I have been wanting to talk about this for months...and today is the day.
On March 10, we celebrated my dad's birthday and said goodbye to Sean. After submitting his name for the Bachelorette, it was time for him to actually take off on his adventure. The afternoon of March 11, he flew to North Carolina and the journey began. We didn't see Sean again until he walked out into the backyard at my parents' house for the home town date on Thursday, April 26.
So...how do these dates work? Do we just show up and go...no. Sean called me at home (which totally freaked me out and caught me off guard) about two weeks before and said we needed to get prepared for a home town date. (It was weird answering the phone and it being him after so many weeks of zero communication.) After that, the nicest producers in the world started calling my parents and us about setting up our day.
My parents and my family of four met with the producers five days before the segment was actually shot. They were AWESOME! Words cannot express how nice they were and how much we loved them. They were so great with my kids, they were so sweet to us...they were fabulous. During these 5 days, we had 4 production meetings before the day of taping, so we spent a lot of quality time with them beforehand.
The day of the taping was very surreal. I've been a huge fan of this show for over a decade (I've watched every.single.season.), so to actually meet the people behind it and see how it works was an awesome experience for me. I know some cynics won't believe me but the biggest thing I learned from this experience was that the show is really real. There was no script, there were no questions we couldn't ask, there were no re-takes of scenes. Other than the fact that we didn't eat our dinner (who wants to chew food and talk on national TV, not me!), the show was 100% authentic. It was very normal and not rehearsed at all. (If normal is talking to your brother and his new girlfriend while 3 cameras and 20 people watch..it was very normal.)
Now...on to Emily. I really, really enjoyed spending time with her that day. Emily and I had a 45 minute conversation alone where we discussed Sean, her daughter, her life, my life...it was a really sweet time to share with her. She is even more beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. She was very thoughtful...she was very genuine...she was lovely and made our day very special.
Ok...my dad...I've received dozens and dozens of emails and Facebook messages about him...yes, he's that sweet and no, he can't be your dad. :)
And the prank(s)..the producers said Sean wanted to tease Emily a bit and prank her, so being the good sports that we are, we went along. First of all, Sean hasn't lived at home in 10 years, and when he did, my mom would have killed him if his room had looked anything like the room they showed last night. Sean lives in a very well-kept home with his two dogs, Ellie and Lola...no worries about sloppy Sean living at home. The armadillo you saw was a real armadillo (dead, of course) that my parents' neighbors found. The thing is...it was so hard to prank Emily because she was just so nice about everything. It's hard to prank someone who is that sweet and doesn't bite at the bait. She was a great sport.
My favorite part last night was when Sean came out and we saw how excited my kids were to see him. That was the longest period of time they've ever gone without seeing their Uncle Seanie and they had missed him so much. They have such a special bond with their uncle.
Ok...the show continues...I'm sure I'll have stuff to say next week too. Thanks for letting us be a part of your night last night. We have been truly blessed by the wonderful people at ABC and this experience.