Well, it's been a year. A year today.* A year since I left Crown Point for Ocean Beach. A year since I fled my marriage and the home that I lived in while married.
I remember a year ago today very, very well. I was jacked up an adrenaline. I was not quite ready when the movers arrived. I paid them extra to disassemble then reassemble. Luckily they were nice, and didn't charge me rack rates. And by the time they left the girls' beds were set up, the dining table put together. I then had that night and the next to settle in before the girls arrived. I wanted it to be ready. Ready enough for them to feel like they at least knew where to find their clothes and toothpaste. (Okay, so they don't give a shit about the toothpaste.) But still.
My mom came over that day with lunch -- Chipotle and a Coke -- which I don't always drink, but which matched my anxious mood perfectly. Had she not, I probably would not have eaten at all. I was driven. I hit Target like a whirling dervish, not caring about the cost of all those home goods I loaded into my cart. I left my former home with not a lot. I tried to err on the side of leaving more behind than was necessary. It was a strange time, and I didn't need any backlash from taking the blender or the vacuum, even if I did just buy it a few months before.
The point was to get out. To flee. To start something new. To get on with it.
I promised myself that day (or maybe it was the day before or the day after) that I would not get into any relationship, or date, or even think about men for at least a year. It would need to be September 24, 2013, or later, before I was willing to take the chance of making such a mess of things again. I didn't trust myself to go there. Still don't actually. But, alas, the year has past.
Does this mean that I will be uploading my photo to PlentyOfFish or Match.com or Tinder (or Twinkle**!?) later tonight? No. No it does not, but it does mean that I'm now open to the possibility of a relationship.
Oh, but who am I kidding?! None of us are ready. My oldest especially. And I get it. She likes me focused on her and her sisters. She doesn't want any more change in her life. She doesn't need that complication. She didn't like the outcome of my last attempt at love. And she has every right to be wary. Granted she does now have a super awesome little sister, and an ex-step dad who loves her. But still. It was rocky. And she's 12. Middle school is hard enough. She does not need a middle-aged mother who is dating.
In fact, while we were going through old photos last week (or maybe it was the week before), she was delighted with all the unflattering photos of me. (Let me assure you, there were plenty.) She asked if she could keep one, then another, and another. The worse the shot, the uglier my facial expression, the better she liked them.
"Um, what are you going to do with those?" I asked. (Hoping she wanted to have a mini bonfire or something.)
"I'm going to put them all up on my bulletin board in my room, mom."
"Ha, ha. Good one."
"Really? Now why would you go and do that? You have all these other adorable photos of you and your sisters."
"I'm going to keep these photos handy for when a guy comes over, then I'm going to show them to him."
She picked up an unattractive photo from my wedding day and added., "I'm going to make sure to mention, this photo was from her FIRST wedding."
Then, picking up a really unattractive photo of me holding her as an infant, she continued, "And this is her with her FIRST baby."
She was laughing, but not kidding about using whatever ammunition she could come up with to scare away potential suitors. Really quite savvy.
I mean it's one thing to meet a guy and tell him that you are twice divorced and have three kids and an alcoholic kitten. That's going to stop a lot of potential relationships before they even start, as most people tend to avoid two-time losing train wrecks, especially those with a tribe of daughters. But then to have the pre-teen drag you into her room to show you how ugly and complicated her mother is? Now that would be quite a show, would it not?
I'm thinking it will be a very long time before I invite a man over. (At least while she is home.) I mean, I may be a train wreck, but I'm not stupid.
* I wrote this on Tuesday, 9/24/13
** Twinkle is the new, er, dating site that Jacquie and I are going to get rich from once we launch it