Written and Media by Kelsey Neier.
Having someone to love is family. Having somewhere to go is home. Having both is a blessing.
This is a topic that I know a lot about, because my Dad met his girlfriend Shelly online. My parents divorced around 2005. My Mom eventually went on to marry someone else, and my Dad had a new girlfriend named Donna. Things did not work out with this woman. He had met her through my aunt Judy, and Donna was not the best person to be around. She never took the time to get to know my brother and I, and was never really happy around us. Thankfully, my Dad and her broke up, and I was pretty happy about it. However, my Dad ended up being by himself a lot of the time, since my brother and I commute between both homes every other night (their houses are 10 minutes apart). Some nights it was just himself, my cat Muffin, and the T.V. My Dad was depressed a lot during that time. I remember one year he did not want to even put up Christmas lights or decorate the house. He complained a lot and worried about only having one income. It was heartbreaking to see him so sad all the time.
I had tried to set him up with one of my managers at Cato. Her name is Dawn and she is a very sweet lady. Although my Dad and her had a good date, the chemistry was not really there. One day, my Dad brought up how hard it is to go out and find a good woman these days. My brother Matthew and I jokingly said,”Why don’t you try Christian Mingle?” and laughed it off. Well, my Dad took us seriously. It wasn’t too long until he called me over to the kitchen table and said, “Kelsey, what do you think of this girl? Her name is Shelly. She likes cooking, camping and bowling, just like me.” At first I was in shock, and did not know how to respond. I was a little hesitant and reserved at first, but did not want to upset my Dad. I told him that was nice that they had some things in common and went along with my day. I really did not take it seriously and neither did my brother.
Fast forward a bit, and my Dad started driving four hours to Lowell, Indiana every other weekend to see her (8 hours there and back). He told us about her and how nice and funny she was. I tried to keep an open, mind because I had closed myself off from my step-dad Rich when I first met him, and regretted doing that. I learned that everyone deserves a chance. When she came down during a family event and met everyone, I greeted her with a big smile and a hug. It was a bit harder for my brother, because him and my Dad are close and do everything together. Eventually he warmed up to her and she moved in with us. I can tell how happy Shelly and my Dad are together. My Dad is always in a much better mood, and he doesn’t have to be alone anymore. We put the Christmas lights up this year as a family. He buys her cards and flowers just because. Shelly cares about him, and spending time and getting to know Matt and I. We love her to death, and could not imagine life without her. Shelly and my Dad are a Christian Mingle success story, proving that you can find love anywhere.