I could tell my dad meant business. He and my live-in boyfriend, Mark, were leaning toward each other, deep in serious conversation. I caught Dad's eye as I approached the restaurant table. He leaned back and smiled in greeting. Mark, obviously ruffled by the conversation, jumped up and quickly kissed me before leaving for work.
"What was that about?" I asked, as I sat and took a sip of the untouched Coke Mark had left on the table.
"We were having a chat about your future. I want to be sure he takes care of you if you choose to get married."
I raised my eyebrows in question.
"I want to make sure he knows how important it is that you stay well. Paying for your psychiatrist, making sure you take your meds, supporting you so you don't get overwhelmed with stress. Those sort of things."
That was 15 years ago. To this day I find it funny — and weird — that the entire father–to–future-son-in-law conversation focused on my bipolar disorder. My dad meant well; after watching me struggle throughout my teen years, flipping out during stressful times, and having to walk me through many a meltdown, he wanted to be sure that the next man in my life was equal to the task.