Thursday, November 10, 2011

Discovering Me

I was mad, for awhile.  I shook my head and wondered how I could choose so badly - again.  What do I do that causes my relationships to fall apart?  What is it that happens after awhile that makes it all stop working?  I was mad.  This path has worn a familiar tread in my relationship pattern and I've grown tired of the rut. 
Lately, the man and I have been trying - again - to make some small portion of a relationship work.  We've thrown out the prospects of long-term anything, we've whittled down the goals and desires of our time together to not a whole lot more than dinner, conversation and well, that about sums it up right there.  No promises, no worry over how does this fit into my life plan, or what will we do about our different views on this topic?  We gave just dating a try.  And I held my breath and thought surely this was a great plan.

But I was still miserable.  He wants to eat at Bennigan's.  I want to go to that local Italian place downtown with a wine list.  He wants to grab a sandwich at Panera - I'm thinking jazz at the Union.  I want to dress up, go out to dinner, stroll back to the car, laugh in the moonlight...he wants us to go back to his house and watch sitcoms and talk to his roommate about the possibility of snow in the week's foreca.....and that's when it hits me.  I've always known that we were different.  I've come to realize with more and more certainty that we're just too different to make this work.  But what I've failed to see for quite some time is how different I have become lately. 

I settled. 

I don't mean that he's somehow beneath me.  Absolutely not.  WG is a fantastic guy.  Truly and indisputably. 

I mean, I settled in my lifestyle.  I've been a mom for so long.  I've been concerned with Flash and getting him to and from and here and there, and cutting the budget into smithereens to make life work, and my social calendar is more like a taxi schedule and so a night out is little more than catching the game at the pub because I'm not even sure how to do a night out anymore. 

WG and I hung out.  We played cards.  We cooked dinner.  We sat on the deck.  If we went out for dinner, it was close by and "the usual".  If, on the rare occasion we splurged, we went to the old stand-by, Olive Garden, which is, in fact, a "usual" in my world.  We did the occasional fun thing together, but all in all, my life was still a mom's life.  Work, clean, cook dinner - only then it was for three instead of two - sit on the couch and chat about the day - my life didn't change when WG and I dated.  I enjoyed having him become a part of my life, but I had hoped for my life to expand outside of its own matronly circle for a change.  I didn't have nights when I just felt like a woman.  A single, eligible, beautiful woman.  Even when we went out, the places we went to, the movies, the pub, the local restaurant - I was still just a mom out to dinner.  The luxury of the evening was that I didn't have to drive.

I know couples have a similar experience.  I've watched Jules and Bear evolve their own marital relationship - now that they don't have to hire a sitter, they enjoy more nights out with their married friends, more times when they go for drinks, or out for date night, or the like.  Maybe we all re-define who we are as our kids need less and less from us.  Maybe we start realizing we have more and more to offer the world.

Lately, I've been going out.  I've been dabbling in some new haunts.  I've been stepping out of my motherly comfort zone and finding places where adults, intelligent, professional adults, hang out.  And I love it.  I love eating something worth savoring instead of pub food.  I love thinking about what kind of wine I want to indulge in.  I have been listening to amazing musicians, and I absolutely love the atmosphere  - there isn't one single indication that children even exist in these worlds.  It feels invigorating to be defined as something more than a mom. 

Maybe it's hitting 40 that did it.  Maybe it's just that being single for this long and having a growingly independent child makes me realize that I'm more than just a mom.  I have to become more than just a mom.  In two very quick years, I'm on my own.  For now, I want to date, I want to go out, I want a life of my own.  I want to feel like I am more than just the head of this household.  I want to feel beautiful and interesting and alive. 

I cannot be mad at WG for being so different from me.  I have been so very different from me for such a long time.  It's time I found myself again.  I think I'm really going to enjoy this.