Gollum slithered around the picnic tables in a bald wig and a loincloth. Bilbo Baggins manned the barbecue. An elf with pointy ears asked if we had any veggie burgers.
My boyfriend, David, and I had not come dressed for the "Lord Of The Rings" theme for his family's annual group vacation with their friends. But costumed or not, I knew I'd be under scrutiny: I'm the first woman he'd brought along to introduce to everybody in his 26 years of attending. Read: The Un-Monster-in-Law
As Gollum lumbered by towards the card table full of key lime pies and cookie burgers, I turned to David and grinned. "Real love," I said, "is spending the weekend with your parents and their friends when everyone is dressed like Hobbits." He grinned back and we kissed.
Forty-eight hours later, David and I decided that we would move in together, waking up next to each other every morning and falling asleep together every night. Beginning our lives together this way felt like the right thing to do.
David and I didn't intend to move in with each other less than three months before we met. In fact, when we first had a conversation about moving in together, he said he thought it had been "too soon" to move in with his ex after nine months and that maybe he and I should wait a year. I've never lived with a partner before, I trusted he knew what he was talking about, and so I readily agreed.