Our Story Begins:
Single Dad, So Little Time
I entered into single parenting with one particular thought: “this is pretty much it, I guess.” “It” was being dad to four kids and having been married once. That’s it.
Grief is an odd kind of a duck. You just don’t know what’s going to happen at any given moment. So for a long time after my wife passed away I honestly thought that I had done my thing, committed my time, had my shot, and that was it. For now, parenting was all there was. Time for anything else just didn’t cross my mind.
Then it did.
Being single after the age of . . . let’s say forty-ish . . . is not something I ever thought I’d be experiencing. Stranger still is knowing that the entire world – the dating world – has changed around you and you never noticed.
“Swipe” was taking someone’s wallet to me, not a way to approve or disapprove someone. “Tinder,” I found, is not something to help start a fire but an app for your phone. Then there are all those other sites that have their own offshoot sites. Dating sites own other dating sites and everyone from Christians to farmers to “furries” (yeah, I had to look that one up, too) have their own ways of meeting each other. I’m too old to go clubbing and too tired to stay at the bar until 2am.
But that wasn’t the hardest thing about dating after forty-ish.
Related: Our Story Begins: Certifiable
The hardest thing I have found in the “single” part of single father is the fact that I now know how little time I actually have. Date another single parent and you exponentially increase the odds of being unable to find time together. There is also the prospect of dodging the emotional land mines your dating life might have with your own children. Do they need to know what you’re doing? What happens if you come home really late? What happens if you come home later than that?!
I take a phone call and see giggling googley-eyed children watching me as I leave the room to talk. Time to yourself involves even just taking a phone call.
The advantage for me is the fact that I wanted to take things very slowly while starting to date again. What I didn’t realize was the universe was going to make that a lot easier on me.
My day, as I’ve said before, is like a sandwich. The bottom bread being the morning, where I barely get to run at o’dark thirty and then get the kids ready, situated and out the door. The middle is the work day, where I might have some extra bread thrown in if the school calls or something. Then the top of the sandwich is getting home, making dinner, cleaning up, checking homework, bed, lunches for next day . . . and so on.
Weekends are the same, but put cleaning and laundry in for work.
So where does another person fit in there?
It fits in because you see what is important. You see . . . what is missing.
Butterflies . . . butterflies in the stomach are really important. I get those when the phone rings or I pull up to the door. Conversation, laughing, and friendship are all things that matter to me. I also want commonalities. In youth, sometimes, you want that whole “opposites attract” thing to be true and you might just force the issue where it doesn’t need to go. But now, I know what’s important, at least to me. I miss companionship and holding someone next to you and kissing someone like you mean it. I miss the smell of someone lingering in your car after you’ve left them.
So you make the time when you have it. That’s not as easy as it sounds . . . and it’s certainly harder to contend with if you have 100% custody of kids and nowhere for them to go.
But necessity can be the mother of invention.
So you find the time. Even if you don’t have any to spare.
What about you? This works if you’re married or you’re single. Time for butterflies, dinner, kisses, all of it. Do you make the time?