Of course it was chaotic. Family dinners always are, at least in my family. Besides a couple of cracks from my brothers, which were sufficiently inside-joke-ish that he didn't even notice, it went fairly smoothly.
The gathering of fathers and brothers in the driveway frying turkeys as his greeting didn't make him turn around. He didn't run for the door after an hour, not during the gravy tensions, not even when he had the perfect opening, when my dad left shortly after dinner to check on the dogs.
He stayed until the end. He even helped me pack up the roasting pan and what little leftovers my brother allowed us to take and carried them out to my car.
And much to my brothers' astonishment, he even called the next day. They hadn't scared him off. Neither had the loud conversations all occurring at once, the screaming kids, nor the crazed pack of wild dogs. I wondered if anything would.
Last night, I had dinner with him and some of his friends from out of state. As we were saying our goodbyes, his friends asked that I keep the date of their wedding free this summer.
Wait. This summer. Isn't that months away? As I walked to my car, I couldn't quite get enough air.