I'm not sure who my writings about being single were more helpful to, me or those who read it but the series of 3 are currently ranked in the top 10 highest blog views of mine and the responses were just as fun and enlightening on my Facebook page.
A couple of which even made me second guess my fear of online dating - and well, dating in general. That, honestly surprised me. Typically when I make my mind up - it's made. It was the smallest response that got my attention and started me thinking.
I opened up on Friday night to write about this mostly to calm my nerves about Parker's homecoming date the next day. I was going to write about that... or Allison both topics that are in my mind just waiting for me to type out but I couldn't do it. I needed to clear my mind not focus on what my worries were. I also needed to write, so I opened up about me. It turned out to be a fabulous (and entertaining to many) distraction.
Saturday was homecoming (I'll blog about it soon) and I was very focused on making the day a success (it was).
Sunday though took Parker and I on the long(ish) drive to my hometown where Allison was riding in a horse show. The 1 1/2 hour ride to Cambridge was filled with drumming on my headrest and a very wandering mind.
I love to drive this time of year, watching the crops come out of the fields, the leaves turning colors, pumpkins everywhere - October has always been one of my favorite months - it makes for a tranquil drive. I feel more observant when I drive in the fall, possibly because there is so much more I want to see in the landscape around me.
It was the first time in a long time as I drove that I wondered who else would appreciate the beauty of the half picked fields... of the incredible colors of the fall leaves... or appreciate the crisp air that is such a nice change. My mind kept thinking back to that smallest response and wondering if something was being said by not actually saying something at all.
Just as my mind started to wander just enough we approached Kewanee which switched my focus back to Parker who was still drumming on my headrest and preparing him for our day ahead. He was cleverly distracting by encouraging me to change the songs on his playlist and sing along to something other than Old Time Rock and Roll that I preferred instead of listening to what I was trying to prepare him for. It was likely a tie, neither of us winning but both somewhat accomplishing our goals.
As we drove into Cambridge, I was a bit relieved that we would stay on the very edge of town - I knew if I drove through my mind would return to wondering how interested anyone else would be in my little hometown. So much of my childhood was there, memories and locations that I want to share and reflect upon now and then. I wasn't sure I was ready for that thought and was happy to take the side road to the arena where the horse show was.
The time during the show was pretty focused on getting Parker out of the car and Allison riding. Scott was there with his girlfriend as her girls were riding too. It was really wonderful to see all of the girls riding together and sharing something they loved. Not to mention the smiles on all of their faces. I was glad I reached out to share the event and that they made the long haul with their horses to participate. My parents and younger sister were there, I was able to win over a couple of points with my dad for wearing my new t-shirt showing I was proud of my dad, a Vietnam Vet... and I am proud of him which is a bonus ;-)
After a long day, both Parker and Allison climbed in the van for the drive home. After stopping for gas and snacks we started to drive. It was fairly quiet with a movie playing and leaving my mind to take in the landscape around me. Almost half way home, Allison fell asleep and Parker returned to drumming...my mind returned to the thought of dating.
I've said all along that while I'm not looking, I wouldn't rule out letting someone into my life. It could happen without me looking for it, quite often it happens that way anyway....right? I started to wonder if I was pulling myself away without trying for the wrong reasons. I'm clearly content. I'm ridiculously happy at the moment. Everything "feels" in place in life. So am I not looking because I don't want to lose that feeling? Or.... because I am so afraid that someone isn't ready for the challenge of Parker that I simply can't let myself let my guard down? Or... is it the fear of not being good enough in general. I don't know. And maybe it's a combination of all 3 and more. I am realistic on the amount of time I don't have. I also know that the right people inspire you and I've always found a way to make time too.
Tonight, as Parker and I played Wii (and Allison slept) I found myself creating an online dating profile for myself in my mind and trying to figure out what pictures I would use. After Parker went to bed, I took one more look through match.com...through every angle. If I were a man looking for a woman my age - who would I find? As a woman looking, who would I find? Can I really get past my insecurities enough to do something like this?
I glanced back to the Facebook tab, the first thing I saw was a quote/post that seemed to answer my question...
Is that all this is? An imaginary fear? Eh... I don't know. I think I have realistic fears and I try really hard not to set myself up for disappointment. I stared at this for awhile, a little puzzled how normally something like this would only bring thoughts of my children, IEP's, Advocacy, Inclusion and more from the special needs world I live in to mind but this time those thoughts were not there. Instead the walls I've created within myself were. Am I basing my walls on imaginary fears? Or am I right on track with reality and reclaiming my life by acknowledging them? Honestly, I don't know.
So I kept scrolling...and saw this from HuffPost Women " I Tried Online Dating and No One Even Messaged Me Back." You know I immediately clicked on that hoping not to be able to relate but instead could see myself in the writers shoes. As someone who struggles with insecurities and depression is that something I seriously want to subject myself to willingly? When I'm happy? And content?
Oddly I debated that for a good 15 minutes in my mind while replying to emails, which led me here to my blog to write, hoping I'd find that answer as I put the words down.
The thing is, I don't think there is a right answer. I think there is an "at this moment" answer. An answer that could clearly change in a different moment. I just found my peace that was missing from within me. It's an incredible feeling to have that I'm not sure I've felt it before. Maybe that is what makes part of my mind tell me I am ready but the fear of rejection - of me, and even more honestly of my children is something I would have a difficult time recovering from... the feeling of the 3 of us not being good enough. That's a hard one. I don't know if the peace within me is strong enough to take that on yet... or ever. I'm still trying to figure out the purpose of my new found peace. Maybe it's purpose here is to help me tear down the walls that keep me so guarded ... or maybe to remind me that it's ok to build the walls and apply more mortar to the bricks. I'm just not sure.
I believe that things that are supposed to happen do. Stars line up, wishes are made, prayers are granted... whichever it may be, or a little of each - I believe in it. If there is someone who is meant to be in my life, I will meet him. He will find his way to me and we will figure it out. Maybe his fears are the same as mine and we both need time to build the peace within a bit more before that happens. Or maybe tonight when he lays his head on his pillow to sleep, he's wondering how to get me past my paranoia to let me know that somethings are worth giving a try and building his confidence to reach out.
I don't know.
The only thing I know for certain is that the only thing you can expect in life is the unexpected.
Time will tell ... and as much as I want to say I'm not going to write about myself anymore but keep my focus on the kids, I think we've all just discovered that likely won't happen. So I guess "Embracing the Single"... is to be continued.