The point of no return.

by mssinglemama on November 25, 2008

“I’m sorry I was so short with you on Sunday,” I told Mr. Man.

My fears got the best of me last weekend and I felt like a schmuck.

“It’s okay. You’re probably stressed. I still can’t believe how much you do – you never stop… ever. I mean, it’s just too much for one person to handle and working full-time on top of it… I don’t know how you single moms do it.”

“Yeah, I don’t know how we do it either, but we just do it – I think – because we don’t have any other choice. And we adapt.”

——

It’s odd because aside from Mr. Man, no one has really seen Benjamin and I in our element morning, noon and night. His first taste of our daily grind came through telephone conversations during the first few weeks.

“I can’t talk, I’ve gotta go again.”

“Okay, call me when you get a break,” he’d say or, “Okay, call me when he’s down.” Our first real phone conversation of the day still comes after Benjamin is asleep.

It wasn’t until a viral infection stole my will to live and my body’s ability to even get out of bed that Mr. Man spent several days in a row – here – in our little apartment. He came up to relieve my mother who had been here for five days. That Saturday morning I woke up to Benjamin’s happy morning bedroom chatter and then drifted back into sleep.

I didn’t wake up again until 11:00 a.m., the longest I’ve slept in since becoming a mother. When I did Mr. Man was lying next to me, watching me sleep.

“You look beautiful when you’re sleeping, you know.”

“Where’s Benjamin?” I muster.

“Upstairs, playing with his trains. He sure loves those trains.”

I tried to move and winced in pain. My body shuddering a bit from my chills.

“God, I hate seeing you like this. What can I do? What do you need?”

“Some tea, maybe, or a bath.”

He drew the bath water, made the tea and kept Benjamin occupied until I could move back into my bed. It’s no coincidence that Mr. Man knows how to be a husband and a father, it wouldn’t be his first time.

A 35-year-old single father, Mr. Man blames his own mistakes for the disintegration of his first marriage. A refreshing alternative to the single fathers I’ve dated who are constantly bashing their ex-wives, Mr. Man speaks very highly of his, “I screwed up. I didn’t appreciate what I had until it was gone.”

“I want you to meet her,” he said one night, “and I want you to meet Elizabeth.”

Elizabeth, his six-year-old daughter, lives over three hours away from Mr. Man so their time together is limited to every other weekend.

“But you need that time for you two,” I sound hesitant, because I am – scared to death of suddenly having the tables turned, of meeting the child of my new flame.

“She’ll love you, it’ll be great. I know you’ll all love each other,” his persistence ends there and he lets me think about it.

———–

Two weeks later, Mr. Man is guiding me to Elizabeth’s driveway.

I can barely drive, my nerves getting the best of me. For the first time, I would be meeting a date’s child. What if she hates me for taking the scant time she has with her father away from her? What if we don’t click? What if she’s a little monster child?

So this is what it’s really like to date a single parent, I think. Not easy.

I let Mr. Man walk in first to break the ice and get some alone time with Elizabeth before Benjamin and I followed. When we did Elizabeth popped down the stairs and ran up to both of us, “Hello, Benjamin – can I show you my room?”

I liked her immediately, all of them – Elizabeth, her mother and her step-father. Major points for Mr. Man.

Later that afternoon, one train museum later and two toys later, all four of us sat at a Bob Evans booth. Elizabeth grabbed her father’s ear and whispered something. He smiled.

“What?” I asked.

“Hey Benjamin,” said Elizabeth, “You’re Mom is hot. Can you say that? Say – ‘My Mom is hot’.”

I am going to kill you – I mouth to Mr. Man.

“It was her idea.”

We’re all laughing hysterically, and suddenly I feel like a kid again.

“Do you want to have more kids?” I ask Mr. Man.

“Do you?” He asks me back with a big smile.

“I’m not sure.”

“C’mon, we could have a whole team!”

He’s such a father, through and through.

——–

Edited for Mr. Man’s privacy and because now I’m freaking out about how much I’m sharing on here. Sorry! I just really want to respect his privacy, he did not request the edit – I’m just making an executive decision.

“Good night,” he says one night on the phone, “And don’t have any of those weird dreams of yours, instead dream of me pickin’ you wildflowers in the summer.”

Okay, I think, now that I can definitely do.

And I did, I fell asleep with visions of Mr. Man coming over with fresh flowers in his hands. This summer we’ll be free of what is about to come – a challenge, to say the least.

To be continued…

If you can’t get enough Mr. Man stories, click here for more.

[Photo: Mr. Man holding Elizabeth and Benjamin at the Train museum]

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Brooke November 25, 2008 at 3:31 pm

With Sushi Boy I had the that same meeting the child fear. It was so strange to have the tables reversed on me.

I’m glad everything went so well meeting Elizabeth, and is continuously going well with Mr. Man.

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jenn November 25, 2008 at 3:38 pm

He sounds like a good guy. I can’t wait to read what happens next.

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Sheila November 25, 2008 at 4:31 pm

That is so sweet. Girlie, you’re giving me hope!

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pisceshanna November 25, 2008 at 4:51 pm

OMG forget the obsession with Twilight, We’ve got the single mom chronicles of Alaina! LOVE IT and I can feel how nervous you are about all this. You’re doing awesome!

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Mike November 25, 2008 at 5:38 pm

Reading your post I was remembering what it was like to date a single mom and the anxiety I had in meeting their kids. Meeting my wife’s daughter for the first time (she was 13) was the scariest moment in my life. I had teenage daughters already but it’s easy to be intimidated by the kids whose mother your dating.

I love the fact that your guy admits his part in his prior family falling apart. It usually takes two people to break a marriage apart. He’s learned his lessons and isn’t about to repeat them…

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Laura November 25, 2008 at 8:37 pm

I am loving this! Thank you for sharing it with us :)

You sharing it all – even the hard parts and that gives me hope for myself!!

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April November 25, 2008 at 10:43 pm

I’m so glad it’s going well for you. He sounds like a great guy.

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Carolyn November 26, 2008 at 6:34 am

I just met the children of a single dad I’ve been “dating” as well. We just brought them all to a children’s museum. I had some anxiety, as well, which I wouldn’t have predicted. I was a little nervous about looking like I was trying too hard. They are a bit older than my kids, and I worried that they might pick up on their dad’s interest in me, and see me as a threat or something.
Turns out, I was worried for nothing. They were cute kids, well-behaved, friendly. But it’s easy to imagine how a guy can be a little nervous about dating a single mom. It’s just more complicated. Especially when trying to make time to hang out when working around two different visitation schedules!

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Angel November 26, 2008 at 7:08 am

I’m so loving the rocking Mr. Man stories. Keep them coming. And girl, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! He sounds like a keeper and you TOTALLY deserve it!

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T November 26, 2008 at 8:55 am

Wow. I don’t know how I missed this post. Sounds perfect. (and exactly what most moms dream of)

Hold on tight, Alaina. It sounds like you’re in for a ride!!!

:)

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PT-LawMom November 26, 2008 at 9:13 am

“This summer we’ll be free of what is about to come – a challenge, to say the least.”

Are you foreshadowing someting specific? Ack, it’s like a soap opera. Definitely wants to know what happens next. I’m so happy for you. :) Sounds like a great guy!

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Marta November 26, 2008 at 10:41 am

I know your next post said that you are putting the stories on hold and I can totally understand where you are coming from. Just know that I truly enjoy them and can’t wait to read more, when you are ready to share!

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mssinglemama November 26, 2008 at 11:26 am

Yes PT – a bit of foreshadowing… may be a while before you all hear about it though – and not even sure how many details I’ll choose to shed.

Thanks for understanding everyone.

P.S.

Talked to Mr. Man about going easy on the posts for a spell and his #1 concern was about … YOU, all of you… he said, “Yeah, I was thinking about that – we don’t know what is going to happen or how this is going to turn out – and what if it doesn’t work out for some reason and then all of your readers have another negative experience about men.”

Can you believe it?

He’s so damn considerate of other people’s feelings – and SO am I … or at least I try to be, concerned chiefly in this case with his, mine and yours (in that order). But thinking of all of the players here.

XOXO

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Treemama November 26, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Pure sweetness and I am SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY FOR YOU, and Benjamin too.

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Speedgirl November 26, 2008 at 10:17 pm

I’m really glad that Mr. Man took you AND Benjamin to meet his daughter. Both children need to know all of the players involved. They need time to get to know each other, and the other adult, before the adults make the decision to join families. As a teacher, I have seen many miserable kids whose parents were single and lonely and jumped into a relationship that made them happy, but totally disregarded their own children’s feelings or concerns. Particularly true if you have older children, you may be ready to move on but that does not mean your kids are. Kudos to both you and Mr. Man for keeping your kids in the forefront of your relationship!

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