Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Post Valentine's Blues

Listening to: Brian Eno, Before & After Science

Oh, there were posts a-ramblin' round' my brain pan regarding love things and thangs but I just didn't have the heart to write about Valentine's Day.

Not that I was without on that most romantic of demi-holidays - indeed, my cup, though not runneth-ing over, seems steeped with a steaming brew - but I encountered a complication with the wee ones that was cause for pause.

In the almost three years since X and I went our separate ways, I have introduced one woman into their lives. I may not be much of a dad but to my credit I have minimized the confusion that comes with romantic entanglements, to the point where my oldest has set about suggesting potential matches. If that was the end of the story, I wouldn't be writing this, obviously; unfortunately, not all is well that ended well.

Driving home the other night after picking up the brood from the sitter's, the topic-that-will-not-die was again resurrected in the backseat peanut gallery. It began when my littlest one, the effervescent Zeke, asked with all earnestness, "Will Woo be dare when we get home?"

"Woo" is, of course, the one I allowed to get close to my kids, the one of my relationship that I documented somewhat last year (and was copiously documented elsewhere but now those posts have mostly disappeared). Don't get me wrong: I have no regrets and place no blame, it is better to have loved and lost and all that shit. Still, the nascent minds that inhabit my backseat cannot comprehend the concept of finality. Despite stating numerous times that Lu and I were done and that she has a new boyfriend, Lilly, Marni, and Zeke continue to ask when Lu will visit again, will Lu be here for a birthday, when will go camping with Lu and Kaylee again, etc.

Any parent who has been driven past insanity by yammering, howling children cooped up in a car can appreciate my desire at that moment to spin the steering wheel and speed off the side of the nearest bridge. In the back, "Lu, Woo, Lu...," like baby loons hopped up on lithium, anything that could be said was said in relation to what Lu would do. Months after Christmas, the chorus sang,
"Jingle Bells, Lu smells.... GOOD!
Daddy took a pee,
On a tree and broke his knee
In 1943... HEY!"

Over and over and over and over and over again, some kind of karmic hell I'm positive I had no part in accumulating.

As I said, I'm not here pointing fingers or assigning blame. If Lu was guilty of anything it was treating my children well, lovingly, being nurturing and attentive.

And there's the problem. As I navigate the single life and search for another significant other, I am naturally going to gravitate towards someone who will be just like Lu as far as how she treats my kids. A drunken, self-centered nymphomaniac might be fun but in the morning, she won't meet my children. So the search continues and as it does, the wee ones continue to cherish the brief moments when we were almost a complete family again.

Despite my liberal inclinations and feminist posturing, I have to confess that I'm not entirely thrilled with being a single parent and the thought of having a partner is infinitely more attractive that continuing on wearing both the mommy and daddy hats. More than that, having had some glimpse of how my children thrive in a two parent household, I have to concede that my kids appear to be happier when two adults share the blessings and burdens. That "complete" family unit, "nuclear family" (whatever you want to call it) allows for a tag-team type of strategy which, under optimal conditions, allows one stressed-out parent some downtime, some time to decompress and refresh before rushing back onto the battlefield.

Sometimes in life you take your chances, uncertain of the rewards, in the end usually astounded at how much farther the results have reached into the silent corners of our lives. As I said, I have no regrets and I'd do it again given the opportunity. Really, I will do it again, with someone new, hoping for the best and not thinking that it will end with three birds chirping her name as I sit alone in the driver's seat. I can't guard their little hearts anymore than I can guard my own heart.

All I can do is make good choices and hope for the best. Obviously, my kids thought Lu was a good choice and they will remember her for quite some time. Until I make my next good choice and take the chance, introduce her to my children. Until then, I have my wee ones to remind me that I do not settle for anything less than the best.


UsedtobeKeb said...

Very well said Sir. Good luck in your search. Kiss the kiddos too. Can't get too many of those!

Natsthename said...

And you should NOT settle for anything less, both for yourself and for your kids!

All you can do is...the best you can do. Ya know?

Mamacita said...

As for me, well, you already know.

panthergirl said...

Oh, that's very sweet. And you know I relate totally to the "only parent" thing.

I've been extremely reluctant to introduce my son to anyone for exactly the reasons you describe. But I know why you took that risk, and ultimately it added something positive to their lives.

That said, why are you offering to buy me a tattoo for Valentine's Day?? ;)

Anne said...

How about a drunken nymphomaniac who WILL meet the kids? Just a thought...

You should never settle for less, a warm body is no replacement for that tag team partner you so desire. Sadly, I know this all too well.

Chin up dear, you are one of a kind and someday very soon the right someone will see it.

Elisson said...

Select, don't settle.

But you already know that.

GraceD said...

Chah, dude, are you going to put the tattoo on panthergirl yourself?

Just wanted to liven things up around here with some rumormongering.

trusty getto said...

Oh boy - you just articulated my biggest fear. I'm coming close to crossing the line into dating (I hate that word), but I can't shake the feeling that I'm not the only one doing the dating. There are *consequences*, particulary if it goes well. And I'm scared shitless that those consequences will be visited upon my kids. Easy to make decisions for myself and to live with the results, but not so easy with the little ones.

Well, you may have guessed that my comment is about me b/c I have no wise words to share. You're way ahead of the curve on this one, Jim, and I'm so far back I can't even see where the curve begins ;)

Nino the Mindboggler said...

Go to it, Grace, things need to be livened up around here!

vicki said...

No fair. I don't cry over people's blogs. You cheat. You invoke the names of those I care about and say good things about them.

Your dilemma is what kept me single for 15-count 'em- 15 years. Oh, Lord, what a dry spell...but I refused to expose my children to "dates" and it's not about being so all up conservative in my life- it was about wanting them to fully appreciate the nature of a significant attachment and also waiting to find that person who would not only love me but approach my children with an open heart so that love might grow there as well. And it did. Once it happened that they loved the man I was seeing and vice versa- and he and I didn't work out. That was very sad. And then he died. That was sadder, still. But they widened their circle of loving adults in knowing him and the net result is not the loss but the gain.
Now, really for the first time, they have the benefits of a "family unit" where everybody loves and laughs and fights and cries and life is good. I'm sorry they had to wait so long but life is good.

Kiss those babies. And love to you, Jim.