First of all, I must announce that I am offically full of shit.
Despite recent meanderings that hinted to the contrary, I am not going to stop trying to meet someone (never mind if wisdom indicates that it would probably be a good thing for me to intentionally be on my own for a while). In fact, I just placed an ad in yet another online venue and have already begun to get some responses. I’m cautiously (extremely cautiously) optimistic.
I think I have made peace with my own full of shitness.
Whew. Now that that’s over, I can move on to other things.
Yesterday Sami and I had a playdate with a single dad whom I had met through a single parents’ group in the area. We spent the better part of five hours with the kids at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum. While it was fun looking at all the planes, I was a little creeped out by all the fighter planes and missiles, thinking about how many people died as a result of these brilliant human creations.
I didn’t know what to make of the experience. Was it a date AND a playdate? Can a playdate be a date? I’ve never done anything like that before. He was sweet and very kind, a good conversationalist, and insisted on paying for everything, even though I offered. When we said goodbye it was kind of an awkward over the front seat car hug which I awkwardly initiated. Our kids had both fallen asleep in the car on the way back from the museum, and we got the chance to talk freely about our divorce experiences. His divorce, not-yet-final, was your textbook nightmarish and complicated and frighteningly expensive kind. Mine, while nightmarish in its own way, was simple and uncomplicated (at least on paper).
Despite my “good divorce,” I keep realizing just how much healing I have to do. It’s been six months since the divorce, over a year since he left me for the Blushing Bride. Not a lot of time at all. Now the grief is back with surprising rawness. Why do I miss him so much? Why do I want someone who rejected me and our child? I keep dreaming about him. He keeps making love to me in my dreams. Why won’t he leave my dreams alone?
Today Sami and I went to the farmer’s market to get apples, and I ran into my friend M and her son. M became part of the new moms’ group I formed when Sami was 11 weeks old. Back then I was so fucking innocent, in a bubble of nuclear family bliss and new parenthood. Now, three years later, I am transforming into someone I’ve not yet gotten to know yet. And that’s ok. We still have our kids in common, and three years of friendship, but we now inhabit different worlds.
At one point in the conversation, Sami looked intently at M and asked, “Do you remember H?”
We looked at each other in the wordless way that adults do.
“Yes, I do,” she said to Sami. “I remember H.”
Then we remarked how strange it was to hear him call his father by his first name, like a Bohemian teenager.
Sami asked to talk to his dad on the phone the other day, and I texted him asking if he was available. He said that he was and would call back in 10 minutes. He did, and I didn’t even answer. I simply put the phone to Sami’s ear, and when Sami was done, I just hung up.
In some ways it was SO much easier when he was MIA for these last months. But I am going to rise to this challenge. I can take this on. For Sami, I will do anything. And for me, I need to get over him. I need to heal this heart of mine, aching so much tonight.
We are supposed to see him again tomorrow, for visit #4. I think I am going to suggest that he come with me for pickup at Sami’s school, so Sami can see him in that context and get used to the idea that his dad might be picking him up there. (Not that I am ready for him to do it solo, and I don’t think I ever authorized him to pick up.) I am also going to ask him if he would be willing to do the bedtime thing with Sami.
Friends have suggested to me that I should get a legal visitation agreement in place now. Right now all our divorce says is that “visitation is mutually agreed to among the parties” because at the time the ex was MIA and didn’t want any. Right now he has been emailing me schedules. I will just take it slowly and if I see that he is really serious about being a part of Sami’s life, perhaps we need to formalize things.
I’m so afraid to rock the boat, though. He’s so volatile with me and I feel like any kind of perceived “demand” I put upon him will just be an excuse for him to take flight again.
Anyway, I’m future-tripping like mad here, but the bottom line is that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I have no idea how to negotiate this transition, for me or for Sami. When my ex was gone it was like he was dead and I could just put him away. But that’s not the current reality, and I will do whatever I can do to facilitate a relationship between my son and his father, while at the same time making sure that things proceed in a way that’s–for lack of a better word–reasonable, and has some clear parameters.
Perhaps that’s just me, trying to impose order on an inherently messy situation.
Welcome to this blog - my chronicle of the illuminating, character-building path of single parenthood. I'm making this up as I go along. My life is my practice, and my five year-old son is my greatest teacher.