Falling in love when your kids are teenagers can be… awkward. Especially if you have not dated much. Or, in my case, not at all. I spent the first eight or nine years of my divorce too hurt, too bitter and too angry too even consider dating. I had a lot of work to do on myself first: building up my self-esteem; growing strong friendships with even stronger women; gaining some much-needed self-sufficiency; getting lots (and lots) of therapy. And raising two small kids, of course.
Oh, yes, and earning a living.
I made a decision, early on, to make my kids a priority. I hated shared custody; hating missing so many hours/days/weeks of the year with them: so, when the kids were with me, they had my undivided attention. And for most of the years when it was just the three of us, I was blessed to have a job – including co-workers and employers – that allowed me to build my busy travelling schedule around the weeks when the kids were with my Ex and their Step-Mom. Even my friends knew that if they wanted to see me, they either planned our outings on the week-ends that I didn’t have the kids or they invited all three of us. On the weeks that the kids were with me, we were always going to be a package deal.
When I met my husband, the kids were 13 and 15. The first week-end that he invited me out on our first date (A Few Things You Should Know About Me…) happened to be a week-end that the kids were not with me. My best friend guessed that I must be pretty smitten when I accepted to go out on a date with P_ the very next week-end. The kids guessed that something big was up when they saw me getting ready to go out.
“So, where are you going?” asked my fifteen year-old son, following me from room to room as I took extra care, that evening, choosing what to wear and fixing my hair just ‘so’.
“Oh, just out with a friend.” I replied vaguely.
“Oh, just a friend from work.”
My son is nothing if not persistent: he named several friends – none of whom I ever saw without the two of them until, red-faced, I finally admitted, “Well, it’s kind of a date.”
“YES!” was my son’s only response, grinning, as he made an elaborate fist pump in the air.
Fast forward a year later, when, married now, we were all living under the same roof and my son had just recently gotten his driver’s licence. He inherited his grandmother’s aging car and as you can imagine, he was thrilled to be able to come and go as he pleased. While I was equally elated to be seeing him much more often, I was also a little concerned: newly-weds can sometimes get caught up – ah-hem – ‘in the moment’, so to speak. I did not want my son (or us) to be inadvertently embarrassed if he happened to choose an importune moment to drop by unexpectedly. Shy and embarrassed, I sought out a quiet moment to tell my son how thrilled I was that we were seeing so much more of him, but, ah, would he mind giving us a quick call before heading over?
By this time, I was having a hard time meeting his eyes and my face was crimson in embarrassment. My son is very intelligent and pretty quick to read between the lines. He stood there looking down into my face for a few seconds before his own face curled up in disgust and horror: “Eeewww, Mom! You two do it?”
It was clear that he got the message, though. A few weeks later, I was busily folding laundry when the phone rang.
“Mom, I’m in the driveway. Can I come in?”
Patti Moore Wilson/ © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com