The Brady Bunch

November 3, 2008

Oh, how embarrassing…that’s me front and center!

I have one child and Harley has three.  Mine is 11 and his are all teenagers ranging from 14 to 18.  I have three dogs and two cats.  Harley has three dogs.  That’s six people, six dogs, and two cats.

We have already begun the process of blending our families.  Part of me can’t believe we are blending our families, but that is exactly what we are doing.  That is what is happening.  That’s the interesting thing about my relationship with Harley.  I have always liked him, from the moment I first saw him.  I knew in my heart he was a good person.  I felt at ease around him.  It just happened to take me 6 months to realize that the perfect man was right in front of me.

Everything that is happening feels right.  It feels right when I wake up in the middle of the night with him next to me.  It doesn’t feel right on the few nights I wake up without him next to me.

He already knew my son from the days I bring him to work with me.  I met two of his kids the weekend before last.  He asked me if I was ready for “this” as he took me to his house.  Without hesitation, I said yes.  The five of us went out to dinner together.  Apparently, his kids have been encouraging him to date, but for the longest time, he didn’t want to…until he met me.  I guess it must have been obvious to his kids that he had met someone.  His mood had improved over the previous months.  Then, suddenly, he started staying out late and not coming home, which was completely out of character for him.

Thankfully, they are older and want what’s best for him.  We live 20 miles from each other.  I live closer to work and I rent my house.  He lives further from work and owns his house.

This past weekend, I met his youngest daughter.  I was kind of nervous to meet her.  I had been told she is a handful, and they weren’t kidding.  She is a young, female version of Harley.  She even physically resembles him more than the other two.  To my relief, she has been very nice to me.

Our kids all like each other.  Actually, his kids don’t act like they like each other, but they like my son and my son likes them. 

The really weird thing is that we are the adults!  It is so strange to be around kids and be the “parents.”  At this moment, I’m realizing why Harley laughed when I said that…since I have been a single parent since day 1, I have never been in this position.  Up until the last week, I’ve never kissed a man in front of my own kid or in front of their kids.  As a matter of fact, I just answered the phone 10 seconds ago and said, “hey, baby” only to realize his youngest daughter was calling me to tell me he is on his way to pick me up.  Oops.  That would explain the few seconds of dead silence before hearing a young woman’s voice 🙂

 

 


Everyone Likes Harley

November 3, 2008

When I was out of town the week before last, my mom came into town to take care of my son and dogs.  By the time I told Harley my mom was coming into town, I had already pictured him meeting her and helping her out during the week.  Of course, the first thing he did was offer to do just that.  I told him that would be great.

My mom is on the shy and reserved side, so I made sure she met Harley before I left town.  The four of us went out to dinner.  I couldn’t really tell what my mom was thinking.  I knew she would love him, but I didn’t know how long it would take for her to realize that.  I wasn’t sure if she was going to be put off by the color of his skin (get over it already! & he’s lighter than my son) or his occasional mannerisms.  Regardless, I knew it would be a matter of time before she saw him for who he is…a totally kind-hearted person.

Harley and I sat next to each other during dinner.  I had my hand on his leg.  I find it strange to be dating as an adult in the presence of my parents.  I’m normally not comfortable with PDA (public displays of affection), especially around my parents, but it felt comfortable.  Whatever self-consciousness and tendencies to over think everything (including people’s reactions to my behavior) were just not there.

While I was gone, he brought over a recliner for my mom to sit in (I just had inexpensive chairs from Urban Outfitters), a TV (my son broke our LCD TV, so we had reverted to a tiny archaic TV), and soda for my mom.  Harley knew she likes soda since she ordered it at the restaurant.  He wasn’t sure which kind she likes, so he brought her Coke and Pepsi.

I got back into town about 6 hours before my mom’s flight home.  Before I dropped her off at the airport, I asked her if she thought I should “officially” date Harley.  She said yes.  She told me I would need to learn how to compromise.  She also told me not to take him for granted.  Later that day, Harley asked my son if it was okay if he dated me.  Without hesitation, he said yes.  That was October 24.


Life Without Father

September 17, 2008

(Post #2 of 4)

I actually used to have a book by this name, Life Without Father.  I still have a book called The Way We Never Were:  American Families and the Nostalgia Trap.  They were books from a graduate class on family policy in the US. 

I think that life without a father is supposed to be a bad thing.  The books explored the notion of the nuclear family and how it is idealized, for better…and worse.  The Way We Never Were deconstructs the idealized “American” family and illustrates how this idea of family has never existed at any single point in American history.  Life Without Father presented a lot of data to support the idea that fathers are a good thing.  That’s fine and great…except for when they are really, really bad fathers.

Once I told Baby Bear’s father that he had to move out, he seemed to go deaf.  I told him this a number of times.  “You need to move out.”  “You need to find a place to live.”  The more I pushed, the more defiant he became.  I hadn’t seen him pissed off too many times before, but I had given up on predicting what he was capable of (oh, let’s say something like giving an infant beer).  One day, when he was at work, I started flipping through the phone book.  This was before the days of wireless internet and Google.  It was so surreal…what was I looking for?  Pest management?  Not exactly.  Pizza delivery?  Nope. 

How do you get rid of a useless husband and father?  I finally came across the number for the local domestic violence shelter.  This wasn’t a direct hit, but I figured it was as close of a hit as I was going to get from this phone book.  I called the number and proceeded to explain the situation to the counselor on the other end of the phone.  She wasn’t sure what to tell me.  My relationship had signs of trouble, but no clear history of physical abuse.

Her only suggestion was to go court to request a personal protection order.  That would legally force him to stay away from me (the net result being he would have to move out).  She was not sure if I could get a personal protection order without clear evidence of physical abuse, but I tried anyway.  I couldn’t think of anything else.