I remember the early, post-divorce years. I was eagerly excited about dating, finding a boyfriend, remarrying even. I’m a hopeless romantic, what can I say? I envisioned everything just falling into place and, with the blink of an eye, I would have an instant, blended family and live happily ever after.
But things are never as they seem. Seven years later, here I sit, not at all remarried, not at all excited about dating, and completely and totally without any desire to blend my family with another human being. I have grown protective over my pack of four —Molly Nora, Emmet and me.
I love us. I love our routines and the way our house is kind of a mess all of the time and that it’s okay with us. I love the way they play a little rough and argue and make-up 25 times in one day. I love the random science experiments they create from whatever random ingredients they discover in the kitchen. I love our routines. I love that we finally have our own traditions. It took us a while to get here, and suddenly I just want to soak it all in. Embrace this time in my life, one precious moment at a time.
I dated someone for a long time. The introduction phase of boyfriend to children was heart-wrenching. It was hard work for all involved. My oldest was not at all receptive to this man being in our lives, and it broke my heart in so many ways. I was hurting for her as she tried to navigate through this discomfort, feeling as though she were betraying her dad if she so much as spoke a word to this man.
My heart was heavy for her, too, when she expressed that she wanted me to be happy, but she didn’t ever want to be around him. “He is a stranger to me, Mom. Why does he have to be at Christmas or Thanksgiving. He is not family.”
I was sad for him. He tried his best and he never got intimidated. He was patient, understanding, and compassionate. He brought the kids gifts, which my oldest perceived as a pathetic attempt at bribery. He wanted to take us on weekend getaways, but I just couldn’t commit to that. He was 100% confident that with time, persistence and patience, we would all blend just fine. I didn’t agree.
Eventually, I was sad for me, too. I didn’t know what I wanted. I felt as though I had to choose between 2 people who I loved very much. I knew that if I had to choose between my daughter and anyone, I would choose my daughter. I constantly felt torn between my daughter and boyfriend. I pretended I was like the other moms who blended their families with ease. The moms who said, “So what, deal with it” (so I envisioned) to their kids, while I struggled through this situation, which was too much for me to handle.
That was the difference between me and those other moms. They were ready for the blending challenge and I was not. Deep down, I did not want to blend. I was rushing it all, pretending I knew exactly what I was doing, when my intuition was telling me otherwise. I ignored it, and kept fighting to create this dream I envisioned since the divorce papers were signed.
As it turns out, I did not want that dream. I wanted to just mom-it alone for a while. Get to know my kids better, redefine myself from the inside out post-divorce. I had a blank canvas and I wanted to color it all by myself. Doing so has helped me to realize that I love being a single mom. I love living alone with my kids. I love when they snuggle in bed with me, I love our movie marathons complete with a family sleepover on the living room floor. I love that we continue to do things with their dad, like have birthday parties or go to sporting events. I love everything about every second we spend together, just the four of us.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and sure, I want flowers and chocolate and a romantic candlelit dinner. I want a boyfriend, too, but I am just not ready to blend my family. I am not ready for the work just yet. It took years to get to know myself, to create myself as a new, empowered and confident single mother. I want to enjoy it a little longer.
I trust that when the time is right, the one will find his way into my life and it will feel right. My intuition will be in line with my heart and I won’t feel so torn. Until then, I am going to open my bed to cuddles with my kids, sleep with them in our sleeping bags on the living room floor, and be perfectly just me.