Saturday, October 4, 2014

Embracing the Single - My online profile

If you missed part one on Embracing the single - it's here.  Part 2, Embracing the single - online dating is here.

This is the last on this topic and then I'm going back to blogging about my kids.  At the moment, I'm highly amused and on a roll though so one more to finish this out.

Looking through and reading entirely too many "about me" profiles left me wondering what I would write. I don't like surprises and would rather lay it all out on the table from the get go instead of surprising people with important facts that should be openly discussed from the beginning.  Should I ever join, I'll likely just link this blog and say "If you are honestly interested read here" and then maybe add this picture ...

Partially because I find it amusing... and partially because it's so extremely true.

When I was growing up, we were not allowed to go out on a date until the guy came to the house, met mom and dad and survived a heart to heart talk with my dad.  A talk that may or may not have prevented guys from ever asking me out and also may have required a few to purchase new underwear. While at the time, I was not so thrilled about it - later in life I developed a great appreciation for the rules my parents had around dating.  The reality was, if you weren't willing to meet my parents and toe the line with my dad - you weren't worth my heart, or heartache. Whichever it may have been.

And while this information will likely come across as every reason not to date me, it's actually kind of the same thing. Yet in my own way.  I'd happily adhere to my parent's rule and make everyone meet them first still to give their approval, it's not exactly practical.  They live further away and some people don't take kindly to my dad's threat on their life if they hurt me. (Rolling my eyes).  This a way to protect myself from anyone not worth my time, heart or God forbid- heartache.

Here is what you need to know about me.

1. I am a mom. First and foremost. It is who I am. I am the mom to the 2 most fantastic kids I have ever met in my life. They complete me, inspire me and have made me the person I am today.  They also have Fragile X Syndrome.  Translation - I have 2 kids with special needs.
Now, while it's not noticeable with my daughter who is very high functioning and as "typical" as you can get for an almost 12 year old girl, my 15 year old son is pretty moderately affected. Not only does he have intellectual disability but aggression, sensory issues, fine motor delay, speech delay, anxiety and hyper-arousal is part of each moment of our day.
If you plan to be in our lives, wanting to and learning about it are essential.  Understanding is the key to making it all work.
My son and I are pretty much joined a the hip and I'm good with that.  He depends on me for many things, including helping him wipe after he uses the bathroom (while I repeat "Do NOT flush yet, No, no flushing, NO .. DO NOT... Sigh. I said, don't flush yet). While he is becoming more independent each day, he will likely always require some level of assistance.
Each night at bedtime, it will take me 4 trips up and down the stairs tucking him in and covering him back up before he goes to sleep.  This also includes him yelling up to me several things which is part of our routine. He'll also wake me up around 6 am. This is our thing. It works for us.
Routine is important and the 3 of us do not handle surprises well. At all. (*slight exceptions, I'll list below. We don't do well with routine change, too much preparation goes into our routine and it's important we stick to it.)
My son would prefer that no one else be joined to my other hip.  Just ask my daughter who sometimes likes to attach to the other hip. He's rather selfish in that way and isn't fond of me sharing my time.  That said, he's also extremely compassionate and caring.  As is my daughter.  Despite their disabilities, at the end of each day when I reflect on the moments - I am extremely proud and know I am doing something right.
My son frustrates easily, you would too if you lived in his overwhelming world of fragile x.  This can lead to yelling, screaming, throwing things, and some pretty difficult meltdowns.  If he is overwhelmed and needs out of a situation - his mind will not be able to form the words he needs to tell anyone that. Instead, he will likely physically lash out. There is nothing I can say to prepare you for seeing that happen. Only that you need to trust me that I know him better than anyone in this world and if you listen to me, we will get through it.
He sometimes throws up.  And it won't phase me a bit. If we are sitting at a restaurant or at the table and he has eaten too fast/too much or something tastes or smells funny - he's going to puke.  I'm likely going to catch it in my hands or with a nearby plate, cover it, set it aside,  clean my hands and continue on eating as though nothing has happened. If you can't handle vomit... that might be a problem.
When we travel, he will drum on the back of my headrest while we listen to "Old Time Rock and Roll" on repeat with the volume at 10.  It won't phase me a bit as I have it completely tuned out.
If you embarrass easily or don't take well to people staring at you when you are helping a young adult through a situation - that will be a problem. There will be times Parker doesn't want to leave the car, or wherever he is. There will be times he completely falls apart in public. Each time it happens I learn something new and we grow from it.
While I will proudly show you every second of how fun and amazing our lives are (which is true), you cannot mistake that for thinking our lives are easy. Our lives are not. Our lives are calculated, trying and sometimes draining. Our lives are also worth every second of that time.

2. I'm extremely protective of my kids, that's probably putting it mildly.  While we live a very public life, they are very closely guarded by me. The odds of you meeting them are rather slim until I feel you are a consistent person in my life who will be around, support them and see how much better you are for loving them.

3. If you drop the "r" word around me (retard, retarded or any version of it) - I will give you a look that will make you want to curl up in the corner in the fetal position and cry. As you should. The fact alone that I am a special needs mom should be enough for you to understand why this won't fly.  That and the fact that it's 2014. I will explain 1 time and 1 time only why that is not acceptable, if it's said again - I simply will move on with my life. I spend too much time teaching the world around us to be.accepting and to use respectable words to tolerate it from anyone.  This also means if I hear anyone around us say it, I'll correct them too. In the line at the store, at the movies, anywhere. It's not acceptable - it will not matter if I know the person or not. If this will embarrass you... we are not a match.

4. I am married to my job. I love it. Like all jobs, it frustrates me too at times, but I love it. I am often glued to my desk. I also am taking classes again which means when I'm not glued to my desk working, I'm glued to my desk doing homework. A lot of it. My time with the kids is important to me so wrapping things up and studying happen after they go to bed. Free time is not something I have much of. I would love to find someone who respects my work ethic and dedication while also giving me a reason and showing me how to slow down.  I need to slow down.

5. Sleep, I don't. Well, I do but not much. I tend to go to bed between 1 - 2 am and get up between 6 and 7 am. It works for me. I get a lot accomplished.  Minus housework... which brings me to number 6...

6.  On my list of priorities, cleaning is number not on the list. I have 2 kids, 2 cats, and 1 dog and no time. I clean quickly and when it's necessary. While I wish I was OCD about it, I'm not. If you are expecting my house clean, hire me a housekeeper or two...maybe 3.  And someone to pick up the dog poop from my yard. Do not mistake this for laziness.  The last thing I am is lazy.

7. Food. Feeding me is quite simple. I like only a handful of foods. If you are wanting someone to take to a Mexican, Chinese, Indian... any specialty restaurant - I'm not your girl. Most 4 year olds have a bigger selection of what they will eat than I do. That said, I love a very good steak.  I'll never be a vegetarian. I don't eat spices or salt or gravy.  I like plain food.  Remember the movie "When Harry Met Sally?" and how she ordered?  She and I have a lot in common. My friends find this very entertaining. Will I try new foods?  Sometimes, if I really like you. I probably won't like it though.

8. My ex husband and the only other guy I've dated both had the same first name.  Therefore, if your name is Scott, despite the fact that they are both great guys... I'll likely run quickly away. Sorry, it's nothing personal - I need to move onto other letters of the alphabet, and it's confusing to my family and friends.

9. One of my favorite places is the Jukebox Comedy Club. One of my very best, most closest friends owns it. He will always and forever be one of the most important people in my life.  You have to be ok with and supportive of that. The staff there are like family to me and I love them all.  That said... everyone there also loves me and is very protective of me.  The first time we go you get the feeling of "they would be willing to take you out" that's because they would. It's a nice reminder to be good to me. Trust and respect is something that has to be earned. It's totally do-able, they want me to be happy...just not hurt.  I love them for that.

10. My best friend knows everything. I will tell her every detail of every moment we spend together in person or in conversation. I'm not even kidding a little bit. There is a good chance she will be getting frequent updates while we are out.  Loving her is a must if you ever plan to love me.

11. Travel. I love to travel.  Within the US and Canada. I'd love to go to Sweden one day and to Australia but beyond that I prefer to stay in the US.  Liking the Boston/Cambridge area of Massachusetts and being willing to go there frequently is a must. (Yes, this would be where you will find my very best friend.)  I don't have much time to travel outside of work but would love to do more, weekends or a couple days away are perfect!

12. I am afraid of water I can't see in.  This does not make me an idea person to take to the beach if you plan to get in the water.  I love to go because the kids love it.  I just need someone to go in the water with them because I'm not doing that. I'm also not going on a float trip, swimming in a river or lake, or anything that would involve me possibly ending up in water that isn't a swimming pool. It's a fear I can't explain beyond I can't handle not knowing what is in the water with me. My anxiety will skyrocket and I'll have a heart attack.  Water skiing is a thing of my past.  That said, I love the beach, I love to be by the water and I don't mind boats.  I find water to be peaceful, the crashing of the waves on the beach, the calm water on the lake... I love to see the water... just not be in it. My aunt has a lake house with the most spectacular view... it's incredibly calming.

13. I love winter. The first snowfall of the year is my absolute favorite.  The one with the great big wet flakes ... since they were born I've taken my kids out no matter the time of day or night to dance in the falling snowflakes. Before having kids, I did it by myself. I'd love for someone to enjoy this with me, it's like kisses from Heaven from all of the most amazing people I've lost in my life. Watching the snowfall is one of the most peaceful, beautiful things I've ever seen. It always captivates me. 

14. I sleep with Sully.  Yes, from Monster's Inc. Sometimes he travels with me but he's rather huge so unless I am taking a big suitcase he has to stay home but when I'm here... we like to sleep diagonally across the bed - which is a new thing for me.  Really new. Up until a few weeks ago I slept on a tiny space on the edge of the right hand side of the bed.  The dog enjoyed the other 3/4 of the bed.  I'm not sure why after 40 years I decided to change that... but I did.  The dog sleeps with me too. And usually at some point in the night at least one if not both cats. If that is a problem, I'll simply remind you it was their bed first...

15. Speaking of - if you don't like my dog, don't bother to come over. She is like a child to me. If she doesn't like you - there is a problem. The cats, well they are a little harder to love so I won't hold that against anyone but you have to be respectful of them. They, too, our my babies.

16. I would love someone to travel with me for work on occasion.  Not always but now and then, especially for larger events.  This means you need to be able to clean up well and socialize appropriately.

17. I work from home which means I leave my house to take the kids to and from school and to run errands. It limits how many people I meet. I don't have many opportunities to go out but when I do, you can usually find me at the comedy club, dinner and movie are always nice too. I'm just as happy catching a movie at home and ordering pizza and spending the evening in my pj pants.

18. Jack... Jack is my neighbor who I help care for. He's more like a grandpa to the kids and I. I mow his lawn, shovel his snow and am his first contact if there is an emergency. I love and respect him dearly. I enjoy spending time with him. I believe in helping others. Jack is pretty high up on my priority list.

19. Family (this should have been way higher on the list clearly they are in random order) - my family means the world to me. Meeting them and enjoying spending time with them will be extremely important to me. I don't get to see them enough so when I do, I cherish every moment. Someone who's family is important to them, with a close relationship with their parents is important to me.

20. Kids. I don't mind dating someone with kids but I really prefer that they are older than mine.  While I love younger kids and being creative and helping with school projects... I really don't have the time they deserve from someone who plays an important role in their life. My children are my world and do not leave much room for more.  I do not plan to have any more, not to mention I can't. If you want to have more children with someone... I am not your girl. This body is not having any more babies but you are welcome to love the 2 I have as your own.

21. I love my socks. (Sometimes, I'm random)

22. It'd be really nice if you liked to ride horses... and owned horses... or would just agree to ride with me.  I am a country girl at heart.  I grew up in the country and would love more than anything to be living in the country again. While I love and appreciate the conveniences of being in town, I miss the quiet of the country.

23. I run a volunteer support group on the side in my "free" time. We hold multiple fundraisers locally each year and I'm very passionate about the work I do with it.  This often leads to me over extending myself but, it's part of who I am. Having you at the events to support me - and know I will likely lose my mind somewhere in the planning process and still adore me is important.

24. I'll volunteer to do things I don't have time for. You have to learn to look past it and smile and appreciate my huge heart.  It would help if you had a big heart and loved to help others too.

25. The world we live in scares me. I hate violence. I hate war. I hate fighting. I hate conflict. I hate disease. I hate death. I want to make the world a better place. Never discourage me from this but instead help light that fire and inspire me on how we can make this  happen together.

26, I live a very public life. I take the work I do very seriously and am constantly thinking of ways to improve. I need someone who is proud to be seen with me, not afraid or embarrassed to be tagged in a Facebook status or picture with me and prepared for the influx of questions and friend requests by people who are very protective of me.  The picture thing is kind of important... can you take a good selfie of us?  What I love about pictures of couples is it shows they are proud of who they are with. It's nice to have someone proud to be seen or have others know they are with you.

27. I am painfully shy. Extremely anxious. And worry all the time. I know it seems crazy for someone who loves public speaking and does the work I do to be shy and anxious but in places where I do not know anyone, I am.  It takes me time (a long time) to open up to people. It's difficult for me to trust, I believe that has to be earned and takes time.  Sometimes this comes off as snobby which is the furthest thing from who I am. I am simply insecure and shy.  It takes time for me to warm up and let my guard down.

28. My weight is as unpredictable as a snowfall in an Illinois winter. Sometimes there will be a lot of it and sometimes there will be very little. There are a variety of reasons. You just have to know and accept it's going to be always changing.

29. As much as I love my independence and pride myself on what I can do, there is that part of me who simply wants swept off my feet. I want to be spoiled and taken care of... pampered and loved.  Most of all, I want my children taken care of and honestly loved.  If you can help me create and follow through with a plan to build a special needs community for Parker to live in and a horse stables and land for Allison to have her dream job on... I'd be forever swept off my feet for certain! More realistically, I want someone who respects the kids and myself, who works hard, is unconditional and wants to make a difference in our world and help me check off things on our family bucket list.  Helping me navigate through Parker and Allison's futures, finding Parker a job, surrounding him by supportive people, helping Allison achieve her dream,  knowing they will be ok and Parker will be independent enough not the complete responsibility of his sister when I am gone are crucial.

30. I'm afraid of heights, mostly because I have vertigo and am convinced as I lose my balance I will fall to my death. (Yes, you likely have caught on by now - I'm slightly concerned many things will kill me.  It's best to find this adorable)

31. I have a fantastic sense of humor...if something is funny.

32. I rarely ever watch TV but always watch the Walking Dead (which is interesting because I hate shows about zombies, blood and gore and to be scared and that show freaks me out but I love it) and really love HGTV.

33. I don't like coffee.  At all. Or tea. Or Starbucks. I do however love hot chocolate and Dunkins. If you like Starbucks more than Dunkin Donuts... we are going to have a problem.

34. I love to write. Reading my blog and encouraging my writing is important to me.  It is possibly the best thing that I do for myself. It's very therapeutic for me.

35. If I let you into my life, I will always look out for you. The people I let in our my world, I will stand up for, spoil, and put your happiness before mine (but not my kids). I am a giving person by nature and that often leads to me being taken advantage of (hence the trust issue) I always look for the good in people and that has bitten me in the butt yet it's who I am and I don't want to change that about myself.  As much as I "don't have time" you'll discover that I always find time, especially for those who can find it for me.

36. My faith is important to me. Going to church together would be one of the nicest things you could do, especially if you can talk my kids into going.

37. I believe in time together but also time apart. Time with friends is valuable and should always be encouraged and supported.  Speaking of friends... my friends - they are such a huge part of my life. While they are spread out across the world - they are my lifeline. Meeting them and knowing them is as important to me as me meeting and knowing your friends.

38. I don't do drama, crazy ex-anythings, fight or fuel problems. I am a problem solver by nature and everyone getting along is important to me. My plate is too full to deal with unnecessary issues that are childish.

39. I don't watch scary movies, talk about ghosts or do anything that may enhance the nightmares I already have.  Ah, I should mention, I have nightmares. They are few and far between now but me waking up screaming or crying in the middle of my sleep is not unheard of.

40. Surprises... while I say I don't like surprises, it's really more about our routine. And I'm just a tiny bit of a control freak.  That said, I love flowers and getting them when I'd never expect it. If you tell me you can't be at a function and then in the middle of it I look up and see you smiling as you surprise me... heart melted. I need you to understand, Parker can't be caught off guard - that never ends well.

41. I am an extremely optimistic and encouraging person.  I believe good will conquer evil, I believe there is an answer to every problem. I see the glass as half full.  That said... those who are closest to me also get to see the side of me that is hurt, frustrated, angry and unsure. Not many get to see that side of me and I know it's not fair that those who are closest to me get it... but they are also the ones who love me unconditionally and know that we all must vent now and then to survive. Depression is something I have always struggled with, sometimes it's at arms length and sometimes it's strangling me. I do my best to keep a steady balance.

42. I don't take anything in life for granted, life is too short and people are too important.  We celebrate the "small" things in life as they really are the big things. "Inchstones" as those closest to me and I like to call them.

43. Not a lot of people are going to read past number 1 when looking for someone to date. They will see I am the mom of special needs children and stop reading right there and walk away. If you read completely through but only out of curiosity and still plan to walk away - you won't be alone.   If you are still reading this and interested... you are a pretty good soul.  I appreciate that and look forward to knowing you more. I want to be up front with the challenges that come with being in my life and also clear that being in our life is extremely rewarding. I am highly guarded, which also may appear as paranoid (I'm laughing at that), I've been through a lot. With time I do relax, my guard is slowly dropped and one day someone will make it through the brick wall I surround the kids and I with. It honestly isn't that hard as we don't expect a lot. I like to know I'm being thought of, a good morning, good night and when I least expect it "how are you?" text goes a long way with me. There are many things about me that this simply won't cover... really knowing someone takes time but this is at least a start.

At the end of the day... right now, I'm simply not sure I am ready.  I am happy with the peace I have found within myself and my life as a single mom.  Will it change?  I'm sure at some point. I want someone to grow old with, to sit on the deck and watch the sunset with, to share the joys and the sorrows of life with... to complete us.

But for today, I'm not sure I am ready to date.  I'm too busy rocking this single thing...

When it's right, the time...the person.. it'll happen and I'll date again - hopefully I'll even find love.  But for today, I love my focus, appreciate my time and enjoy each day.  Happiness within us individually is  the key to happiness with others.

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