Saturday, August 26, 2006

So Many Men, So Little Time...

I have been officially out of a committed relationship for over a year now and I must say, it's been a year of growth and education on dating. I have really been "out there" doing online dating, speed dating, the bar scene and single's groups. I've read the books about finding "the one" and I've become an expert on dating. This is quite amazing considering I have about 8 nights a month when I'm free and I really don't like dating. I have gone through periods in the last year of feeling discouraged, ready to give up, and other times where I've felt excited by the freedom and fun of being single. I've been on lots of first dates, some second dates, and even had a few "relationships", though no relationship that developed into something that could be termed "committed". Many of the men I've met have become friends that I still get together with for Happy Hour or coffee to discuss our latest ups and downs with the single scene.

"Getting out there" has paid off and recently, I've met quite a few attractive men that I'd like to get to know better. But, wouldn't you know it, I'm having a problem with that, too! I'm just not cut out to "multi-date". It's so confusing. I have this annoying habit of wanting to be 100% honest, but it seems incredibly rude to mention to one guy that they are not the one and only person that I'm seeing. I also have a bad habit of disclosing way too much information, too early in a relationship. On one hand, I think that it's good to just get it all out there. On the other hand, most people don't want to know EVERYTHING so soon.

One of my problems is that I really don't like that getting-to-know-you chit-chat. I used to wish I could just skip to the familiar, fun, cozy, committed relationship stage. But, now that I've been so spoiled by the freedoms of NOT being in a committed relationship, there is a big part of me that doesn't necessarily want to get to a "committed relationship stage". I don't want to have to give up my relationships with the other guys that I casually date or friends that are a little more than friends. I keep thinking when I meet the right guy, I'll know it. But what if I'm so busy that I don't take the time to invest in the "right" guy? And what if in my quest to keep my options "open" I end up missing out on a relationship that might have developed into something serious?

I used to feel lucky if I even had one potential man to date. Now I have too many! If I don't focus on one, maybe I will end up with none. And with my schedule, I have often thought that there is only one guy I really have time to focus on. He's very cute and loves me more than anything. Yeah, he's kind of young, but he always makes me what if he's only 12?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

When The Kids Grow Up

I haven't been writing much and there's been so much that's been going though my head. In the last few weeks I've climbed my first 14'er, had a road-trip with the kids, and have had more action and potentials in the dating scene than I've had in a long time. But, I'll have to catch up with those blog entries another time. Today's entry is about my 19-year-old son, Matt.

It's impossible to describe the love you feel for your children. Just the thought of losing one of them is enough to make me get so teary-eyed that I have to remind myself that they are all perfectly healthy. If one of my children were to die, I don't know if I'd be able to go on. My love for them is so strong, and I think partly it's because they are the three people that really have always needed me and somehow that has given me purpose.

Matt no longer depends on me. What's strange is, after the divorce I inadvertantly became dependent on him. Matt was 16 years old when I got divorced. He has always been one of the most reliable, protective, smartest kids anyone could ever hope to know. He's the consumate Boy Scout, always prepared, always knowledgable about what the "right" thing to do is in any situation. When I got divorced, it was Matt that became the "handyman"...well, to an extent, he was the handyman when I was married, too. He knows how to fix things. Matt also enjoys putting on the "protective father" show, kidding me about my dates and my new single status.

Matt's Senior year was very tough and stressful. Without going into the specifics, we both were going through very rough times, going to therapy separately, and together. It was a year that was incredibly painful, and I wondered if I would lose the relationship I'd treasured with my older son. There were many things going on with him...girlfriend problems, school pressures, and other typical teen stuff. But, I think he'd also felt this pressure to "take care of me". I was in this vulnerable spot and really felt so clueless about so many things. Matt did not want to have to be the grown-up in our family and for that year, he rebelled.

We made it through the year, and he fullfilled his goal...he got accepted to UC Berkeley. Somehow, with the therapy and emotions of graduation and his excitement of living his dreams, we found a way to reconnect on a deeper level. I cried most of the summer last year. I cried because when I thought I'd finally gotten back the relationship with the son that I'd remembered, I had to physically lose him. I cried because I knew that I had become dependent on him and that that was part of why he had to leave. I cried because I felt that I was losing one more person from my family.

We all survived Matt's Freshman Year and he's been home all summer. Matt is more mellow and good-natured than ever. The stresses of Senior Year are far behind us. He tells me he loves me often. He plays with his little brother. He helps me around the house. He is thedependable, loving son that any mother would die for. And in half an hour, I need to drive him to the airport to go back to California for his Sophomore year of college.

I know I am much more prepared this year than I was last year. I can live without Matt. I am more independent and emotionally healthy. I am so proud of the man that he's become. But I will miss him so much.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Do We Ever Stop Yearning for Romantic Love?

I have so many, 3 incredible children, a good job, so many loving friends, a family that has always been supportive. The truth is my life has never been this problem-free and I am grateful. Almost every person I know is dealing with terrible problems and grief. I have a friend who's husband just died of cancer. Many of my friends are out of work or are losing their jobs. Many of my friends suffered so much more from their divorces and are still going through terrible emotional pain.

I put things in perspective and think: I should be the happiest person in the world. I am wasting this best time of my life feeling lonely.

It seems like such a relatively little thing to be unhappy about. Someone that loses a child cannot become a mother again if they are too old to have children. As sad as it is, they accept that that part of their life is over. Do they stop yearning for it? Does that happen with romantic love too? There is a big part of me that says I should be grateful for the happy marriage I had and accept that I will not find that kind of love again. I know it's a pessimistic viewpoint, but is it better to accept it than to hope for something that won't happen?

I'm not comparing the death of a child to divorce...I cannot imagine anything worse than going through the death of a child and (unlike divorce) I'm sure it's a grief that never goes away. For those that have lost a spouse to death, perhaps the analogy is more accurate. I am just wondering if the yearning we have to be one case, by our child, and in another case, by a spouse...ever goes away? If we accept that we will most likely be alone, will our lives be happier than if we are always hoping? We have "child-bearing" years and once those are past, most of us happily accept that we will no longer have children, especially if we were lucky enough to have had children. Could it be the same with love? Once we get past a certain age, is it better to just accept that marriage is unlikely and instead, embrace singleness?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Most Embarrassing Date

I'm entering a "Surviving Your Worst Date" contest. I haven't really had many bad dates...even this one was one of my favorites, but it was pretty embarrassing. I liked it, despite the embarrassment, because we laughed a lot...

I was in love. I was a 43-year-old, newly divorced, petrified, exhilarated, infatuated, obsessive lunatic. I had fantasized for two months about my friend, Jim, a 43-year-old single Dad, who had suddenly become the center of my every thought. Why had I never noticed what a Sex God he was? I finally got the courage to hint of my interest and to my intense delight, he asked me out.

Everything was going perfectly according to plan. Before long our first overnight at a romantic inn in the mountains was planned. I was ecstatic. There was one little problem. Somehow I had to transform myself from a middle-aged-Mom to a Sex Goddess in 2 weeks. After a crash diet and Victoria's Secret shopping spree, I felt a little more prepared. Experiments with lighting revealed exactly how dark the room would need to be to show off my sexy underwear, yet not reveal those unfortunate ripples on my upper thighs. As long as my push-up bra stayed on, I might be able to maintain an illusion of cleavage. My breasts had been through three children, all of whom I lovingly breastfed, little realizing that those suckers would ruin any chances of future strip shows.

The day finally arrives and I feel prepared. I've done my homework and have rehearsed for my debut as "Sex Goddess". We hike in the beautiful, romantic, winter wonderland. We flirt and hold hands. We dress for dinner and look gorgeous. I am feeling good! He wants me, I can tell. This is straight out of a romance novel. The dinner is delicious! I don't have to worry about that crash diet anymore. Suddenly, I have an outrageous appetite. I eat and eat and eat. Everything just tastes so good. We are both amazingly witty and the conversation gets more titillating as the wine continues to flow past our lips.

We head back to the room with great anticipation. Those butterflies in my stomach seem unusually active. So active, in fact, that they feel like they have now become attacking killer moths. The unique combination of my unusual eating habits, nerves, wine, and a tight skirt cause an alarmingly loud grumble to sound from my full belly. In one sitting, I seem to have gained twice the weight I lost on my crash diet. My plans for seductiveness never included popping the buttons off my skirt. I try to remain ladylike as I discreetly squelch my belches.

As I relieve the pressure by unbuttoning my skirt, Jim takes his cue and moves in closer. The moths have now morphed into birds or lions or some kind of devil which makes noises that are getting progressively louder and more embarrassing. I panic. OH MY GOD! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, DON'T FART!

I politely excuse myself. The walls in the bathroom are way too thin. I run the faucets hoping the sound of running water will drown out any other "noises" that might emerge. The water is quiet and I am too embarrassed to risk releasing the enormous amount of gas that is apparently trapped in my body. So I sit on the toilet in a complete state of discomfort wondering if I can manage to redirect the gas towards my mouth and burp it out.

I get an idea. "I think I'll take a little bath" I sweetly say, refusing to admit the reality of my situation. The bath water is louder and I have hope of a slow underwater release that, if I'm lucky, will go unnoticed from the other side of the bathroom door. A valiant try, but I'm getting no where. I'm nauseous now, as well, and not sure which way I should use the toilet. In my efforts to be as quiet as possible, I spend what seems like an eternity in the bathroom.

When I emerge, looking anything but sexy, Jim looks at me with an amused expression and asks if I'm OK. "Not really", I say. "Maybe we should just try and get some sleep".

A few minutes later I hear another sound, only this time it's from him. Is that him snoring? Yikes! I decide instantly that I will never be able to marry him. Absence of a snoring partner is one of the few advantages of singleness that I'm not willing to give up. And, how dare he fall asleep rather than be lying awake restless and frustrated by his overwhelming desire for me.

Despite my disappointment at the foiled plans for romance, I do take advantage of his snore-filled sleep to sneak back into the bathroom. Finally, by about 4am, I'm feeling relatively normal. I tiptoe back to bed, unsuccessfully trying not to wake Jim. He asks again if I'm OK and puts his arms around me. I realize I am no Sex Goddess and he is no Sex God. And as I snuggle closer, I find I am more than satisfied just being a middle-aged-Mom in the arms of a middle-aged-Dad.