Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We're Women

So lately, I've been thinking a lot about the roles of women. As I look at my own life, I realize I'm surrounded by strong women. I am a working mom so a lot of my friends are career ladies, and lots of them have chosen not to make work their focus.

I often wonder if there is a direct correlation in female empowerment and the astounding divorce rate in America. But then I think about how many women in generations before stayed in abusive, destructive relationships because they had no other choice and wonder if empowerment, education and careers are really such a bad thing... focus Ashley.

As a woman today, you'll likely wear many hats. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, Christ Follower, Friend... to name a few. My favorite stories in life are often of women who were knocked down and hit rock bottom, only to pick themselves up and make an impact. While there is a lot of mindless reading that fills my bookshelves (Yes the Twilight Saga is part of that), in my night stand there is a different sort of stack: Anne Lamott, my Bible, The Message... to name a few.. and every night after I tuck Cole away, if I'm feeling a little lost or discouraged by all of these roles or hats that have to be worn, I seek a cup of comfort in my not so mindless reading.

Tonight, I dug a little further back and dusted it off from my bookshelf: Iyanla VanZant was an author I discovered in college. When I googled her tonight, she's taken her message way beyond a series of books and I'm not sure how I feel about that... However, her story is a sad one: Abuse,teen pregnancy, more abuse, divorce, welfare... She applied for a series of grants and completed college and law school with three children in tow. She believes that the other parts of your life aren't going to flourish until your spiritual house is in order. Many people would consider her and Anne Lamott a little "new agey" but I'm of the mindset that until I meet my Maker on my day of judgement, I am not going to judge any one's walk with Christ while I'm here on Earth. I just want to learn from it? Back to Iyanla.. At the beginning of her book, "Yesterday I Cried" is a very moving poem. I read it aloud to myself when I'm really feeling blue.. Sometimes great writing is about sharing/introducing people to someone else's and while this blog is by no means great writing... This poem is:

Yesterday I cried.
I came home, went straight to my room, sat on the edge of my bed, kicked off my shoes, unhooked my bra and had myself a good cry.
I'm telling you,
I cried until my nose was running all over the silk blouse I got on sale.
I cried until my ears were hot.
I cried until my head was hurting so bad that I could hardly see the pile of soiled tissues lying on the floor at my feet.
I want you to understand, I had myself a really good cry yesterday.
Yesterday, I cried
for all the days I was too busy, or too tired or too mad to cry.
I cried for all the days and all the ways and all the times I had been dishonored, disrespected, and disconnected my Self from myself, only to have it reflected back to me in the ways others did to me the same things I had already done to myself.
I cried for all the things I had been given, only to have them stolen;
for all the things I had asked for that had yet to show up;
for all the things i had accomplished, only to give them away, to people in circumstances, which left me feeling empty, and battered and plain old used.
I cried because there really does come a time when the only thing left for you to do is cry.
Yesterday I cried.
Yesterday, I cried.
I cried because I hurt. I cried because I was hurt.
I cried because the hurt had no place to go except deeper in the pain that caused it in the first place, and when it gets there, the hurt wakes you up.
I cried because it was too late. I cried because it was time.
I cried because my soul knew that I didn't know that my soul knew everything I needed to know.
I cried a soulful cry yesterday and it felt so good.
It felt so very very bad.
In the midst of my crying, I felt my freedom coming,
Yesterday, I cried
...... with an agenda.

I'm at a really good place in my life and while that good place isn't where I want to be, I'm realizing that it never will be and to just embrace that I'm right here, right now for a specific reason. Strength, many times, comes from showing weakness. Some days, no matter how great life is going or what kind of "handle" you think you have on it..there is a cleansing that comes from a good cry and to all the men out there: you should try it.

My blog has been something I have been neglecting... but my journey isn't over. My career is in need of CPR. I'll always have some crazy mommy tales to tell, and wifely tales to tell soon.. so stay tuned. Holla!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Step W-h-a-t?

When you are a little girl and growing up and dreaming of the man you'll marry and what kind of house you'll have and how many kids you'll have and what you'll do for a living you never say "I want to be a step mom." *flash to Cinderella with her wicked step mother and equally wicked step sisters*

I've found it's something that just sort of happens to you. My Mom was a step mom. My Dad was married previously and my sister is ten years older than me. I watched my Mother struggle with step mother hood.. trying oh so hard to get it right. I'm not saying it's a bad fate, but talk about coming with some challenges- it absolutely does and it has remained my greatest concern for mine and MB's marriage. I could totally screw it up and live up to the Cinderella image...

Shortly after Marketing Boy and I became engaged, rather than ordering an ettiquette book on throwing a second simple wedding ceremony, I filled my cart with titles like " Stepcoupling" and "The Working Girl's Guide to being a Stepmom" I watched Stepmom with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon and sobbed. Never thought I would be a stepmom. I guess I thought I would get a divorce and it miraculously it wouldn't happen for me. Boy was I an idiot.

Close to 60% of American Families are what we affectionately call "Blended Families" and it certainly feels that way. Insert "his" and "hers" and the two of you into blender and press "blend" and that is very definitely how it can feel sometimes. No one is right or wrong- we're just all different.

We have sought a great deal of coaching on how to blend a family. We talk through issues with a professional and get suggestions or ideas about how to make our life in a blender a little more smooth. Then comes step 2 :Try to spend as much time together as a family unit as possible. This will make the transition after marriage a little easier. I'm learning, that there are good weekends with the kids and there are challenging weekends with the kids. Weekends where you think: I can totally do this- I'm a step mom super woman. Then there are those weekends where you feel like you've been through nuclear war and you have grown a wart on your nose and you suck and they hate you. These are the weekends where I happily bound into the office on Monday morning for a little solitude and peace that comes with a 9x9 cube.

Here is why I think it's harder for women to swallow this "step" craziness. Women are very often responsible for the nurturing of the kids. The setting the stage of the home life, the family dynamics, and really they (like it or not) are the center of the family unit on a lot of levels. It's so easy for me to nurture Cole: I know every wound, every hurt, every issue and I've been there from the beginning. I know what he needs before he even needs it. I don't have to learn: I know. With stepkids it constantly changes. You get to have an impact 25% of the time and with Marketing Boy and I, we know they aren't getting the most positive picture of us when they are with their Mom. I can never be prepared enough for the emotions that come to us every other weekend. So it's a constant experiment in trial and error. Trying to understand what's going on with them and learning to be the sounding board they need.

Step families get a bad rap. Nuclear families are best, but in my day to day life I hear a lot of really positive things about step families (if done right). There is a lot of influencing that can be done. It warms my heart when Abigail and Hudson share secrets and thoughts with me that they don't even share with their biological parents. Jay tucks Cole in most nights and "upside down on the bed" is the usual routine and he absolutely treats Cole as if he were his own.

There is the struggle of being the complete opposite of their mother in terms of parenting style and expectations. But what I'm learning, when I allow myself too, is God put me in their lives and them in mine for a very specific reason. While we're still figuring that out and there is craziness, chaos, and emotion.. There has been a lot of growth and strength that comes when two people press "blend" and trust each other enough to hold on for dear life.

Stepmom... My life suddenly hit fast forward and I've been thrown in the deep end with a six year old and eight year old. Luckily, their Dad is always willing to throw me a life raft.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's Not Just a House

It has been my home. I often tell people when I bought it- it looked like rainbow bright threw up. Clearly there's a lot of sweat equity in the house.

My home on Sunny Point has been my rock. Heck the name of the street alone as one of the things I loved about it. I've always felt safe and secure there. It's comforting when you are a single mom to know that you can pay the bills and provide a nice place for your son to live. Where you know the neighbors and the schools are good. But my single mom days are quickly coming to an end, and three bedrooms isn't quite enough for my soon to be family of five.

If I'm honest, I wasn't in a hurry to sell it. Selling would mean I would have to move forward. When you're me and don't do well with change and have trust issues beyond belief and if you read my previous post, I had a great deal of homework to do on that front in terms of personal growth. But the timing of the sale was everything we had hoped for.

Sure, it's a house. Bricks and sticks. Many people would say a home isn't really anything more than the people who share it with you. Perhaps, I'm shallow, but my home is a reflection of me. An emotional journey if you will. Lots of memories made there... good and bad. And when you start to go through everything and really try to pack away memories in card board boxes, for me, there is absolutely a little bit of mourning that has to happen. I'll pack like a mad woman and then just sit there and think about everything that happened in that particular room.. or how many times I had to re-work it to make it just so. Or what it looked like when I first moved in. I'm sorry, that's not just a house- it's a home.

There something to be said for being able to find your way around a place in the pitch black because your body has memorized every step. Or knowing how long it takes for me to get from my room to Cole's when he's had a bad dream. But I'll have these things in the new house too.

Something that I find completely amazing: From the looks of it, the lady who is purchasing the house is a single Mom too. It warms my heart that she might find the same sort of comfort from the house and the neighborhood that I did.

While, I'm so excited about my new house and the start of my new life... I couldn't move forward without closing that door and saying I've been so fortunate to have lived on Sunny Point for the past eight years. I'll miss my butler's pantry and garden tub with my super cool bath fixtures, and my favorite neighbors, but it's time to move on and make some new memories.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

You Can Probably Guess What Happened

So back to my series of Blog posts about Jay.. I mean Marketing Boy..

I will never say our relationship hasn't been a rocky road. It absolutely has. We have had to deal with so much in our time together. New jobs (both of us), selling houses (his and mine) this economic recession that has hit us all... our kids.. and his ex wife remains a super fun treat : )

But we've weathered the storm and at the end of the day he's the first person I want to tell when something great happens, and the first person I need to help me along when it feels like I just can't any more.

We absolutely fight, but we fight fair. We're both willing to admit that we were wrong. We still love to do things together... We laugh a lot but when there's been two divorces between you- we cry a lot too. We worry about the kids together. We struggle with day to day life together. But we remain committed to work on the relationship every day.

In November, I had some minor surgery. The night before Jay said we should go have a relaxing dinner and get my mind off of it. We re-lived our first date. He proposed at the restaurant where we first met. It was expertly timed: asking my parents for permission, the kneel down, the entire restaurant clapped, and there was immediately some champagne to enjoy. I couldn't have been happier.. When we crossed the street to go have a celeberatory beer at the Old Monk all of our closest friends were there to celebrate with us.. I floated around on my own private cloud for a while..

Shortly thereafter, fear set in. Could I really do this again? I had a "what if" for everything. I had an excuse for why I wasn't planning the ceremony and I let fear rain on my parade. Everyday, Jay showed up. Answering all of my questions. Dealing with my concern of the day and all of the relentless discussions I insisted we have. Another failed marriage wasn't an option for me, and fear kept me stagnant.

Several weeks ago, I totally got called on the carpet for the way I was proceeding in our premarital counseling... "Ashley, you pursue everything in your life with a passion and a vengeance.. why aren't you pursuing this marriage?" There it was. That thing I hadn't dealt with.

I struggle with Faith and my relationship with God is something that challenges me daily. Over the last two years, I have been constantly questioning "God when will you stop punishing me for getting a divorce?" Then it was ever so delicately brought to my attention that God just doesn't work that way. He's not keeping score. Romans Chapter 8 " There is no condemnation for those who remain in Jesus..." I'm forgiven if I choose to forgive myself.

I'm not saying that I got up and said "I forgive myself!! I rock!!" It was more along the lines of sleepless nights,crying and trying to let it all go. There wasn't some magical "ahh haaa" moment, but shortly after I worked through this garbage and began the process, everything started coming together. I had the "divine" sign I was looking for. I finally received an offer on my house. We put an offer on the "dream" house we'd been drooling over off and on (literally on and off the market) for over a year.. and we now have a wedding date set.

Grace is something that humbles me daily. Honestly, it remains something I have difficulty fathoming. But in relationships, I'm learning, it's something that you have to constantly be willing to offer up.

And through it all, Jay has continued to amaze me by being right there with me while I try to sort it all out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kitchen Table Chats

Kitchen Table Chats

When I think about my childhood, I always think, wow! I had a pretty good one and I then it is usually followed with worry about whether or not Cole will have the same sort of recollection.

I had fairly amazing parents. No one is a perfect parent, but hindsight being 20/20 they showed up and told us they loved us everyday. They supported us, we never wanted for much, and in return they had certain expectations of us, which gave us a certain amount of accountability. My parents did the day to day shaping of my person, and doled out the discipline. But if I had to say there was another person present in my life as a child that made me who I am, it was my Grandmother who we all affectionately called Grandsam. This isn’t my first blog post about her, and probably won’t be my last.

I miss her. All the time. January was the four year anniversary of her death. I ended up taking a personal day from work. Too bad you can’t call in sad. Because every year about that time, I remember and I grieve a little bit all over again because she’s not here to talk to me and tell me what she thinks.

I was the only granddaughter and the youngest of four. Every summer my parents would drop my brother and me off to spend a week or more with my Grandsam, Pa and my two cousins (Jason and Kevin). I spent a lot of time being tortured by the boys. Let’s see if we can drown Ash was always a fun game to play. But I guess it made me spunky and thanks to the torture I can hold my own pretty well. When we all started to grow up, weeks with the grandparents became less frequent. There were plenty of occasions where it was just my brother and I for a long weekend. And when I was old enough to drive, I’d make the trek to Graham, Texas to see her on my own or with my Mom. Usually upon arrival, I would walk through the house to see what had changed and not much ever did. Then we’d sit at the kitchen table and talk- for hours. A lot of it was spent catching up, laughing and remembering. Eventually, it would be bedtime but I knew exactly where I would find her in the morning when I woke up. She’d be at the kitchen table, reading her bible or a book and drinking her coffee. She always woke up early and this was her ritual all the years I could remember.

I’d assume my perch at the other end of the table and the talking would commence again. She'd usually make me a cup of coffee too and homemade cinnamon rolls were a tradition. When you allow yourself to really pay attention to someone’s life story, you allow yourself to really know them. My Grandsam had a really hard life. Really hard, but she was one of the most positive people I’ve ever met. She lost a daughter, Onza Gail; when Onza was only 5. She later recovered and had my Mom and Uncle. When my mother was 10, her father was killed in an oil well fire and that left my Grandmother with two kids to raise on her own and a widow. She later remarried and the only Grandfather I ever knew “Pa” died when I was 12. She once told me, after losing her daughter, she woke up one morning and told God she was through with Him. How could He let this happen? What would she do? She couldn’t be faithful any longer… She teared up when she told me, “ I didn’t last the day- I was praying again by night time… I needed Him”

I learned some valuable life lessons during our Kitchen Table chats. She use to tell me, “Ashley, you need to get an education and be able to take care of yourself and your children. You never know what life is going to bring you and an education is something that can’t be taken away from you..” It’s just as important for you as it is the boys she use to say. How right she was. When I graduated from College she said it was one of the proudest days of her life.

Nothing much was off limits during kitchen table chats. Boys, being upset with or not understanding my parents, girl friends, school, and what I was suppose to do with my life… we covered the gamut. Then she’d tell me she was going to get calluses on her knees from all the praying she was going to have to do for me.

When it was time for me to go home, we’d hug, and she would tear up. She would tell me how much she loved me and just like she always did when I was a kid- she’d stand out in the yard and blow kisses until I was out of sight.

In a world where families often revolve around the Television- Kitchen Table chats were pretty awesome. And while the tradition continues with my Mom, Dad & Family.. I still miss her and remember her and thank her for taking the time to have them with me. What I wouldn’t give for one now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Turning Point - Part II

Some of the best relationship advice I've received in my life is some that I received when I least expected it. I was advised that relationships, healthy ones, are much like a three legged stool. Each leg is crucial to the support of the stool or relationship. The legs are fairly simple: Spiritual, Emotional & Physical. If these three components or legs are there, then you have yourself a good foundation and a pretty rockin stool ( I added the rockin part, but the advice was given by my Pastor and friend and he's pretty rockin too) When you realize that your past relationships were balancing on one leg and when you find yourself ready to pursue a relationship again, you start becoming keenly aware of having all three legs. Because, hopefully you've learned, balancing on one leg is exhausting.

In every relationship, I think there's a turning point where you realize, this is someone who really gets me and has potential. I'm not a girl who expects the big gesture of flowers, chocolates, and all of that crap. Because honestly, any schmuck with a wallet can buy some flowers and sweep you off your feet. I wanted real. I wanted a three legged stool. I wanted someone who that I would know when the poo hit the fan, he'd be equal to the task..not someone who would lay down on the couch and expect me to figure it out. Flowers, candy, feet sweeping and such? Not for me.

With Marketing Boy, I remember the day I thought "This guy has potential and he could be my three legged stool" I'd had a pretty crappy day at work. One of those days you feel chewed up and spit out. I was having a financial crisis (the car, the house, the life) and really it was one of those days you say to yourself, if one more thing goes wrong- I'll just scream.

When I picked up the phone, it was Jay on other end. I guess he could tell I'd had a bad day. He said, "Why don't you go home and get Cole to bed and I'll come make you dinner? I'll pick up a movie on the way." Sign me up, I thought. He showed up and made me dinner. While we talked I found out that he was a couple of credits shy of a Masters Degree in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. I very nearly fell out of my chair. Because I hadn't dubbed him Seminary Boy. He was Marketing Boy. There was a movie (sorry I don't remember the title) and about the time we sat down to watch it the smoke detector started beeping and I thought to myself- there is my one more thing to send me over the edge. Before I could even make a sarcastic comment about it being the icing on the cake of my day, he was scaling Cole's toddler table figuring out how to fix it. Maybe I wasn't destined to figure it out on my own with my broomstick after all?

When he went home that evening, I realized I was hooked. Definitely three legged stool qualities. We've been together every since and he still shows up for me & Cole everyday and in every way.

While I'm still learning that the legs never stay perfectly balanced and sometimes the stool gets a little wobbly I'm also realizing that I've found someone who is willing to help me try.

The Turning Point....Part 1

So I started a series of blog posts- but in typical me style,I have been distracted and preoccupied and it's time for me to refocus. Blogging is something that, I've put out there and it's a very healing/growing process for me to realize where I'm going and where I've been. So let's keep telling the story of Marketing Boy aka Jay.

So I'll fast forward a few dates. I can't be boring people with the details... After the next couple of dates Marketing Boy suggested we only date each other...I agreed, but I really wasn't looking for anything serious. I loved the time we spent together. He taught me how to run. We enjoyed doing things together. I was happy and content for the first time in a very long time. I was in no way focused on where anything was going or any of that stuff. Life had been hard- I just wanted to coast.

To tell you about the turning point- I need to rewind and tell you a little bit of history.. Rewind to August 2006. I was married to Cole's Dad... and 8 mos. pregnant. Cole's Dad was in the middle of Paramedic school. Working 24 hour shifts had already begun. I wasn't super stoked about being hugely pregnant and alone at night but hey.. it was the right career for him and relationships are about compromise. Cole's Dad was working. I'd finally gotten the position of the body pillow just right, & dosed off to sleep when I am awakened to this screeching beep... *BEEP* I look at the clock.. 1AM.. *sigh* Put pillow over my head.. try to go back to sleep.. *BEEP* BEEP* BEEP*.. I roll out of bed.. Waddle into the living room where I've identified the shrill beep coming from.. it's the smoke detector. Me- 5'5" and pregnant... up against the smoke detector positioned on the 16 foot ceiling. The 14' ladder was in my neighbor's storage shed (we have that kind of neighborly relationship) I was contemplating going over there and getting it but sanity checked in and I realized I probably shouldn't be scaling the 14 foot ladder this pregnant.

There was nothing left to do but go back to bed. *BEEP*

The next morning I managed to get ready for work. I was waddling out the door when the hubby showed up after a long 24 hour shift. You always feel bad asking for anything when someone has worked for 24 hours straight.... But I knew he'd need a nap-and the smoke detector might prove a nuisance for him as well- So I told him the smoke detector was acting up, it had beeped all night and that it probably needed a replacement battery. He said "ok" and I left for work. When I came home that evening I asked if he had gotten a chance to change the battery and he told me that it hadn't beeped all day.. I said "ok..but would you please change it during your 48hrs off..because it will start beeping again..and I don't think I should get the ladder out and take care of it this pregnant" "No problem" he said.. I'll take care of it.."

Fast forward a night. Another 24 hour shift and it's just me and my belly. Again, I'm awakened to *BEEP* *BEEP* .. I roll out of bed. Stupid smoke detector again. I call Cole's Dad thinking this isn't the battery thing.. "Oh I forgot to change it.. and I thought you might have been hallucinating.." Never mind I mumbled. I went out in the garage.. I didn't have the big ladder in order to actually change the battery- but I had the smaller one one.. and I had a broom stick...I drug the ladder in the house.

I climbed up to the very top.. extended my very pregnant body.. and began beating the living crap out of the stupid smoke detector with the broom stick. I nearly fell off the ladder. But I managed to take out the smoke detector and waddle back to bed.

Reading this I realize I probably sound like a spoiled princess and like I'm throwing my ex under the bus, but that's really not my point. He had a lot on his plate and I remain completely proud of him and his courage to pursue such a big career change. Trust me when I say, he's the type of person that is suited for it. And it's not that any other time I wouldn't have been just fine changing the battery of the smoke detector. But in relationships, I've learned, sometimes you do things to take care of the other person. Otherwise, it just never works.

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Life is A Snow Globe

That's how my life feels right now. Like a snow globe. I'm one of those little plastic people trapped in a little world. Occasionally I wonder up, tap on the glass and proclaim "It's time to get the heck out of here."

I was pretty okay with single mom life. I had a little routine. Cole and I handled the transition okay.. and now someone picked up the snow globe and shook it. I mean hard. While life changes are new and exciting- they are also stressful and complicated. I can't even find the time to blog about how I got to my current state of feeling like I reside in a snow globe and it's a pretty good story in itself.

My house is on the market. It's very violating having people traipse in and out of your home criticizing and such. I'm getting closer by the day to having someone buy it and that terrifies me. I have no idea where I'm going to live or where my kid is going to go to preschool for that matter.. I'm suppose to be uber confident in this huge leap of faith and instead I find myself hanging out in my snow globe..where occasionally someone picks me up and shakes me. Snow globes are volatile. You put yourself on a shelf- available for the shaking. The rattling of the cage if you will.

Here's what I'm learning about life in the snow globe. It's largely about Faith. Faith in the prayers you've said that haven't been answered. Faith in the people who surround you in your little world and Faith that at some point, you'll get yourself out of the globe.. and everything and everyone will stop shaking. Life will be peaceful again. Until then though, and here's the hard part, you have to have Faith that you're in the right hands.

Holla! (Cough, Sneeze- stress doesn't do good things for your immune system either)

Monday, January 25, 2010


It's funny how certain words or phrases that first develop when kids are developing their speech stick with you. For example, nok in Cole language meant snack. Sure sure he knows now that snack= nok, but for us the words are interchangeable. Sprouts is our local health food store and we have a tradition. I say we're going to Pouts and Cole knows he's getting a nok. Simply put- he gets to pick one of the bulk candy or chocolate items that the good people of Sprouts have pre-measured and put in uber convenient, environment destroying plastic packaging. The nok is his special sweet treat after dinner if he does a good job on his veggies and eating something somewhat nutritious. I also let him partake of a piece or two of it while we're shopping.

Swaying the Jury
Three year olds love to be en-powered. Ask them their opinion or if they can do something and generally they are equal to the task. I generally let Cole pick which nok he wants...but when reaches for the cinnamon fire candy or the chocolate covered espresso beans- obviously, there is a bit of swaying of the jury that has to happen. Simply put: Encourage my kid to make the "right" choice. Not the stuff that will make him a hyper freak show or cause him to projectile spit a piece of cinnamon candy in the middle of Pouts.

Every time, it's the same scenario and if I really think about it's noks at Pouts but all too soon it will be a whole new level of encouraging and swaying.

So I had a pretty strict disciplinarian in my mother. I received my fair share of spankings..was making my bed by age 5, wasn't allowed to bring home anything but A's & B's on my report card and you could hang it up if she ever caught wind of you misbehaving in school or being disrespectful to an adult. Really my mother just had certain expectations of my brother and I in terms of our behavior. Discipline she was fairly strict about it.. Allowing us to make our own choices? Well she walked a fine line on that one.

My brother and I both had friends, or activities my Mom didn't approve of.. but instead of putting her foot down and proclaiming " You can't be friends with that person..or you can't be in the Flag Corp or in the Jazz Band or get in the car with that crazy kid or whatever" She attempted to sway the jury. She knew just making the decision for us and saying "NO"..would make us want to do it all the more. So sometimes she'd give us just enough rope to hang ourselves.. Then we'd get disappointed by that friend she knew was bad news...or wouldn't be accepted into a certain clique..or didn't make the team. Then she'd be there to help us figure it out.

These life lessons don't really end once your parents have launched you from the house. I'm 32 and just last week I received a concerned email from my Mother. At first my response was "No she didn't.." I had to call my brother and talk it out. But she's just looking out for me and still trying to sway that jury...and encourage me to pick the right nok.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The First Date

I got to blog on my vacation!!

So Marketing Boy was one of my matches through eHarmony (thanks eHarmony)... I saw his picture, read his bio, and though it looked like he once wore a leopard print jacket with a pink shirt in one of his photos- I still decided to send him a message. Truth be told, I thought he had a nice smile and I liked his glasses.

We started into all of the guided eHarmony communication..made it to "open" communication within a day or so and before I knew it- he was my email buddy, and he gave me a call. By the end of the week- we had a date set to meet. Saturday night- dinner at the Porch.

I found myself actually excited about going on the date with Jay, instead of my usual dread. I got a sitter, got myself dressed, and took myself to The Porch. Where I found him, already there, beer in hand, jockeying for a position at the bar and re-arranging the bar stools. He was definitely my kind of cute... and thus our first date commenced.

We drank Corona Light and got to know each other. I learned he had two kids (Abigail 7 and Hudson 5) was married for 12 years..Adored his kids.. Owned his own creative company Marblehead... and was trying to make it in the world of life post divorce. Somewhere in there we had dinner. I remember commenting on the fact that he had this start up Company and that it must be stressful.. His reply was " I love it..but I have two employees and sometimes all the mouths to feed keeps me up at night.." I was intrigued. Here was a guy (not wearing a pink shirt and leopard print jacket) that felt a real responsibility to his employees and their families... He asked if I'd like to get another beer and I definitely did so we went across the street to the Old Monk and had another drink. We ended up talking for four more hours. He walked me to my car..we said goodnight... and I think I knew I'd met someone special. The two kids part scared the living crap outta me ( I know it's a complete double standard) but there was something about him.

So I won't bother to tell the entire world how he sent me a text message on Monday morning thanking me for dinner Sunday night...(I was the Saturday night date not the Sunday night date)..I almost deleted him right then. I take back what I said about meeting someone special.

OK not really, when you meet someone on eHarmony you kind of assume they are casually meeting other people too.. I was having dinner with someone Sunday night as well.. I couldn't be mad for too long.

Besides, he put on the full court press and lined up the next date fairly quickly.

The Background

The Background:

To begin the story of Marketing Boy, I guess we need to rewind… To August a long time ago. I was in full hermit mode. It had been six months since Cole's Dad and I had separated… My divorce had been final for a while. I was doing better, but solely focused on Cole… He was getting fairly rotten.

My therapist, my friends, my family were all advising that I needed to get out. That I couldn't’t just lock myself away raising Cole, and ignore the possibility of a functional relationship.

It was another Saturday night, Cole was in bed, and through all the heartbreak, loneliness was kicking in… There was wine involved and I trudged into the office to fill out an eHarmony profile with my girlfriend on the phone with me, guiding me along… Several hours and several glasses of wine later I had a complete profile and more matches then I knew what to do with. I simply turned off the computer and went to bed. It was too much...

When you’re a single Mom, dating is an entirely different level of scary. Instead of will he like me? It becomes will he like my son? If it gets serious, will he love my son like his own? Will he like the fact that I have a little boy TOO much, meaning he’s a creepy pedophile… How will I trust anyone or myself ever again?

My situation also makes dating difficult.. You see, I don’t ship Cole away every other weekend to visit his Dad. He’s with me, all the time and my one rule was certain: I would not date in front of my son.

Thus my dating woes began. And wow, dating had changed in the last eight years while I was with Cole's Dad. I learned some valuable lessons:

  1. Make use of your lunch hour: wear something cute to work, and you’re good to go. You also have a reason to cut the date short
  2. If I guy asks you out for coffee you’re not on the “A” list.. you’re on the “maybe” list
  3. If you merit a weeknight date for drinks only…you’re not on the “A” list
  4. If you merit a weeknight date for dinner…you’re on the “B” list
  5. One friend encouraged me to make use of having a babysitter and being dressed up: stack a couple of first meetings on the same night. Happy hour, then work your way to dinner (Save this trick for first meetings only- I learned the hard way)
  6. The no. 1 thing I learned is that if you “click” on the phone, he gets your crazy sense of humor via email, AND asks you out for not drinks but dinner on a Saturday night…there IS potential and you just might have made your way onto the “A” list.