First, I realize that my writing has been quite sporadic this summer. Truth is, I love having the summer “off” this year. This teaching gig is seriously awesome, and even though I’m spending time preparing for next semester, I have no official research or teaching obligations until mid-August. So, I’ve finally organized the house (I closed on the house days after Mike’s funeral, immediately got strep throat, and had to leave for a business trip two days after the movers left – so nothing was where I wanted it and I never painted or hung all the photos or really decorated or anything else), planted a garden, re-landscaped the yard, spent time playing with the kids. I’m not just on the computer as often as I am during the school year.
I came clean to Ethan. And it was overwhelmingly positive, and touching, and funny, and kind of weird.
Until now, whenever I had a date, I told E that I had a “meeting.” It’s terminology with which he’s quite familiar. In my professional life, I’ve had a lot of meetings, some on weekends, some later at night. So my going out to a “meeting” hasn’t been a big deal.
On my last date with B, I was asked how long I thought Ethan would believe the “meetings” thing. After all, he’s a smart kid, and as things are going quite well, there could be many, many more “meetings” in the future. That question struck me and made me rethink “meetings.”
E and I were spending the morning running errands, just the two of us. We stopped for lunch at one of his favorite restaurants, and it felt like the right time to broach the subject.
“Ethan, what would you think if I started to date?”
His eyes lit up. He smiled widely and started nodding his head. “Yes, mommy,” he said. “Yes, you need to meet people and make new friends.”
“Um,” I said a little stunned by his overly positive reaction, “I have friends…”
“Yeah, but they’re married friends. You need bachelor MAN friends,” he replied, still smiling.
“You’d really be okay with it?” I asked.
“Mommy, YES, you NEED to date. You should look into M@tch.com – they have more marriages than any other site. Well, at least that’s what their commercial says. Yay, dating! I’m so happy!”
“OK…One more thing,” I started. “You know the ‘meeting’ I have tomorrow night? It’s really a date,” I said.
“What?! You’ve met someone already! That’s GREAT, mommy! You know, on a date, the man pays for everything. Just so you know,” he said.
“Well, that’s not always true,” I began.
“Yes, he should pay. I have some questions.”
Then he started with the questions (in order, to the best of my memory):
– “Is he a hobo?”
– “Does he have a job?”
– “Does he own a home? What color is his house?”
– “Does he have kids? Are they boys? A boy and a girl? Oh, two girls…”
– “Was he married before? Nevermind. Obviously, if he has kids, he was married before. So, he’s divorced then?”
– “Is he handsome?”
– “Is he famous? Because it would be cool if you dated Aaron Rodgers. Wait, he probably has a girlfriend or a wife already, huh?”
– “Can I ask him questions? I have A LOT of questions for him…”
Then Ethan got up from his chair, walked over to me, and hugged me close and tight. “I love you, mommy. This is really good news! You have a DATE!” he said.
Sidenote: Ethan is not a touchy kid. I mean, he’ll kiss us and hug us after we prod him, but even when he asks to cuddle, he just wants to be close, not touching and certainly not embraced/embracing. He’s always been this way, so to have him initiate a hug is completely unexpected. And it didn’t stop in the restaurant. He’s been REALLY affectionate – coming up to me eight, nine, ten times a day to hug me or put his arm around me and smile at me and tell me how happy he is for me.
The next day (the day of the date with B), Ethan started his morning by wishing me a “happy date day” and more hugs. By afternoon, Ethan had some fashion advice for me. “What are you planning to wear tonight?” he asked me.
“Um, I’m not sure. Probably jeans – it’s going to be chilly tonight,” I replied.
“No. You need to show some leg,” he said. “Maybe a skirt that’s like this short (gesturing to mid-thigh) with a slit up the side to about here (another gesture a bit higher). THAT’S what you wear on a date.”
“No, I think I’ll stick with jeans,” I said. (FYI: I wore jeans.)
Ethan’s reaction was unexpected, and so positive.
But it isn’t just E.
I’m wondering if nearly everyone in my life thought I was a lonely, miserable wreck of a woman. I didn’t think I was appearing miserable IRL, but the overwhelming response to hearing that I’m dating someone has been ridiculously over-the-top (in a positive way).
Of course, my mom has been talking it up – to her dad, her aunt, a family friend, cousins, neighbors, just about everyone she meets. Everyone is happy for me. Many have commented that I “deserve” to be happy and have a relationship with someone “nice.” It’s great. I’m very aware that not all widows/widowers have such support when they decide to move on.
Maybe I’m just being overly sensitive in thinking it’s been TOO positive. I honestly don’t care what anyone thinks about my dating. I DO deserve it. And I’m REALLY enjoying myself (and REALLY enjoying spending time with B)…