I haven’t written in months, and I have the best reason ever for my absence: I’ve been very busy falling in love.
And yes, you do just know the right one–and you do just know when you are truly falling in love versus developing some kind of temporary attachment. It’s deep, instinctual, complete, joyous, and utterly obvious.
But that isn’t the subject of this post.
Dating while raising pre-teens and teens is tricky; of course, I care about their feelings and maintaining their sense of stability and normalcy. For the last five single-and-dating years of my life, my kids have had extremely limited interaction with the men I dated. In one way, I think it was incredibly smart. Those dates and relationships were a series of experiments and mistakes, and I think it was more than enough for them to witness my confusion. They certainly didn’t need to meet these men and get to know them–or have these men in their home.
One the other hand, the kids have gotten used to my being alone, being at their beck and call, being in relationship with me and with each other without an “outsider” threatening the inner workings of our pleasant home.
I remember one day my older daughter asked me about a date I was going on or had been on, not because she was interested, but because she wanted to say, “Why don’t you just give up and accept the fact that you’re going to be alone?” She was 13 at the time, I believe, and I knew better than to think that alone forever is what she wanted for me. She just wanted me to stay focused on her and my being upset by bad dates was just kind of a big bummer for everybody.
She is almost 15 now. As I’ve described in previous posts, she is a tough basketball competitor and maintains an exterior of bravado and emotional indifference. She is funny as hell and only seems truly moved (to tears, I might add) by Russell Westbrook’s rambling online posts.
She seems amused by my current relationship. She’s given him a nickname and teases me about my distracted state of being. She asked me abruptly this week if I thought I was going to marry him.
Yes, I said. Someday.
Really? She said. You think he’s the one?
I have no doubt, I said.
She got up off the kitchen floor and came sobbing into my arms. She held me tightly.
I pulled back to see her face.
Honey, are you upset? I asked.
No, she said, both shaking and smiling. I am so happy.
We parents must remember that our happiness, safety, security, and future do matter to our children, despite any “I don’t give a shit” appearances.
I am grateful not only for this extraordinary moment with my daughter, but also that I doggedly held onto hope that love beyond my imagination was possible.