Archive | June, 2013

Being a childless mother

26 Jun

motherhoodIt seems somehow appropriate to be thinking about being a mother, or the fact that I’m not really a mother, on my birthday.

Some of you will judge, but that’s ok. The last guy I dated (for 2 weeks) wanted me to have his baby. He typed it in a text message in all caps: HAVE MY BABY! HE WOULD BE BEAUTIFUL!

I know…romantic.

Of course I had all of the expected apprehensions about this proposition: He is 49 years old and I’m 42, we barely knew each other, we live 1200 miles apart, he neglected to tell me he was in a relationship with another woman when he met me, blah, blah, blah.

But honestly, I thought about it. A lot. At the gym where I worked at the front desk, I watched all the fathers come to pick their kids up from summer day camp and I wondered if they were in their 50s and if they would be in their 60s when their kids graduated from high school. Every time I saw a pregnant woman, even though most were 10 years younger than I am, I imagined myself looking as beautiful as they did. I thought about making baby clothes and having a baby shower and decorating a nursery and being #$^&@! excited about becoming a parent for the first time in my life.

And when I told that guy I couldn’t have a long-distance relationship with him, it kind of broke my heart knowing that I wouldn’t be getting pregnant in the next few months.

Many years ago, I used to get very upset about the reality that I would come to the end of my life and not have left any kind of legacy. I wouldn’t have my own children or grandchildren at my bedside in my last days. Today that doesn’t bother me so much because I think I’ve lived a pretty good life, despite the mistakes I’ve made, and I don’t have regrets about not getting married or having children. But I still wonder from time to time if I would have been a good mother.

I know it’s foolish for so many reasons to have entertained the thought of getting pregnant at my age with a man I had just met. Trust me, I know. But when you’ve been alone most of your adult life and you’re truly lonely sometimes and you wonder how long it would be before someone found your bloated, drowned body if you fell down in the shower and cut your head open, you are willing to entertain foolish thoughts every once in a while.

Today, on my 42nd birthday, I’m grateful for my life. I’m glad I didn’t get married and become a mother when I was young, because I wasn’t a very healthy person for much of my life. I’m glad my life worked out the way it did. I’m so incredibly thankful for my siblings and my nephews (and baby Ruby who’s coming in September!). And I’m especially glad that 42 years ago, my mom gave birth to me.

Happy my birthday to you, everyone!

Being wrong and starting over

24 Jun

You know, I don’t mind being wrong. I’m wrong often, and I usually enjoy the opportunity to learn and grow when I find out I’m wrong. But being wrong about being in love sort of sucks.

I think that Republican and I were in love for the wrong reasons. Or we thought we were in love because it’s fun to think you’re in love and to believe that someone is excited about you and thinking about you and really wants to be with you. We were excited for almost two weeks, but there was too much other stuff — real life stuff — that made our long-distance relationship not work. And in the end, I don’t think he even liked me that much! At least he didn’t like the real me.

After I told him it wouldn’t work for me, I felt really sad. I made my cat snuggle me on the couch. I cried while watching “Revenge of the Invisible Man” or something stupid like that. And then I said, “Screw that! I’m not going to waste time feeling sad and regretting the past and worrying about the future! I want to be in love with someone who wants to be in love with ME, and I’m going to keep searching for that.” So I reactivated my profile on that wacky dating site, and I made sure to indicate that I only wanted to meet men who were actually single.

Because this is a post about dating, and I’m a single girl who’s been single most of her adult life and has had more than her fair share of bad dating experiences, and you’re probably not a single person, I have to say this: I do not need to have a relationship in order to feel good about myself. I love myself! I have a great life! But I am tired of being alone and I want to share my amazing life and my amazing self with someone. I want to be in love.

Tonight I have a date with a man I’ve been emailing with for quite a while. He has two young boys (he calls them “the dudes”) and a trampoline in the back yard. When I asked about the trampoline, which I saw in the picture of the big tree that was uprooted by our recent storm, he said, “Jumping is in your future.” I think he’s pretty funny, or at least he seems pretty funny. We’ll have a fun date.

Keep praying for me, mom. And anybody else who wants to join in. Pray that I make good decisions and that I meet someone who will be honest and respectful and will give me the kind of love I deserve.

Here’s to starting over — again!

Being in love

21 Jun

love-love-33915282-1920-1200I think I am in love. With a man.

If I had a list of must-haves–and truthfully I don’t because I’ve learned that it’s important to keep an open mind when it comes to relationships–this man wouldn’t have many of them. And I suspect I don’t have many of his must-haves either. I have always said I wanted to meet someone who lives in the city (specifically MY city) so that we can actually spend time together and really get to know each other. I met someone who lives in a city more than 1,000 miles away from mine. We have opposing political views. He’s a Catholic church-going man, and I’m a recovering Catholic who belongs to a Lutheran church and is not sure about God. He wants to have a baby, and I am absolutely terrified of that idea. He smokes and drinks occasionally, and I do neither.

But I think I love him.

He makes me laugh. He has the most beautiful eyes. He loves puppies and children and his mom. He said he had a crush on me from the moment he first saw my photo. He said he’s looked for me his entire life.

Yesterday I watched the movie Cloud Atlas. It’s damn confusing, but I think it’s about love. And cannibals. And how we can be connected to people throughout our lifetimes. It made me cry because stupid movies about love always do, but it also made me think about how we (or maybe just me?) tend to look for reasons NOT to fall in love. Instead of focusing on what works, I focus on what doesn’t. I worry about what I don’t have in common with a person, about the many ways our relationship is doomed to fail, about how much easier it is to be alone because then nobody can hurt you.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get the same results. Or something like that. You can’t grow if you don’t take risks and step outside of your comfort zone. You can’t fall in love if you’re always looking for reasons not to fall in love.

Whenever I have relationship problems, I talk to my Grandpa Lorne. He passed away a few years ago, but if our loved ones can help us from beyond, I know he is listening and trying to help me. I know he loves me and wants me to find a man who will give me the same undying love he gave to my Grandma Libbey. So I ask him to help me do the right thing and to be the most loving person I can be.

I want to be in love with someone who wants to be in love with me. I want to share a home and my life with someone. I want to be over-the-moon excited about someone who is as excited about me.

Today and tomorrow and the next day, I’m going to look for reasons to be in love–not just with the Catholic Republican from a far-away city but with all of the special people in my life. I hope you’ll find reasons to be in love with the people in your life, too.

Being open to the possibilities

13 Jun

possibilities3Do you believe in love at first sight? I don’t think I do because I think love should be something that takes time to develop. But I do believe in the power of instant connections. I do believe that when you have a strong feeling about a person, whether it’s positive or negative, it means something and you should pay attention to that feeling.

Most who read my blog know I have been on LOTS of dates. I don’t even want to stop to think about how many, but I can guarantee it’s more than most of you could or would tolerate. Though I’ve been on many dates, I can count on one hand the times where I’ve experienced that elusive feeling we call “chemistry.” It’s palpable. It’s electric. It’s intoxicating. And I’ve felt it twice in the last year — two times out of maybe 20. Not bad, really, all things considered.

A few days ago I met a man with whom I had that chemistry. He lives far away from me, but I was open to meeting him for dinner knowing that I might never see him again. You know on every first date that you might never see that person again. It’s ok. It’s the chance you take.

We had dinner. We laughed and laughed so much that it was a workout! We got to know Gina, our waitress. We played “have you ever?” and as a result, I felt the need to contact my therapist. We peeped into the windows of an old folks home. We spent the night together, and in the very early morning he rushed off to the airport.

Later that evening, after we’d been sending text messages back and forth all day, after he’d made my picture the screensaver on his phone and told me he was falling in love with me and I was seriously considering moving 1200 miles across the country (yeah…I know), my phone rang. Three times someone called and left messages while I was at work. I listened to the first message. It was his girlfriend. She said she saw all my messages on his phone. She said to stay away from him. She said a lot more, but I didn’t listen. I deleted the messages.

I felt like someone punched me in the gut. I thought I was going to throw up. I stood in the back room of my work and cried those tears that hurt all the way to the tips of your fingers.

The next day I heard the part of the story he wanted to tell me. He was living with her but said he was looking for an apartment that day. He said he was moving his things to storage. He said he adored me and that he would call me. “I want to and I WILL!” he said. But he didn’t, so I spent another night wondering and worrying and having one-sided conversations in my head and reminding myself that there are many more important things to be worried about than this one silly problem…like children starving and animals being abandoned and towns being destroyed by natural disasters.

I know the questions that are swirling around in your thoughts right about now. Why would I be willing to trust someone who lied to me about his life, who cheated on a woman he loved? Why do I think that “chemistry” means anything? Why do I believe he could love me right away? Why do I think he’s anything more than a lying, cheating, loser? Why don’t I just forget about him and move on? Why don’t I love myself enough to believe that I deserve much, much more?

I know plenty of people who have met their significant other under similar circumstances, and some of them have beautiful stories to tell — stories with happy endings. This story could have had a happy ending. Maybe it still will, but today I told this man with whom I had some incredible chemistry that I can’t handle any more heartbreak. In one year, I’ve had so much.

So we left it at that.

I don’t I don’t really believe in love at first sight, but I do believe that amazing gifts can come wrapped up in kind of ugly packaging, disguised as heartbreak or colored with uncertainty. You just have to let time show you their beauty. Sometimes you just have to be open to the possibilities. 

Being responsible

7 Jun

The last 12 months have brought me a little bit more than my fair share of heartache. I fell in love with a man who disappeared, later reappeared, and turned out to be a pretty bad person. I got really sick. I got into big trouble at work. I left my job of nearly 10 years. I put my cat to sleep. I hurt my leg and can’t run like I used to.

To be sure, there have been some wonderful moments: two new nephews were born into our family, and we found out my first niece will be coming in September. Lots of interesting job possibilities have opened up for me, and I recently started working toward my dream of becoming a personal trainer. But as I prepare to turn 42 years old at the end of this month, I look over the last year and honestly feel a little bit like I got the short end of the stick.

Here’s the deal about that though — I accept responsibility for the part I’ve played in everything that’s happened in my life. I made decisions and took actions, and a lot of the bad things I’ve faced are the result of those decisions and actions. So I can’t really feel sorry for myself, and truthfully I don’t. I’m just really, really ready for something good to happen in my life.

When you accept responsibility for the bad stuff in your life, I think that means you can also accept responsibility for the good things. Or at least you can believe that you have the power to turn things around or to change your outlook. I think I’ve been making good decisions and taking positive actions lately, and I hope that on my birthday I can put this difficult year to rest in order to make room for some amazing things to happen in my life.

May your choices and actions put you in a good place today. And if they don’t, may you have the grace to forgive yourself and the wisdom to accept responsibility so that you too can make room for good things.