream come true for me.
His family could give our future kids the childhood family experience that I never had. The grandparent experience, the great-grandparent experience, aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles—in Keegan’s family, they’re all a tight-knit group, but totally non-existent on my side of the family. I joked with him that I would marry him for his family, instead of “marrying for money,” like everyone usually assumes with age-gap couples.
Most of all, aside from a few jokes and questions, his family accepted me. They accepted our non-conventional May-December relationship and were happy for us. I couldn’t ask for anything more. They wanted to see Keegan happy, and finally—many years later after the rest of the cousins’ his age—they were seeing him happy, in love, and ready to wed.