The phrase "Meg dating" to me is as foreign to my ears as is Latin -- it just doesn't make any sense. However, two separate incidents have happened to me in the past week that have got me thinking about, well, dating.
After my divorce in August of 2005, I promised myself and my kids that I would not even consider dating until my youngest daughter, Emily, graduated from high school (June 2012). The way my kids' dad left, remarried, and told his kids about it after the fact, left a sour taste in all of our mouths. And I really believe that the time I have spent with just my kids has been both necessary and good. The bond between all of us became that much stronger -- the trust and compatibility that we have now is nothing less than awesome. Side note...do we still disagree at times? do my kids make me insane at times? do we all irritate each other at times? Heck, yes! But we are quick to apologize, make up, whatever is needed to restore the relationship.
I think that I, more than anyone, have gotten way too comfortable being by myself. It is not very often I have the house to myself, and when I do I usually read (and really? is there anything as wonderful as reading a good book uninterrupted?). Well, a few weeks ago there was a Saturday where all my kids were away. I was almost giddy with anticipation -- my chance for quietness, for reading, for ME! But guess what? It took me a while to put my finger on it, but when I did, the feeling shocked me...I felt loneliness. There was no one to talk to, laugh with, to just BE WITH.
Of course, I never told anyone about what I felt that day. Almost as if I was embarrassed or something. Anyway, I was talking with a girlfriend recently and I mentioned that even though my kids did not have a great role model in their dad while they were young, there were other quality men with character in their lives. My friend laughed and said my kids were grown, and if I ever remarried my new husband would probably be a role model for my grand kids, not my kids. Ouch. It wasn't meant to hurt, but it did...a little. The second incident happened today as my middle daughter Kelly and I were driving home from doing errands. Out of the blue she says, "Mom, I want you to find someone so that you won't be lonely when we are all gone." Again, ouch.
I've tried to be very conscious of the fact that I am my kids' mother, and not their friend. I've seen too many divorced parents try and turn themselves into their kids' girlfriend or buddy. I disagree, but I also understand. I have also witnessed newly divorced women and men become so lonely that they jump into a new relationship that is not healthy, and end up twice-divorced or just very unhappy. Once was enough for me, thank-you-very-much. Not looking to go through that pain and mess again.
I've often thought about what kind of person I might like to date. In fact, it was an "assignment" my therapist gave me a few years ago. I was asked to make a list of everything I would like in a partner. The characteristics that were so very important when I was younger have changed just a bit! I would love to have someone make me laugh -- I feel as though I spent so many years not laughing and being serious all the time. And a love for travel. Laughing and traveling...a good combination, I think.
So why am I writing about all this now? Well, my daughter has threatened me with this: she has promised me that she is going to enlist the help of one of my girlfriends and create a "profile" of me on one of those online dating services. Humiliating, right? And this is what she said, "I would be more honest about you than you ever would be." Alright, so hopefully I'm past the point of lying about my weight on my drivers license (wait...no, no I'm not!), but seriously? Getting dating advice from my kids is just so wrong! I am still ok with growing older with my books and pets and lunch with my girlfriends every week, but I guess if I met someone who made me laugh and took me to Italy on vacation, that too would be fine.