A lesson in love

by mssinglemama on October 12, 2011

Based on the flurry of comments to my last post, many of which are expressing concern about my “patterns” my “being in love with love” and my son’s future psychological health, I feel like one response in a post will be easier than individually.

First, I completely and absolutely understand your concerns and your fears. I would have expressed the same three weeks ago. I myself, as you know, have written dozens of posts, some more direct than others, bringing to question the idea of falling hard and fast. I have said over and over again that we should choose men with our heads, not our hearts.

I have also always been completely honest with all of you, at my own expense in many cases. Why? Because my hurt pride over being wrong is not worth the alternative, which would be never publishing many of the stories I have shared with you. I do it for one purposeā€“to share what I have learned from my experiences as a dating single mother and as a single woman in hopes that my readers learn something from my experiences and to help us all to accept single motherhood with all of its ups and downs.

I hesitated before publishing my last post and gave it great thought, expecting many of you to react the way you did. But, ultimately I published it because I felt a sense of urgency to raise a flag and say, “WAIT, wait, wait! Love does happen. You can find someone who is completely and utterly everything you have ever dreamed of finding.” My first instinct was to tell you quickly and to take back what I had said about being with someone when your gut is telling you otherwise. It shouldn’t be so hard so early on.

As far as introducing our children, it will be at a Halloween party and not at all like a “formal introduction of meeting Daddy’s new girlfriend.” Not at all. And after bringing John into Benjamin and I’s life way too quickly, and after having that relationship completely fall apart on Christmas Eve of all days, I am incredibly sensitive to this issue.

As far as being in love with love… I am in love with love. I believe in love. I grew up in a house with two parents who were madly in love with each other. For. 30. Years. For 30 years without a break in their love, without a lessening in the intensity. And my father treated my mother like a queen. That is what I want and that is why my “pattern” has been to get out of relationships that were wrong after six months (Kris) and two years (John Bear). Other than that, what exactly is my pattern? Personally, my pattern fits me and I don’t expect any of you to understand that as I recognize that I am a bit abnormal.

There are a few themes on this blog and in my writing that I do not want any of you to dismiss because I am now madly and crazily in love with someone. They are:

1. Love yourself first.

2. Realize that you don’t need a man at all, in fact, you probably only want one.

3. But there is nothing wrong with wanting one.

4. Choose a man using your head and your heart. The key to this, as I am now realizing is to not choose a man only with your head or only with your heart.

and finally,

5. When it comes to introducing your children to your boyfriend or significant others, they will be okay. Your children will be fine. Yes, it would be terrible if you are bringing violent or destructive men around. But because we are single parents our children are a part of our dating lives, whether we like it or not. And guess what? It’s okay if they feel hurt or loss, if that one day makes way for love. In fact, I would argue, my child is a million times happier than many children who are living in households with two miserably married parents. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I know Benjamin will be okay and I would never do anything to compromise that. And finally, I do not want to rush the blending of our families. I don’t know about you, but having your man all to yourself for a while is definitely more fun than hanging out with the kids.
My father and I were folding laundry, the piles were up to our knees.

It had been a particularly rough week in our house. There were six of us after all and my mother and he had been fighting about something. I can’t remember what, most likely something to do with the logistics of raising six humans. Should Eliot really go off to soccer practice in Marietta or should he stay at the camp in Athens? Or, should the girls really go to that party at so and so’s house whose parents may or may not be home?

My parents had a very unique relationship. Unlike parents I witnessed at my friends’ houses, my parents would often be spotted kissing in the kitchen while preparing dinner and they would stay up late into the night talking. Not fighting or arguing, but deep in conversation, passionate conversation about their work, life, us kids, and each other. They didn’t waste time with things, like television. They were in love, yes, but they were also best friends.

When my father died, part of my mother died with him.

In this moment, buried in the laundry, I felt struck to ask him a bold question.

“How do you do it, Dad? How do you still love Mom so much after all of these years? Even on days like this.”

It only took him a moment to answer, “I always knew, even though my parents had gone through a terrible divorce, that I would find the love of my life some day and that I would be madly in love with her. I believed in love.” He paused and kept folding and then added, “and so did your mother. Look at her family. Divorce, horrible, horrible things but she still believed. We both believed. And then we found each other.”

It made complete sense to me, they believed in love. More importantly, they believed in their relationship. The believing being the key. Because nothing can existing without a belief that it exists. Especially love.

Belief in motion. My parents stepping outside of a hotel after their wedding.

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