I believe I can fly

The other day, the youngest son said, “What are you gonna do when we go off to college?”

Well, I will probably sell the house and move somewhere and start a new job.  Maybe something that I have never done before.  Kinda like I’m going off to college.  Hey, I might even date.

“Soooo you don’t date right now?”

[In my spare time, you mean?]  No, not right now.  I’m pretty busy.  I like spending time with my friends and family.  There’s plenty of time for dating later.

“Hmmm…you mean it’s okay NOT to date?”

[Choke.] Well, of course it is.  You have to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else.

“Okay, good.  Bambi’s son is always giving me a hard time and asking me who I like.  He says, ‘C’mon, you must like someone.’”  (Bambi is the new victim, I mean, girlfriend of my ex.  Obviously, that’s not her name, but its close enough and it makes me smile, so I’m going with it.)

I took that moment to tell him that there was plenty of time to date when he was ready.  He didn’t have to rush into it at the age of THIRTEEN.  High school would be fun, and college?  Best times of your life.  Hands down.

I guess I’m not surprised by his question.  He rarely sees his dad without the girlfriend in tow.  I am surprised, however, at  the influence of a not-so-existent father.  I pointed out before in the blog that The Ex just re-emerged into their life in March and started exercising his rights of visitation in April.  For months and months before that, he wasn’t around while he worked on this new relationship.  And despite my constant presence and his lack thereof, he still has influence over this child.  He still serves as a role model of sorts.

Can you hear that?  It’s the sound of my HORROR.

Needless to say, its been on my mind ever since.  And lucky for me, I am one of those people who doesn’t stop thinking when I go to sleep.  Anything that I worry about during the day, haunts me in my dreams at night.

Last night was no exception.  I dreamt that my youngest son started shaving while away this month.  By itself, that isn’t a big deal.  He is going through puberty and he will start shaving soon enough.  I taught my oldest son to shave last year.  Due to my lack of face-shaving skills, I taught him with an electric razor.  Truth be told, my oldest is a bit lazy and would choose the easy way anyway.  My youngest son, however, likes to do things the hard way.  He is fascinated with growing up and he is definitely more interested in the shaving cream and razor route.  And that is how he shaved in my dream.

Also not a big deal, but this single event represented so much more.  In the dream, I wasn’t bothered by the act of shaving as much as I was bothered by the loss of the bond with my son.  He was distant, enamored by his father, indifferent to me.

The dream re-emerged throughout the night with different acts other than shaving, but all were related to one thing.  Male milestones. Things that a boy learns from his father.  Things that I can muddle through but can’t fully comprehend the meaning of.  Things that make me feel inadequate.

This is my internal struggle.  I worry about the things my boys will learn from their Alcoholic Father, but I also know that my boys deserve to have a father to learn important things from.  I worry because the person that should rightfully step into that role has become my mortal enemy.  Not by my choice or desire, but by circumstance.  The Ex and I have become so completely different in our beliefs and lifestyles that I fear that bonding with him means they will not bond with me.   And I fear that they will leave me behind, just as he did.

Okay, okay, it looks like I’m still working on the “happy with yourself” part of the equation.  I still struggle with feeling less than or not good enough.  Call it a side effect of being left behind.  I do, however, believe that being happy alone is a key component to finding happiness with someone else.  And hopefully, but the time that my boys leave the nest in a few years, I will be ready to spread my own wings and fly.  Or date, whichever is easier.

I love-hate Facebook

I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.  I am constantly de-activating and re-activating my account, increasing and decreasing my security, and adding and deleting friends.

I first created the account a few weeks after my divorce was finalized.  Locally, we were in the midst of hurricane season and under threats of evacuation.  (Yes, threats.  Hardly anyone readily leaves unless they are forced by an evacuation order.)  My boss thought it would be a good idea to create Facebook accounts so that we could keep in touch from where ever we ended up during an evacuation.  You see, those tricky hurricanes mess with things like phone service.  Either it goes down completely or the circuits are busy.

I didn’t know much about Facebook.  I figured that it was probably a waste of time.  Just like I thought email was trickery when my Computer Class College Professor required us to download our assignments via our email.  Nonsense.  Why would I ever need an email account?  (I think I have four email addresses now.  Hmph.)

So I set up Facebook account and within minutes received notification of a friend request.  It wasn’t a colleague.  It was someone from high school.  Well, this might be interesting.

Interesting and addictive.  In a time when I felt so completely cut off from everything I knew to be true, a time when I felt so completely disconnected, here was someone who wanted to connect.  It was like the divorce antidote.  I was hooked.

Remember the guy that I dated after my divorce?  How did we connect?  Facebook.  And when he cheated on me, how did I bust him?  Facebook.  And when we broke up, how was it announced to the world that he went from being “In a Relationship” to “Single?”  Facebook.   And a very short time later, guess how I found out that he was once again “In a Relationship?”  Facebook.

Yeah, well, screw you too, Facebook.  So I bailed out for a while.  I de-activated my account to give myself time to heal.  It was a healthy choice.  When I was ready to face the world, I re-activated my account.  And it was fun catching up with everyone once again.

Then The Ex-Husband created a Facebook account.   We aren’t “friends” on Facebook, or in any other capacity for that matter.  We do, however, have around 200 mutual friends on the social network.  Each time I log in, Facebook suggests that I add him as my friend.  Really, Facebook? Really?

Because we have so many mutual friends, I now have to monitor the things that I post.  I am cautious because I never know what might get back to him because if a mutual friend likes my post, he can possibly see it.  I’m more guarded, and less my true, authentic self.   I realize that this probably mirrors millions of other Facebook users that portray more of what they want to be, and less of who they really are.  It kinda defeats the purpose for me, though, since my original fascination with Facebook was reconnecting with friends and rediscovering myself.

I have been hurt by Facebook more and more often.  Friends post hurtful things without thinking.  I compare my life to what others portray their lives to be.  I am jealous of the ease of their lives (as displayed), when compared to the constant struggle in my Single Mom World.

I’ve considered, once again, de-activating the account, but I need that account to keep the StrongerMe Blog Facebook page up and running.  And that page is where I display my true, authentic self.

(How’s that for irony?  The fake me is more honest and open than the real me.)

Alas, I will continue my love-hate relationship with Facebook.  But I will focus more on a Stronger Me.

 

I’ve Got a New Man

There is a new man in my life.  No, Mom, don’t get too excited.  He’s not a real man, he just plays one on tv.

Patrick Jane from The Mentalist.  Love.

Last night, after The Ex picked up the kids (several hours late), we moved from the “I don’t want to go to dad’s” Drama Series to the “Please help me” Text Marathon. I was in much need of a distraction, soI chose to watch Season I of The Mentalist. I was feeling very mental and it seemed appropriate.

Bravo to the writers for creating such an intelligent, creative, and easily amused character.  And Simon Baker, you are adorable in the role.  So where is my real life Patrick Jane? What corner is he hanging out on?  I’ll go pick him up.

Needless and sad to say, I have not been attached to anyone like Patrick Jane.  Let’s explore my history…

The 2-year serious relationship that I had before my husband was with an addict – gambling and drinking.  My husband of 13 years was an addict, also gambling and drinking.  Finally, the 2-year relationship after my husband was with an addict…ummmm, a sex addict.  (For some reason, that one is the most embarrassing to own.)

I’m no therapist, but I’m thinking that there’s some kind of pattern here.

So why is it that a smart girl can be so stupid when it comes to men?  My friends and I ponder that question often, and one particular pondering session over margaritas resulted in our “Red Flag” list.  I won’t publish the entire list (at least not yet), but I will give you some of the highlights.

  •  Drives a big truck with oversized tires and an after-market stereo/navigation system, complete with sub-woofer.  I realize that the truck might be a regional thing, but 2 of my 3 relationships were spent driving around in some version of this vehicle.  It simply states that appearance (not substance) is everything to this guy.
  • Dropped out of college.  Before people start throwing stones and thinking that I am a snob, I am not.  I have always believed that you make your own success.  There are many examples out there of guys that have achieved great success without a college degree.  The three geniuses that I chose were not any of those examples.  These guys can’t even put together a resume.  I should know.  I did it for them.  That should have been my first clue that they weren’t destined for greatness.
  • Can’t hold steady employment.  Did I mention that they weren’t destined for greatness?  Apparently, they weren’t destined for steady pay either.  Ladies with habitually unemployed mates, don’t hold out hope that they are just going through a “rough patch.”  The whole dang yard is dead and full of weeds.
  • Reminisces about the glory days of high school.  Let’s face it.  They obviously peaked in high school.  If I had dated them when I was 17, it might have been fun, but unless Michael J. Fox shows up with a time machine, there’s no going back,  and their participation in high school athletics no longer counts for anything.  Let it go.  What are you accomplishing NOW?
  • Describes a “good guy” as “someone that will drink a beer with you.”  I have a lot of descriptions of a “good guy” and beer drinker is definitely not on the list.  And if these words are spoken by the son of an alcoholic, you might want to peruse the AA website.  If it looks like an alcoholic duck, and quacks like an alcoholic duck, girlfriend, that duck is a drunk.
  • Doesn’t pay child support.  Duh.  I don’t care how good the guy treats you or your children.  If he isn’t willing to do the same for his kids, then he is a Deadbeat Dad.  Sadly, 2 of the 3 guys on my list are in this category.  The first guy doesn’t have kids, otherwise, I’m pretty sure it would be unanimous.

Gosh, I could go on and on.  Our list was actually pages long, ranging from the mundane, i.e. spends too much time playing Mafia Wars on Facebook, to the serious, i.e. no health insurance/life insurance/retirement.  Composing the list was quite therapeutic and fun, and I look back at the full list and laugh out loud.  I can’t believe that I stayed despite all of the warning signs.  I guess I should give up my dream of ever joining Mensa.  IQ means nothing without common sense.

So you won’t see much on this blog about dating since I, quite apparently, suck at it. Unless Patrick Jane or some other equally smart, happy, adorable, clever guy shows up at the ballpark or around my dining room table around homework time.