A couple of weeks ago, X called and said he'd like to come see the show and spend some time with the girls. I told him that's fine, I'd leave our schedule open, but to please not say anything to the girls. Just in case it didn't work out. He respected that.
Sure enough, he called the day he said he'd be in town, and the girls and I spent some time with him. And it was a very nice visit.
He paid for meals, took the girls shopping, was where he said he'd be, and was pleasant to be around. I said things that just felt weird, like, "we're having breakfast with your dad."
They haven't seen him in two years, but Sylvia has been texting with him more regularly for the past few months. Of course, they hoped he would come see the show, but they wouldn't even voice that until I told them that he was here.
Sylvia jumped up and down immediately, of course. Riley's reaction was quiet, and she withdrew to her room. About 15 minutes later, she came bouncing out, "Okay, I'm excited now! I just needed to process."
He invited me to join them for lunch and shopping, which worked out to be a nice way for all of us to feel more comfortable. After a couple of hours, I left them to spend some time with him before I picked them up for the play.
He seemed to really enjoy it (I could hear his laughter a few times), and the girls were so excited and proud that he was there. He was so impressed with how well they did.
The next day, we all had breakfast together. (And it was weird for me to tell the host that we were a party of 4; I've gotten so used to odd numbers.) Then it was time to say good-bye.
The girls agreed, it was a very nice visit. I know it meant the world to them that their dad made a special effort to be there. While we hope there are more nice visits in the future, we will remain prepared for anything.
After the good-byes, we went to our final performance and cast party, and Monday morning, back to our commute and school and work. As nice as the weekend was, it's also nice to get back to our daily lives.