It seems at every major milestone or important birthday as they come of age, there's a 'talk' that must be had. You know the kind of talk I'm referring to. Sharing.
Just kidding...The birds and the bees for one. Dating etiquette. I have a list of 'Talks' that outlined rules of conduct for my kids. My kids lovingly refer to these talks as Car Talk! Yep, they know they are in for it if I announce a long drive with a Blizzard from Dairy Queen. Nothing like food and the restraints of the seat belt to get your kids attention. If any of our Car Talk topics came up at other times, they stop me and say...'NO, not now, that is Car Talk!' So, I would promptly load them in the car and stuff some cookies in their little gaping mouths.
Now, sometimes the talks were instigated from them. That was usually when they had something to confess. I could always tell what was coming by the size of knot in my stomach. They never once offered me a snack to eat while digesting the disturbing news. You would think after all these years, they would have at least learned my favorite parenting trick to make them more receptive. Food is always the answer! Always.
So, where am I going with this?
Well, as the story goes, the kids hung out with their dad on Friday night. I stayed home and engaged in my usual weekend activities- work, laundry, house cleaning...basically hiding out. The world has been awfully Peopley lately and I'm not one for crowds, big or small. I did my thing until they came home just before midnight at which time, I began to button up the house for the night, which basically means another 45 minutes of locking up, turning off lights, making sure the kitchen is spotless...you know, the last few hundred things on the daily To-Do list, when I was interrupted by Shelbie.
"Mom. We have something we need to talk to you about. You might want to sit down."
Oh GEEZ! Eye rolling..."C'mon! What?!" Then I drop myself down on the couch like a 7 year old about to throw a fit. I really don't want anymore trouble to deal with and the knot in my stomach was pretty impressive.
"Well, us kids were talking and before you say anything...We really think you need to start..."
Oh GEEZ! More eye rolling..."NO! I don't."
"Yes, you do. We are going to set up a dating profile for you online. Just give it a chance. You always told people that you would start dating when Sam was grown up. Well, he's grown up. You need to get out there."
"I'm fine. I don't need some man to take care of. I have enough to take care of without adding someone else to the mix. No. I'm not dating."
"MOM! We really want you to! We don't want you to be alone anymore. It makes us sad. All you do is work and take care of people. Us. Please! Just let us."
NO, NO, NO...did I mention No?
Those darn kids. It's true, when I got divorced I had promised myself that I would not concern myself with dating until my kids were grown. I just feel like I needed to focus on my job as a mother, since it suddenly became twice as hard, and I am confident that I am not one of those women who can do it all and do it well. For me, it's all or nothing and that's my attitude with dating. For 11 years as a single mom, I wanted my kids to have all of me. Plus, I have seen firsthand, the difficulty that comes with trying to blend a family and take on a new spouse who may or may not love my kids as much as I love my kids. I don't ever want to be in the position to choose between a spouse and my kids. It's hard to make that work and it's not for me. To me, a person isn't just dating me, they are dating my kids too...if they don't like my kids, I'm not going to like them. If they can't respect the time and attention I want to give my kids, I will never be happy.
So, dating has been risky venture. Not only that, I sort of come with a lot of baggage and we are not for the faint of heart. Chronic illness takes a toll on a marriage. I know that firsthand how even your best efforts fall short. Too short.
I have been on a few dates. Just to clarify...with men. But, even those dates ended badly...usually turned into a stalking event that required police intervention. A few of them still lived with their moms, were alcoholics, twice my age, couldn't hold down a job. One time, my kids called the police on me when I was a little late. And...get this...most of them were blind dates that 'friends' set me up on! Sheesh. I started wondering about who my friends were! After the embarrassing moment of explaining to my date, a popular radio DJ, why the SWAT team was at my house when he dropped me off...that was the last I ever attempted to date. It was more hassle than it was worth.
Now, I'm old and tired and I'm afraid when they asked me what I wanted to do, I would have to say, stay home and take a nap?
I don't know...I'm just not sure dating is for me. Especially online dating. I naturally attract the creepers, the lost, the forlorn...and bringing in the world wide desperation from the web seems more than a little overwhelming.
So...that's my story and I'm sticking to it. My kids are pretty disappointed in me. I know they mean well. Actually, maybe they are scared I'm going to start adopting cats and spend hours in my room knitting scarves for them and dressing them up in play clothes. I might do that. I might not. Who's to say.
I always use to joke that they should find me a gay man to date. You get a nice night out, they typically love shopping and have good taste. They are extra sensitive and give out great hugs but beyond that, there are no expectations! Or a trucker was a close second too...They come home once a month. Bring a paycheck. I do their laundry, pack their cooler, and send them back off after a lovely weekend until next month. Sounds just about perfect to me!
Okay, I'm just kidding. For now, we agreed that I will remain single and keep my crazy to myself. I assured them that they don't have to plan their life around me and with or without them, I will survive the single life. Maybe if they had of breached the subject with a Chocolate Soft Serve Sundae from Dairy Queen, I might have considered their offer!