I love the way he can handle a crowd, especially when I'm so nervous about it. As an introvert, I find it takes a lot out of me to be in a crowd. The thought of having to talk and interact with a large group of people puts my stomach in knots. The thought of having to talk to people I don't know absolutely cripples me. But James handles it all with such ease and grace. He knows how nervous it makes me. I can't tell you how calming it is to have him by my side.
Two cases in point:
1) I was invited to see a group of high school friends (yes, they were friends, not just acquaintances) perform with their comedy troupe in Toronto. I really wanted to go and see them, but I was so worried about what I would say to them afterwards! The only way I could get up the courage to go was with James at my side. Funny, isn't it. I mean, they are my friends, and yet I needed James there to calm my nerves. Turned out I didn't need to worry, but it was good to have James there to help the conversation flow and avoid those awkward silences.
2) Last night we had a Valentine's dinner and dance at our church. Although we wouldn't be sitting at tables for two (there are only big round tables at the church, which seat six or eight people each) I was excited to sit with some friends and have conversation without young children tugging on my arm and competing for my attention. On the drive over I was urging James to hurry, that I didn't want to get there late and be stuck sitting with those who weren't really good friends. You see, it was our night out, and I couldn't stand the thought of having to sit with people I didn't know well and either sit in silence for three hours or feel the horrible pressure of trying to find something to talk about. As we pulled in the parking lot, I had a short panic attack. What if they seated us instead of letting us pick our seats? My stomach started churning and I nearly tore the skin off of my hands wringing them. Well, my worst fears were realized. When we got in, we had to draw a number for the table to sit at. We were the first ones to draw table four. I scanned the room; my best friends were already there, at other tables. Each time a couple entered the room, my stomach leapt and fell.
Through it all, there was James. He put an arm around my shoulders and told me he thought it was cute how nervous I was. I can't tell you how reassuring it was knowing that if we did have to sit with people I didn't know well, at least James would be there. (In the end we had a fantastic table with lots of great conversation, even if I didn't know everyone really well.)
I love the father James is. He is a get-down-on-the-ground, super involved, loves his kids to the ends of the earth kind of father. He loves to play with them, and make up stories for them at bedtime, and cuddle with them in the morning, and spoil them all he can. The boys' faces light up when they hear the front door unlock at the end of the day, and make a beeline to the door to welcome him home. He takes his role as dad very seriously and yet so naturally. He was meant to be a father, no doubt about it.