A Modern Family Romance Part One


“Does good pizza even exist down here?”  I asked B. on our first date.

“Sure there does,” he replied, as he rattled off a short list of reputable places.  Some of them I had heard of.  There was that restaurant in Wilmington.  There was the place in Carolina Beach that had a good reputation.  But good compared to what?

“No, seriously, good enough for a Jersey Girl kind of good?  Because North Carolina people have told me about the ‘good pizza’ before, but it’s never been the same.”

Pizza talk took up a lot of our first date.  I decided to get the big things out of the way early.

“I could eat pizza every single day.”

“Yoga is very important to me.   As important as pizza!”

“I say the F word way too much.  Which isn’t very yoga like I know…”

B. and I sat across from each other in the Indonesian restaurant in Wilmington until closing time, talking about kids and life and work and pizza.

B. was the last of the internet dates that I had agreed to.  After two months on a match making site, where most of the men I had met were not the men for me, I had decided to opt out of my subscription to focus on life in front of me.  I was single parenting.  I was starting a business.  The man thing?  It would have been nice, but it needed to be put on the back burner.  Besides, I was resigned to the fact that I’d rather be alone than take up with a man who wasn’t right for me.  And maybe there wasn’t a man who was right for me.  Or at the least, maybe not here and not now, in this far off pocket of the world, where my single friends constantly rattled on about the pickings being so slim.

Then along came B.  He was (a) very respectful.  He (b) actually read my internet profile! Which led him to (c) make sure that the restaurant where he suggested we meet on our first date had plenty of vegetarian selections.  Plus, he’s (d) upfront, (e) kind, (f) generous. And he (g) always brings me pizza.

He made me forget pretty quickly about my man hiatus.

On an early date, B. surprised me by setting three pizza boxes out on the table in his Surf City home.  “Tonight’s the night we’re going to find you good pizza,” he said.

And while one of the selections was pretty good, none of them were Jersey good.    But B. kept trying.  It became routine for B. to bring a pizza with him when he came to visit.  Elizabeth’s in Wilmington (excellent sauce), Pizzetta’s in Leland (oh, that cheese!), Long Island Pizza in Surf City (amazing eggplant topping).  They were all good, but “Jersey Good” was still a different story.

“If you ever come to New Jersey with me,” I say to B. one afternoon while sitting on the couch, “We’ll have pizza for every meal.  We’ll have LaScala’s the first day, and Villa the next.  And then Luigi’s.  And then Brother’s. I’ll never get tired of eating pizza with you,” I say as I curl up next him.

The pizza place by the beach had opened around the same time I had met B.  It was off my path of travel and forgotten about soon after a friend had mentioned them.  But one night, while looking at a house for  rent, I saw the yellow building and decided to give them a try. The cheese was gooey.  The sauce, tangy.  The crust, chewy enough yet crunchy enough at the same time. I was in love.  And after all my searching, the “good pizza” was right in front of my eyes.

Eighteen month ago, I wrote down all of the qualities I wanted in the man I would have my next relationship with. Some of the traits seemed elusive, but I decided to list them all anyway.  I can’t help but wonder if we’re conditioned to believe that we have to work tirelessly to secure the things we think are most important. Maybe we’ve convinced ourselves that something is only valuable if we have to struggle to find it. For me, this theory was smashed to pieces when B. dropped out of the sky, this man, who wants to be good to me, who expects so little in return.

My two biggest North Carolina surprises yet?  B. and “Jersey good pizza.”


Editor’s note:  Please stay tuned for Part II of A Modern Family Romance, which will publish as part of Laura’s series on marriage, on July 23rd. Love to all!     


A Modern Family Romance Part One — 44 Comments

  1. Where do I start? Dude, it’s so good to read your words again – and I know another Yogi who says the F Word a lots and she is completely fabulous, you two would get along great!
    I’m not sure what I’m happier about for you – Jersey-good pizza or B. 🙂
    And both without really looking for them, sound’s like a winner to me (both).
    Kerstin @ Auer Life recently posted…Third Time’s a CharmMy Profile

    • Dude! One day I have to meet up with you and the other yogi who drops the F bomb! Talk about a dream date! And you can bring your man and I’ll bring mine and they can drink beer while we eat the really good pizza. And I heart you so big that I’d share it with you and our yogi friend. I don’t share the good pizza with everyone, you know. xo

  2. Pizza: Yay!

    I could write a book right here about how these things happen exactly when they were not going to/supposed to happen in a way things never happen to a girl who never really expected it anyway. I hope you have found what I have. I hope you found the impossible imperfect-perfection of a wonderful man who really is the one for you. The one you don’t have to doubt and wonder about because you just don’t. The one who makes it possible for you to stop lying to yourself because you’re honestly safe and truly loved. The one you never believed existed. It sounds like this is him!

    I wish I could hug you right now!
    tammigirl recently posted…This Is What HappensMy Profile

    • I wish I could hug you right now too. And I get. every. word. that you say above. All of it. Because I never expected any of this and certainly never believed this guy existed. And yay for pizza!

  3. This and having my Duran Duran tweet favorited by DDHQ are the two best things I’ve heard all day! What wonderful news. I’m glad you have found yourself another layer of happiness!

    It sounds like your move has opened up quite a wonderful world for you. I’m so thrilled for you and wish you tons of love (or like?) and more pizza, of course.

    Can I say that I love that your romance developed over pizza? I’d keep him.
    Melissa Burton recently posted…Friday’s Featured Female – Nellie@BrooklynActiveMamaMy Profile

    • OMG! Your tweet was favorited by DDHQ? LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! And another layer of happiness? I love how you put that. Because it was good before and now it’s just….it’s just amazing. Knowing this guy has my back through it all. And has pizza in his truck when he comes over. xo

    • Yes Jen! So much better than flowers (although sometimes he brings those too:) And yes! You need a guy who will bring you bacon. That’s when you know know you’ve found “the one.” xo

  4. I have to agree with Kerstin – it is so good to read your words again. And this story? I’m really so very happy for you – for this life that is opening itself up to you, for the happiness, the unexpected things right in front of you, and not to mention the search for the perfect pizza. So happy for you my friend.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…High Five FridayMy Profile

    • Thank you for being a witness to the words, Christine and for cheering me on now, and always. There really is so much good stuff right in front of us when we are being aware. That’s Yoga, right? And yes! Three cheers for pizza!

  5. That’s so wonderful 🙂 And I totally agree that when you stop looking for it is when you find it – it peeps its way around the corner someway, somehow. Pizza is always phenomenal and it’s hard to find NY pizza here in VA although I’m sure it’s here somewhere but there are soo many other places to hit that my list is overloaded 😛 Can’t wait to hear Part 2 of the story and have a great weekend Ilene! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently posted…Game of Thrones Historical ThrowbackMy Profile

    • Iva it’s so true that when we let something go, it comes to us. So simple yet so hard sometimes! Well if you ever make it to my corner of the world, I can definitely give you a suggestion or two on where to find pizza! Xo

  6. So glad to see your post pop up in my inbox! I love this story! Love and pizza are wonderful things and I am so happy you have found both! Life is amazing! Sometimes I think when we find the right path in one area of our lives the other right things slide into place. Amazing I bet to think how much you have changed your life in the last few years! 🙂
    Jess recently posted…First Workout BackMy Profile

    • Jess- that’s a great point, about finding the right path in one area and other things falling into place. I think the changes I’ve made in the past few years have allowed more of “the real me” to surface. So no surprise that I’d discover a man who fits the real me so well. Love to you my friend. Sending good vibes from Oak Island. Xo

  7. Regarding relationships, I’ve always believed it’s about the little things, like noticing what you love to eat, or the music you enjoy hearing, etc. A man who pays attention to those things is very sweet indeed!
    Glad to hear from you and see that things are going swimmingly. 🙂
    Kim recently posted…Saturday Sips: Encourage the dreamersMy Profile

  8. Ahhh…. yes yes yes. When it’s right, there is no struggle really. That’s a sure sign of something good. And how ironic that your best pizza was right there… just waiting to be tried. Oh how many messages are in just that one thing, yes? Amazing!!!

    Sometimes the effort, the painstaking hurdles, the cutting gashes of our lives and the struggles that soon grow strength- all ALL- every last piece of every last part in our lives- has an answer. If you’re open to it. And I love that you are always open to it.,

    The wait is worth it, yes?
    Chris Carter recently posted…Devotional Diary: Embrace Your Grace. Psalm 139:13-16My Profile

    • I try to be open to it, CC. I think that having friends like you has definitely kept me in track. To be aware of when the good things are in front of me. Thank you for sharing it all with me. The trying times and the good. Love you!

  9. Oh so happy for you! It’s amazing what comes when you stop looking. I had just about given up on dating when I met Sam. And enjoy that delicious pizza. I definitely miss Jersey pizza, it’s definitely not quite the same even in Massachusetts.
    Bev recently posted…Friday Finds: The Biking EditionMy Profile

  10. ILENE!!! You don’t tell what the name of the place is that has the best pizza! No fair. 😉 Hope you’re having a great weekend. See you soon! Christie

  11. Oh, oh, this… I love this. And you know that as a fellow Jersey girl, I take my pizza very seriously, too, right? It’s funny, because the bf and I are going to Central Park later to hear a bluegrass band play and we were all, “let’s go to that fancy schmancy vegetarian restaurant….” then I read this and I’m all, “nah. All I want is a good slice of PIZZA.” (A heck of a lot cheaper, too).

    A man who brings you BOXES OF PIZZAS TO CHOOSE FROM?! I don’t think I have to tell you how special that really is 🙂 I kind of jumped a little out of my skin. SWEETNESS!!! Excited to hear about what unravels next.
    Charlotte recently posted…The problem with dating as I see itMy Profile

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