with Karli Larson
The transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced-and-working-full-time mom can be challenging, and sometimes very lonely. Throw in a few cats, an ancient dog and one very brave boyfriend, and life gets downright crazy. Join me as I talk through my thoughts and struggles, my miscalculations and my triumphs. We're in this together, you and I.
When I'm not writing here you can find me over at work on the TisBest Philanthropy blog.
Here are a few of the gifts the last two years have bestowed:
- A small boy with pudgy hands and an orange Popsicle streaked face, morphing astonishingly fast into a boy.
- Innumerable walks through sloping muddy forest paths, on various quests for slugs and peet moss, the perfect sun slant through the trees.
- Sorbet for dinner, cheese for dessert, imaginary dragons in fortresses made of sheets, my imagination ignited by the power and force of his.
- An endless number of books, stacked in piles on our knees: hours of reading about Andrew’s Loose Tooth or Stinky Socks while we huddle under cool blue sheets, listening to the rain pelt outside and feeling our fingers inter-wrapped, contentedly.
Those are a just a small sampling of the wonder I’ve experienced in the last two years of my life: my life spent as a single Mother.
I’m accustomed to being the only Mom at the parent/child floor hockey shinnies. I’m content to sit solo at the pool’s edge at 5:30 on Thursdays, while my son dives for rings and emerges exuberant. I’ve mastered the craft of cooking dinner for 1.5, and subsisting surprisingly well on wilted salad remains and mildly regurgitated avocado sandwiches. I love being a Mom, I am astonished by how much I love my boy. The experiences we’ve had together, me as his solo Mama and he as my affable Sidekick will stay with me forever. These years will go down in my Life Book as the most probable reason for my life’s meaning.
I have been missing, almost subconsciously, the feeling of strong hands on the small of my back. I’ve yearned for the able, heavy fingers of a light-bulb screwer, garbage carryer, fixer of the ever-failing DVD player. I’ve wanted to make creme brulee for someone who would savor it, lusted for the incomparable feeling of stretching out on the couch at the end of a long day, flanked by long limbs and a familiar, encapsulating smell. I’ve missed adult companionship, the male kind, and though I’ve stuck my toe half-assedly in the dating pool this last year or so — this marks the first time I’ve entered into a real “relationship” since I’ve been a single Mom.
I hate the word relationship almost as much as I hate the brackets around it but let me say this: I have met some interesting, funny, intelligent men in the last year, but none to whom I’ve been eager to introduce my son. The man I’m hanging out with now, though, has long term potential. I’ve vetted him for three months, I’ve been on multiple dates, we seem to really like each other. He is kind to the wait staff, he touches my hands in public, his brain is larger than mine. We’re not seeng other people. Who knows what will happen, but right now there are some legs for this thing to stand on and I am cautiously optimistic.
But. Always with the buts. I don’t know if “Sam” will be around for 6 months or 6 years - or 26. I do know he can’t possibly know me fully until he understands how I interact with my son - how we function as a team. And yet - I’m not sure I want to introduce Nolan to him just yet, even on a casual basis. Kids can sense things. I think he would know that Sam is a different kind of friend than most of my other male buddies. And - I don’t want him to get attached. I don’t want him to get hurt, or to witness mine. And so I’m frozen in a kind of weird limbo land - wanting to show my full life, wanting to protect the biggest part of it - and not wanting to sideswipe a really great thing because I’m too paralyzed with indecision to do anything.
Single Mamas, partnered Mamas, or even just women with pearls of wisdom to dispense - when do you introduce your child to a potential new mate? Or, do you do it at all? This is all so complex, isn’t it?
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