Fully Involved

I changed my "relationship status" on Facebook this week. A simple action, but lordy be! what a response! I had emails, comments, text messages... all wondering who, when, what!? I laughed, amazed at how curious everyone was... but one email struck me. A good friend asked "Seriously? YOU are in a relationship, and you're admitting it for all of Facebook to see? This guy must be something special, that's a big step for you!" For me- What did she mean!? I talk about my vagina on Twitter, its not like I'm a private person at all! And was it really a big step? I mean, its just the internet for christ sakes... but the more I thought about it, the bigger it seemed. I had officially taken myself off the market. Whoa. Maybe I hadn't thought this through...

You see, its all quite complicated. I started dating following my separation, completely opposed to the idea of a serious relationship. I was determined to date and enjoy the single life completely. There were a few boys I spent more time with, but all ended up being rather disappointing. There was the "your only problem is that you're a mom" dude, the flaky artsy boy who drank, the total liar, then the highly motivated yet indecisive boy who I regrettably got in over my head with, (at which point he promptly skeedaddled) who left me wondering wtf I was doing to myself. After that, I had to stop... I quit dating and started focusing on figuring out what I wanted.

I'd previously said "single moms just want to have fun" which I still think is reasonable, but its a temporary thing. Single moms, just like all ladies, get to a point where they're ready and I was there. I was tired of crying over guys who weren't even thinking about me, and I decided it wouldn't happen anymore. I started focusing on changing: on being a more confident, beautiful, well-mannered lady, someone any guy would want to be with. Then I realized that was a giant crock of shit. I am confident, very beautiful, and well... my manners are intact but honesty and frankness have gotten me this far.

I was ready, I was worthy, and I was downright lonely. Take Your Kids to Dickson came along, and I spent a month working insane hours preparing for the most successful thing I've ever done. I was humbled, looking out over the crowds... seeing so many families there enjoying everything we'd planned. I knew I'd accomplished something incredible, and I was so proud. Thousands of people, but as I walked up the street with my daughter I couldn't have felt more alone. She and I were there together, watching the families... moms, dads, kids, and my eyes welled up with tears. I wasn't giving her the life I wanted for her... for us. I was trying, but it all seemed farther away than I was comfortable with.

I found myself a little freaked out, knowing what I wanted gave everything a different feel. I knew I couldn't settle, something I'd been doing every time since I started dating. I knew I wanted to be in love, I was tired of worrying about whether I was coming on too strong, counting rings before I could answer my phone, none of that made sense to me anyhow. As a grown woman with a child, I simply couldn't play games like a normal 25 year old. I was so disappointed with my dating experiences, but when considering who I'd been seeing was it any wonder? I wasn't dating a man because I wanted to fall in love and build a lasting relationship, I was dating because I wanted to be appreciated for more than my sidewalk chalk, project management, design and diaper changing skills. As a hard-working single mom, I just wanted to not have to figure out what I wanted.

Luckily, that worked out pretty well. I met the boy professionally a while back, a simple meeting to discuss a potential project. We wound up sitting around talking about divorce, kids, dating, our families, side projects... we both remarked later about how strangely comfortable we were talking to each other, though he teased me for being so nervous. I didn't bid on the project, and we continued talking often. Neither of us intended for things to develop and when they did, the timing couldn't have been more wrong. They say though that when you stop looking it finds you... and that's definitely the case here.

I sat watching TV after bean girl had gone to bed last night, and Jerry Maguire came on. I never understood why my mom always cried when she watched that movie until now. As a single mom, everything is different. I realized just what I'd been doing wrong: the silly games that go along with dating just don't fly with us. We expect more, we want and need love in a way that non-mamas just don't, and I didn't fully understand that when I was trying to force relationships with boys with no desire to actually get involved. Single mamas fall hard, when we realize its there we are fully involved. I realized that what I've been feeling is a very different kind of lonely than I'd ever known, and I was wearing my Brave-Little-Toaster-pants hoping not to get hurt but failing at it. I wanted a boy to understand and appreciate all of me, and I wanted to feel comfortable sharing that.

I'm fully involved, and I'm thrilled about it. Taking myself off the market wasn't as difficult as I'd imagined when I met someone who caught my attention and kept it. A dad himself, he understood from the start what I wanted and needed (even when I didn't). In not trying to say the right things, he won me over completely with an honesty and frankness I'd craved without realizing. It comes as no surprise to any of you that I'm an open book. I put everything on the line, take it or leave it there I am. I opened myself up and for the first time didn't fight the uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach saying "this isn't a good idea, mama" I wanted this, and he did too. With that comes a certain air of caution, for ourselves, our hearts, our kids... was it safe to give into the excitement of something that seemed so... genuine? Its a strange time for both of us, so we initially resisted the idea of starting a relationship, but things have developed naturally despite our hesitation, and here we are.

So here I am, admitting that I'm nuts about a boy and for once, I am so fully appreciated, just as I am. Imperfect and impulsive, bossy and idealistic, he looks at me with a sense of wonder.

Thank you for that, mister.

Also, a huge thank you to Ms. Single Mama who works so hard to provide support and insight. Reading about your love with John Bear is inspiring and exciting. Congratulations, lady. Thank you for helping us sort out all of this crazy dating stuff and allowing us to peek in on your life, you are incredible.
You want to see what the boy is doing right? Here's a good list from Ms. Single Mama herself:
How to Date a Single Mom


July 12, 2009 at 3:31 PM Ms Single Mama said...

Wow. What a beautiful post this is... absolutely incredible. You captured so much here of what it is like to fall in love as a single mom.

I believe that all of what your describe, our need for more and our higher standards because we have a child, puts us at a great advantage over single and childless gals (god bless them) but we have a world of insight they don't.

Just a bonus, a bright spot to being a single mom.

Thanks so much for the link the well wishes. And I'm guessing your Mr. Mister took that beautiful photograph of you - just beaming with three bottles of water. So sweet.

July 12, 2009 at 3:37 PM Anonymous said...

That is the best post I've read in ages. Love love love it.

I'm so happy for you, you have no idea.

July 12, 2009 at 3:54 PM halfdeserted said...

Yay for love (or something like it)!

It doesn't hurt that the boy's super cute too! Assuming he is who I think he is...

Glad things are going well for you!


July 13, 2009 at 4:52 AM Melissa said...

Yay for you!!! You definitely deserve it!!!

I am so nosy though that now I want to know who this mystery boy is!!! I am sure I don't know him, but I swear... I am just so nosy!!!

- Melissa