Shadows & Light

by mssinglemama on February 1, 2009

This weekend I took off for Nashville to meet that Matt guy up for a concert in a cave. 

Yep. A concert in a cave. (That’s me before the show started.) 

Needless to say, it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced. I’m sure Matt will give the concert, the band, and the cave more justice with his words and photography – so stay tuned to his blog for a post about it.

After the concert we headed to downtown Nashville

where this single mama got to dance her heart out to bands like this one. 

To everyone who lives in Nashville – cool city. I’m jealous.

Thanks to Drue, Benjamin’s first babysitter, I had a place to crash.

You haven’t heard about her here, but only because she left for Nashville just before I started writing this blog. Had I been writing during the first year you would have known that she got me through every day – just by being there, by being so positive – a steady light in a sea of shattered darkness. 

Helping a 27-year-old single mom who had just left her husband with a four-month-old baby could not have been easy. But it was for Drue. 

Here’s an old picture of them playing around in the bathroom with my camera.

We got to catch up on life and on Benjamin… the little boy who carries a mind she helped to form. And then I took off for the airport to catch my flight back home.


Before I left for the trip Mia and I were having one of the many conversations we’ve had lately about dating, men and how we got here in the first place.

“We always pick the wrong men,” she said.

It’s a true statement. Since our teenage years Mia and I have consistently fallen for men who love us the hardest in the beginning only to hurt us the most in the end – the bad boys, or just the boys who are clearly bad for us. Regardless, both of our internal compasses on men have been way off for quite a while, thrown for a loop by a mix of bad luck, bad judgment and the desire to help these men, or – worse yet – fix them.

“So I’ve been thinking about it,” she told me, “And I think – from here on out – we should only date guys who aren’t messed up in any way.”

“You mean happy, employed, addiction free men?”

“Yeah. Men we don’t have to fix.”

Her face beamed at this revelation.

She’s right – our days of taking chances on wild card guys should be over. But it’s easier said than done. How do you realign that compass? My solution as of late – ever since Mr. Man – has been to not date at all. And it’s been nice. Safe. Kind of boring. But nice. 

So when I turned around in the plane terminal today and saw one of the most beautiful men I’ve seen in months standing right behind me, I was surprised to find myself wishing he’d be seated next to me.

But what were the odds?

I found my seat and then like some kind of sign from a higher power – he sat down in my row, just on the other side of the aisle. The woman sitting next to him said, “You two can sit together if you want, I can switch.” 

“Oh, we’re not together,” he said smiling.

After a few moments of silence he broke it with, “but you can sit next to me if you want.”

“I’d love to, but we’re practically next to each other already and this way I won’t drool on you when I pass out.” 

The plane shot up into the air and then we kept chit chatting. 

Tall, dark and handsome – I couldn’t help but blush every time he looked at me. By the time we landed I’d found out that he loves his job as a mechanical engineer, that he has two sisters, went to college near my sister, and had been flying home after a trip to visit his family. 

Normal, normal, normal – not one sign of bad boy in him.

I know I don’t know everything about the guy but given all of the above stats, he fits Mia and I’s new criteria. And at one point during the flight I looked out of the window and saw this…

another sign? I took it as one.

After we landed I handed him my business card and said, “I’m going to give you my number, just in case you ever want to hang out.” 

He accepted it gladly and then we walked together through the airport – ending at his shuttle and my taxi cab. We said our quick good-byes and that was that. Only then did it occur to me that I’d completely forgotten to bring up the whole single mom thing.

Typically I make it a point to tell any guy I’m interested in before I ask him out. It’s a single mom litmus test of mine and I feel like it’s only fair that they know. But for some reason Benjamin didn’t come up. 

So what should I do now? 

Tell him I am a single mom on the phone before we go out or on the first date?

And this, of course, is assuming he even calls. If he doesn’t, at least I tried to date a normal one… that’s a step in the right direction.

Back up reading:

{ 1 trackback }

“No worries.”
February 5, 2009 at 9:15 pm

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

bobby February 1, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Sounds and looks like you had a bang up time on your trip!

Might I suggest not trying to fix men? I say this because many times they are not broken, just men. Choosing what’s right for you and your son is the important thing.

Yes, I would let the new gentlemen know that you are a singlemom in your first phone call. It’s not a bad thing, and can actually be a very positive thing for a man to get into a relationship with a singlemom. Then again, I’m biased about that issue, but honesty is always, well mostly, the best policy.

Good luck and keep us informed 🙂


Dawn February 1, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Nice picture. Love the look. How does one dress for a cave? That’s where I might get stuck. Why should it though … look at you!

At 45 I’m in a different place which causes me to ask other if others are married. Yes, it’s true. The dating pool changes over time. And I wonder (sadly) if there are two separate realities.

I’m going to email you something I call a “Person Card” — it’s different than a business card. I designed it myself years ago … mentions things like my favorite song, hat size, bowling average, affiliations and twenty other tidbits that make up me. Think resume in tiny type, the front says my name in a sea of space. The back tells so much more.

Do away with potential awkward moments by nipping them in the bud. This card has brought ease and smiles all at the same time. I can’t wait to share it with you.

Damn, you look good.


Erin February 1, 2009 at 10:52 pm

I say tell him. You’ve already made the connection, so you should be completely honest & let him know where you’re coming from. I really think he would respond positively.


Bridgette aka New Single Mama February 2, 2009 at 3:00 am

I noticed last night that I’m kinda in the same boat. I choose guys who aren’t that great. They seem totally normal and great at first, but end up having a big huge flaw that gives me the blues. And I don’t feel I’m a person who is easily fooled by people but I guess I am.

On the other hand Bobby’s comment rang true to me in my current situation about trying to change men. I shouldn’t have to, and I shouldn’t waste my time doing it. People are who they are.


Seda February 5, 2015 at 8:02 am

You should make a praoospl to your local Fish and Game dept. to make at least the bass in that lake catch and release only. Every state holds open meetings each year where anybody can propose changes to the hunting and fishing regulations for that state. Check with your local office or game warden to find out when and where these meetings are held in your area.Farts


asthma March 31, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Thanks for your blog post. I would also love to say that your health insurance agent also works for the benefit of the particular coordinators of the group insurance cover. The health broker is given a directory of benefits looked for by anyone or a group coordinator. What any broker will is look for individuals as well as coordinators which will best fit those wants. Then he offers his tips and if both sides agree, the broker formulates a contract between the two parties.


Canadian Bald Guy February 2, 2009 at 3:48 am

I think mentioning the situation to him during the first phone call is the right idea.

In my case, I let my current girlfriend know right out of the gate that I love kids (I have 2, she has 2) but was not interested in having any more. She was appreciative of the honesty and said that she wasn’t interested in having any more, either.

Turning things around, if she had told me that she wanted more children down the road, I probably wouldn’t have continued with the relationship. For me, at least, it would have potentially become a sticky situation if things progressed because we’re then automatically on different sides of a very important issue that will arise down the road.

If he’s the right guy for you (even if it’s just for dating), he’ll appreciate your honesty and Ben won’t even be an issue.


LTP February 2, 2009 at 6:35 am

I think Bobby nailed it….most men don’t need fixing because they are just being “men”. That said, for me anyway, I have learned that I just need to accept a guy for what / who he is–because in my experience (being married for nearly 10 years and together another 5)–people don’t change. No matter how much they SAY they will change, they won’t!! I’m not talking about physical stuff–losing weight, curtailing drinking, etc.–it’s the emotional stuff and personality traits that don’t change. But I think Mia is on the right track–just finding a nice guy that appears to have no major flaws should be the goal–and please let me know if you find one and if so, if he has an equally fabulous (single) brother!!

I think that for now, I’ve taken a break from “looking”. I agree with Dawn–at this point, I know I want to remarry thus finding a guy who is not already married is important. I somehow keep ending up dating guys that are in the process of getting divorced–not “been divorced for ___ years”. And crazy me, I actually spent nearly two years dating someone that was in that phase–and to this day, STILL is not divorced!! What was I thinking?? So while you and Mia look for “nice” guys, I’ll be looking for one that is truly available, LOL.

As for airplane guy, I had a similar situation–and the guy that I was lucky enough to sit next to for an entire trip was returning from surfing in South America for a month (he was also an engineer)–and who in the hell even has a job like that? Surfing for a month?? I gave him my card at the end of the trip (unfortunately, he lived in the place where I just happened to be on business) but he did call….and while I turned down his offer for drinks, it was fun just to ponder and I was hugely flattered. So I hope airplane guy calls…b/c what a cool story that would be if it worked out!! : )

p.s. Concert-in-a-Cave sounds way-fun and like something that would be in a Scooby-Doo episode!!

p.s. #2 Dawn, would you send me your card, too? That sounds really neat! You can send it to Thanks!! : )


Wyliekat February 2, 2009 at 7:20 am

I’d bring it up, if he calls. Not in a “you wanna ask me out? Fine, here’s my baggage” kind of way, because that’s going to come off as a bit hostile, methinks. But I’d guess you’d have a few more conversations with him before you ever went out on a date, and I think bringing your son into those conversations would be very natural. If he can’t deal, better to know in the beginning.


T February 2, 2009 at 7:29 am

Sounds like you had a blast!!!

I think its great that this guy made you forget the most important little man in your life. He already has such an impact on you!!

Yep, I’d mention it, if he calls. Just to save any weirdness later. But that’s just me.


Sarah Morgan February 2, 2009 at 8:16 am

I agree with Wyliekat.

You’re more than a single mom, you’re you. It’s a hugely important part of your life, but it isn’t all that you are. So bring Benjamin up when it feels like you should, but I don’t think it necessarily has to be #1 on your list of topics.

And – from one single girl to another – congrats on finding somebody fun to chat with on a plane!


Court February 2, 2009 at 8:26 am

Oh. God bless the bad boys. I just love them. But yes a boring engineer with no dirt, I suppose that’s what we should go for….eh.



Court February 2, 2009 at 8:27 am

AND Concert in a cave! Sign me up!


Karissa February 2, 2009 at 9:22 am

I’d make the arrangements first, and then tell him during the date. That way you still get a night out 🙂

Like you and Mia, I always pick the bad guys. In fact, I met a “normal” guy on a plane and we dated for a short while. He would have bought me the moon (he was rich rich rich) but I dumped him to go back to dating my usual type.

Silly me.

And yes, you look fantastic. I love your cave outfit 🙂


fraizerbaz February 2, 2009 at 9:49 am

I guess it depends on what part of the country you live in, but it’s kind of assumed around here that at 39 (my age), most people have kids. If fact, it’s kind of unusual to find guys who DON’T have any kids (and an ex-wife) already. If they are my age, and have NEVER been married, the situation needs CLOSE examination.

I won’t say that finding good men who are my age is like scraping the bottom of a barrel, but it’s definitely true that the older you get, the harder it is to find good, available men. (I guess that’s why there are so many cougars out there. lol!)


Lisa D February 2, 2009 at 9:58 am

You look awesome in that pic in the cave, Alaina!!

Wow, I am so impressed that you got seated next to an attractive guy. That NEVER happens to me. This was so fun to read (all of your posts are, but it’s fun reading about this little run in w/ a handsome man).

It’s so hard to know when to disclose information like that. I am not a single mom, so I don’t have any great advice for you. I’m anxious to hear how this all turns out. It’s fun to have a crush/potential, isn’t it? 🙂


Ms. Single Mama February 2, 2009 at 10:25 am

One thing everyone … I did not find this guy boring at all, in fact he was delightful and incredibly interesting. Did I say boring up there?

Interesting that many of us concluded normal = boring.

I kind of think I should tell him in person just because I want to see the expression on his face and be able to gauge it. We shall see!!!



noringsattached February 2, 2009 at 10:41 am

Love the pictures! So glad you had a good time!!


jlh February 2, 2009 at 11:48 am

I think it’s early to be sure he is “normal”


mssinglemama February 3, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Right you are.


jlh February 2, 2009 at 11:48 am

he seems to be so far…but that can change
but hopefully not!


Katherine (SOLO dot MOM) February 2, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Hey there – what a trip! WOW. and yes I agree you should tell him on the phone that you’re an SM before hanging out… I think that would be best… and oh I do need to tell you my latest and greatest tailspin of heart story… sometime soon!


liv February 2, 2009 at 1:34 pm

i don’t know if i agree with the “you should” because the truth is that just as marriage and divorce and motherhood are parts of us, they are not all of us. if he likes you as you are, he’ll like you as you are when you meet in person. when he says, “tell me more about yourself…”? that’s the place for that.


Keeshabee February 2, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Looking good MSM!

Yeah, wait until you guys meet up. That means you should probably keep the first phone short. If you get into a long convo, he might wonder why you never brought it up.

Don’t over analyze anything, just go with the flow. Your marriage and dating experiences has thought you how to read red flags quickly, so until then, just enjoy and have fun!


Penelope February 2, 2009 at 5:00 pm

I say wait for the first date. That way if he takes off at least you’ll have had a fun evening out of it……


Imam February 4, 2015 at 11:32 am

you should tell the guy that he needs a fisnihg license, and if he doesn’t have one, tell the police or tell him to not fish anymore! i hate people like that.Farts


Pat February 2, 2009 at 9:57 pm

My dear MSM,

Please think about it. You know this is how it always starts don’t you? Whenever you become smitten so fast, they always turn out to be bad boys. I say this out of concern, I hope for your sake he doesn’t call. If you still feel the same way about him in a week, you can call him. I’ll assume he gave you his contact info as well? If he didn’t, than he is likely to be wrong for you. Besides, it sounds like it might be kind of quick for you to jump back into the fire so soon.

My best to you


Ms. Single Mama February 3, 2009 at 12:52 pm

I hear you Pat.

Very much so… if he does call – I won't even have time for date until at least next Tuesday.


Mary February 3, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Hey MSM – I think you're so awesome. Just follow your gut and you'll be fine.


jenn February 3, 2009 at 3:48 pm

It's interesting that I'm one of the few that didn't automatically think normal = boring. I think that I'm just so over the bad boy thing. Of course I haven't dated since I've been a single mom, and I'm terrified of finding the wrong guy. I'm looking for safe.

BTW- I live near Nashville. Glad you enjoyed it.


melanie February 3, 2009 at 4:52 pm

I did the "no dating" thing too and it just got boring… plus, how are you going to find that happy, employed, addiction free man if you don't get out more?

You looked great in the cave! Glad to hear you had a nice trip. 🙂


Nicole February 3, 2009 at 11:04 pm

I don't think you should let it bother you that you didn't bring him up right away. At the time you didn't know that you were going to give him your business card or that anything may happen beyond that plane, but I think that letting him know before anything happens is a good idea. Going out with a guy just to find out that it's not going to go anywhere beyond that first date because of your beautiful little boy would surely be a waste of YOUR time.

Great photos!


Ms. Single Mama February 4, 2009 at 12:37 am

How very right you are.


Amanda February 3, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Oh la la. I wish you luck and hope he calls. I usually don't tell people I'm a single mom at first glance. Its not intentional and its not that I forget about my kid (lol who could?) it just usually doesn't come up in conversation.

PS. Benjamin looks soo cute in that picture. And you look very cute and so stylish in that picture. I love the boots look! 🙂


Ms. Single Mama February 4, 2009 at 12:35 am

Cowboy boots – a must have for every occasion, especially cave concerts.


Joy February 3, 2009 at 11:49 pm

OOOoooooooooooooh… gotta love the strangers you meet on planes. I wouldn't worry about whether or not to tell Mr. Plane Guy (I hope you come up with a better name than THAT!) on the first phone call.

In the world of googling (c'mon, you know you all do it!) he wouldn't have to look too far to find out. 😛


Ms. Single Mama February 4, 2009 at 12:34 am

I thought of that – wondering if he could find this site and then run for the woods. But my real name is fairly protected, so I'm hoping not.


angela cmarko February 4, 2009 at 3:39 am

hey, you ar such a single mama inspiration and i only wish and dream I had single mama friends nearby,… 8 mos of single-mama-hood and I'm good, it ebbs and flows and reminding myself to find the beauty in freedom and patience keeps me content.
I say have fun with plane guy, and mention it but, in a happy oooppps I was having soo much fun goofing I forgot.. cuz If he is a good family guy he will respect you more and really dig, want you for being a single mama. thanks for entertaining one chicago single mama with your blog!!!


mssinglemama February 4, 2009 at 4:41 am

It certainly does ebb and flow. Freedom certainly is quite a treasure. It's why when ever anyone says "being a single mom must be so hard" I respond with – "no, being married to my ex was hard – this is nothing."

Take care of yourself!


Seth Simonds February 4, 2009 at 7:56 am

How long do you want a guy to wait until he tells you he has kids, or a wife? Tell him on the phone. I'm really surprised that in all the discussion about his family, he never asked about yours. I have the utmost respect for women who tell it like it is. Honesty begets truth. Yeah, it sucks. But haven't you said that you want to do things differently?


mssinglemama February 4, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Seth – normally I always, always tell them. That's why I'm posing this question three years into being a single mom (nearly). Total slip up. Like many have commented here, sometims we forget or just don't think about the fact that we're moms. We are moms and single women all at once. Interesting place to be.


Jojosmama February 4, 2009 at 5:00 pm

First Off Love The Boots… Super Cute!

And Yeah Find A Way To Bring Up The Whole Single Mom Thing First Off, I'm sure he'll call.


My Pixies Mama February 5, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Being a Mom is the core of who I am but so are my spritual beliefs and i do not feel like I need to tell you all about them cos we may have a cup of coffee together. if it's has gotten serious it ill have probably come up by then…

But it is very different from a guy telling me he has a wife, dear Seth! i am not expecting anyone to be my kids' dad and i am not cheating on anyone for going out while I have kids.

Just have a good time MSM.. You know what to do.


my Pixies Mama February 5, 2009 at 9:44 pm

MSM If you may have noticed i was putting myself in your cutre boots when i was replying. So i meant to say i don't think you need to blurt it out as soon as you can. Just take your time. Bring it up when it comes up.. ( definitly before sex though 😉


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