I hear this question about once a week. When I first heard it, I cringed. I was not sure how to answer it. I was afraid if I didn’t come up with the perfect response, my children would be permanently scarred. It doesn’t bother me very much anymore. I have several answers now. My personal favorite: “It takes a while to find a person special enough to be your daddy.” Of course, that doesn’t quell the impatience.
When they were younger, they didn’t understand the complexities of that question. I guess they just thought I would go down to the local store, and pick one out, and bring him home. They didn’t know what was taking me so long. Now that they are six years old, they understand that it is more complicated than that. They know about marriage and they know that “a mommy and a daddy” are supposed to love each other. Now, they have resorted to fixing me up. Recently, my son came home from school with the exciting news that his friend had an uncle with a beard, a jeep and a jet pack. Apparently, this was all my son ever wanted in a father. I was a bit curious about the “jet pack” part, but I decided it would be best to leave that one alone.
As a single mother, I can relate to other single mothers in their quest to balance a challenging family schedule with some form of social life or dating schedule. That is a huge issue for most single mothers. Unfortunately, there is a second complication for me: something that can’t be overcome with an Outlook calendar and a reliable babysitter. My past has left me with a big question. Am I capable of opening my heart completely to a partner, or is there just too much damage there?
I’ve contemplated this often. I know I can love. I have two amazing children and I love them more than anything. I have learned to trust quite a few people. I have great work relationships. But intimacy is different. Intimacy takes me right back to the original wound. Of course, to be fair, intimacy is hard for people who weren’t sold for sex by their parents.
I have been single now for four years and have done very little dating. Some friends are confused by this. They don’t understand what I am waiting for. I had a friend say to me once that “I just needed to get laid”. In that moment, I was particularly stressed, and needless to say, his comment did not help matters. I told him that his comment was like telling a war veteran that he would be cured of his PTSD if he just increased the explosions and gunshots in his vicinity. Yep, that would make everything better.
I have also been labeled a lesbian by several male friends. They say it as a joke, but I think they are wondering. I think that comes from the societal belief that women aren’t ever single by choice. Women aren’t allowed to choose the single lifestyle the same way that men can. I have to admit that I did contemplate an intimate relationship with the same sex. I thought it might be easier based on my past trauma. But I had two realizations. First, a healthy relationship with any other person requires trust and an open heart. The sex of each person doesn’t matter. And second, David Beckham’s underwear commercials.
So, for now, I wait. And I keep working on my ability to trust and open to other people. I continue to practice my “no” when the wrong people show up. I keep standing in my new-found power and expressing my new-found voice. I keep practicing my patience and acceptance of “what is”. And I am hopeful that one day, a “yes” will come walking in to my life.