This morning, the Monkey woke me up with a start and some garbled talk about getting his lunch from home. As we got ready for a day of errands my phone dinged and I didn’t even check it. So after rambling about the house and getting my giant coffee mug ready, the Monkey and I hustled upstairs to get ready for our day. Just then it dawned on me…phone dinged…duh!
My heart stopped and my head went into full panic mode. It was HSD texting to check on our (me and the Monkey’s) plans for the day. Holy Jeebus! Earlier in the week he and I had talked about meeting at the park or something but I hadn’t really thought it would happen. In the past I haven’t ever introduced the Monkey to anyone I’ve gone out with…unless they were already friends and had been around before. Big giant step for Mama. And we had both admitted that dating as a single parent to a toddler/preschooler is not easy. People have over blown expectations that babysitters grow (and get paid) on trees or that I’m somehow happy to escape my little boy to spend an evening listening to singles bitch about being single. As If.
But we did it…we made plans to drive South to the LA Zoo with two boys in tow. His almost 4 year old and my 3 year old. I with my more sensible vehicle would drive. Oh boy.
The arrival at HSD’s house was filled with the chaos of my brain working through the minor details of how we would act around our boys? Would he try to kiss me or hug or how would we act? We hadn’t exactly hammered out those details. Bah. He acted like I hoped he would in front of our boys who are the WORLD to both of us…like friends. He hugged me, a slight sideways hug ‘hello’ and that was our greeting. It made that moment of panic and fear hang for just a second and stop in its tracks. This was us, spending a few hours with our boys to see IF we were who we wanted in our lives. Today was the parental test that I’ve never given anyone before because they had never earned it prior to this man in my life today…umm, three weeks later.
So the day at the Zoo was amazing…HSD rented a double stroller and the boys shared it happily, he bought us lunch, we snuck holding hands behind our backs, he kissed my forehead more times than I could count, the boys raced around the park together and when it was time to head home his son asked me if we could please stay at their house to play. We did. There was a calm about our late afternoon that felt normal…with no chance of a nap for anyone, looming on the horizon we watched UP, then played outside with the neighborhood kids in the cul-de-sac and finished it off with pizza and Toy Story 2…and then home for me and the Monkey. Bliss.
Here I am full of emotions I didn’t think I could feel about someone at all. He’s an amazing Daddy, not just a father but a Daddy (just thought about another post I need to write) to his son and you can feel the love surging between them. This man held my Monkey’s hand while crossing the street and I walked a few steps behind to see this image I had only dared to dream in my head while he walked with our boys. When the Monkey spilled chocolate milk in my car, he grabbed it up quickly and told him ‘accidents happen little man’ and they agreed they would clean it up when we got home. And then held it for him the rest of the car ride. My son told me his son was the coolest in the smallest whisper when no one was looking. While standing there listening to Howler Monkeys screech I heard it in my head…YOU CAN DO THIS. The piercing sounds of my head freaking out about this day were drowned out by the calm I feel in this man’s presence. Then moments later at the park in the Zoo he stood behind me with his hand on my back and it felt right.
My last three posts have been about wondering if it makes sense to let someone into my life so quickly, it never dawned on me that this would also include my Monkey too. I figured that after months of dating someone we’d engage the kiddo factor and move on from there. But, HSD has no fear of this and today showed me why. He’s ready for me to be here and now in his life and he embraces my having a kiddo too. He wants to love someone and be loved and have someone love his son without conditions. This man is looking for a future and it doesn’t matter to him what the time frame is or how it happens because he knows what he wants and it was clear to me today…that person is me.
Now, I know me. I will not cease to freak out at the smallest twinge of scary and I will continue to question whether I deserve this or not and if he really wants me. The fact of the matter is that right now in this moment of clarity I see it and I want it too. And this frightened little girl who let her heart be kept on a string by someone who didn’t deserve it, will not let that happen again…ever.