dating

Dating thoughts, Part 2.

Well, here I am…six months later after diving into Match.com and maybe a little Tinder here and there. It has been five years since I have been in a “with him everyday; part of each other’s reality” kind of relationship, and a lot has happened in life since then. For one thing I have become a COMPLETELY different person. For another, Jasan has grown up quite a bit and he communicates pretty well with me now. School is a full day occurrence; I work as close to full-time as I can since my work life pre-child…

I thought maybe it was time to be open to a romantic relationship.

I found out that it’s hard. Not that I thought it would be super easy. It is crazy how much over-thinking I was doing. What happened to the “fall madly in love blindly” feeling that you have when you are early twenties? Ha. I’m kidding when I say that, but it gets awfully  complicated when you factor age, single parent status and autism into the mix.

During first couple of dates I found myself with this weird feeling of having to explain my situation, which I hadn’t ever had to do before. I almost was embarrassed to do so. Not embarrassed of Jasan; that is not what I mean. Embarrassed that I live with my mom and stepdad because I need someone else in this world, besides me, to know my little guy inside and out. I don’t have any free time like normal adults do. I sleep with my son. He still needs me. (This is always debated; I don’t even want to go there. My mom gut says he needs it. I know him and I will know when it is time to start separating.) I only have one babysitter option for nights out (my mom: Aka, “Grammie”). She isn’t readily available, so that means I can go out one MAYBE two nights a month?

Should I keep going?

Hell, what was I thinking? Any guy that I would be talking to would think I’m not date-able. Any guy who likes to spend a lot of time together anyway. I LOVE spending quality time. That’s my deal. That is what makes me tick when it comes to romance…but I don’t have that option.

Frustration.

As time went on, I was focusing on everything about my life that sucks. I mean what really sucks. The last time I was in that funk was when I had come to know Jasan was autistic. I had to mourn. I compared. I worked with kids at the time. Oh man…I would cry on my way home from work so many times. But then, a light bulb went off.

THAT IS NOT SERVING ME OR MY SON. CHANGE THE PERSPECTIVE.

Back then, I really needed to do that to even survive. Depression would have overcome me and I would have been worthless otherwise. Here I was, left to do this alone (which I thought would be do-able…but throw autism into the mix? Damn. Didn’t have a plan for that.)

So, the positivity angel swooped my soul up and gave me a new pair of glasses to look through. Life changed. I cherished all the beautiful differences my son has that other kids did not and just accepted him for WHO HE IS. Challenges and all. A little while later I started taking photographs of his “oddities” which I loved. I gained some momentum and Hello! to this project. Following Jasan was born and I started budding creatively, which I had not done in many years. I started learning more about myself, which basically is what parenting is all about. (Ha. Not what you expect pre-kid, at least your first one anyway.)

I was okay with not having a partner. I didn’t have time to focus on anything else but Jasan and me and figuring out life with autism. I dabbled in a long distance connection when he was younger, but in the end, we didn’t live in each other’s reality. That is not what I wanted. So, single was to be my status.

It took some getting used to, but after a while I didn’t miss it. I didn’t miss the male affection I was accustomed to receiving. In a weird way, I was thankful for this. I know being single and working on ME was something that I needed to do for a long time. It was something that life (circumstantially) forced me into, but it changed me none-the-less.

Fast forward to now, and here I am…back in the funk. I loathe the funk. It scares me, as someone who has dealt with depression since my childhood years. I realized though, it’s okay to want to do things. I miss out on a lot. DATING, soooooo many girlfriend hang outs, going to the movies, going out for drinks, doing anything adult, picking where I want to go to eat vs. where Jasan will eat, photography shoots with my friends, just taking time to learn stuff! Classes, whatever! Simple things like going to the store by myself. Shopping, being spontaneous, traveling, visiting my brother in Arizona… SO. MANY. THINGS. Even when we did finally get to go to Arizona this past Thanksgiving, I STILL MISSED OUT ON STUFF. Sometimes I just feel a big WTF.

But, here I am again. Time to change the perspective. During a really great discussion with my awesome boss, he suggested I listen to a specific podcast: an amazing story of one individual’s strength…and what stood out to me was: are you a VICTIM or a VICTOR?

I have lived the victim card now for some months. I am so done. I don’t like these glasses…I want my victor ones back.

I found them in an old drawer today. Cleaned em’ up and they are ready to wear.

I love my son more than ever. I am excited about our future. I am excited about the day we had today. We have some cool new things and are getting reorganized and that FEELS GOOD.

I am done focusing on LACK, because my life is full of beauty. It may not be your “typical” beauty, but it’s mine, it’s what surrounds me and I will cherish it.

This is a pretty vulnerable post. I wrote it for all the other parents who are held captive by their kid’s special needs. It’s great if you have a wonderful partner to help, but sometimes partners are no help either. Partner or no partner, it can feel EXTREMELY LONELY.

If you have felt this, it is possible to turn it around. Quit looking at what you hate and look at what you love.

The universe will deliver a very different experience to you. It has happened to me before and I know it will again. Try it.

snuggles

He is my favorite snuggle partner. I am helping him to learn how secure he is, because he can feel the love from his mama. That is life-giving to me. ❤

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So many thoughts on dating.

Honestly, I am not quite sure where to even begin this post. I have laid in bed a few nights in the past couple of weeks thinking about this topic. Of course, as I lay there in the dark as Jasan falls asleep next to me, my thoughts gather perfectly. At the end of the day when bed time rolls around for my little guy, the effort for me to stay awake after he drifts off to dreamland is usually just too much. And, alas, there goes my perfectly thought out blog post since it was all written in my mind at that moment. Now I sit here with some time to write and my mind scatters…

It has been SO long since I have been in a relationship. A “do life together in each other’s daily reality” kind of situation.  I am not by any means complaining about this fact. I haven’t missed it. Actually, I think it has been a very good thing for me (and for Jasan.) I can honestly say that I have had the most personal growth to date over the past year. I needed to be focused on me and how to be the best parent for Jasan. The thought of dating has not even entered my mind until recently.

The reason I am choosing to write about this here is because it is a completely different ball game when you have a child with special needs. I think dating as a single parent is challenging as it is. Bringing another person into a family situation; wow. A lot to consider. Possibly blending two separate families with children all coming together…lots of dynamics there.

Autism adds another level of complexity.

I really do not want to choose to look at this as a huge difficulty, but I do want to be realistic with my feelings. Because this is the beginning of my thought process on even starting to THINK about how it would all work, it feels overwhelming. I have moments where I feel excited about the dreamy picture in my mind of my ideal situation. As I work through this, that is where I want to choose to keep the majority of my thoughts. But, there are a few kinks to think through first.

I love my life. I love my son. I love my family. I have chosen to live with my mom and my stepfather, and we have since Jasan was one. He is almost 6. It started out to be for financial reasons because of the break up with his father, but as time has gone on challenges with autism have kept us here with family. It has been beyond necessary for someone else besides me to know Jasan through and through. The only way for that fully to be accomplished is to live with him.

Jasan 2015

My mom and I have a great relationship. We have pretty much partnered in raising Jasan because she is so helpful to me. When I say helpful, I do not mean babysitting when I want her to so that I can go out with girlfriends. I mean the day-to-day activities that she helps me with. For example, she knows our routines. On Jasan’s school mornings she takes it upon herself to wake at a certain time so that she starts breakfast for him. We live in the downstairs part of the home, so when we meander upstairs she is cooking away. This is extremely helpful for me. Mornings can be smooth as silk, or extremely difficult. On the days when we are running late due to transition meltdowns, I know it is vital to get food into his stomach or he won’t be able to handle anything at school…but we also have to get out to the bus on time! Not to mention, I need to get to work on time…it can be pretty tricky sometimes. Through it all, I need to stay as calm as possible to keep things moving along. To have her there as my backup picking up slack is huge. HUGE!

There are many examples I could give that show how helpful “Grammie” is. But, Grammie and Grampie (my stepdad Matt, who works many hours) also have their own busy lives. The three of us are the ones on this earth that know Jasan best. Because he has grown up living with his grandparents, they are hugely influential in his life. What a blessing this is! I feel it is extremely imperative that he has someone besides just me who “gets” him.

Jasan

I have my couple evenings a month where I have things scheduled that I am involved in. If I am out late, which is not often, my mom is the only other person that can put Jasan to bed. Parents that can just call any babysitter so that they can go out for an evening don’t even begin to realize how fabulous they have it. That does not exist in my world. So, with the little bit that I have explained, where the heck does going out on dates fit in to this situation? She sacrifices a lot for me. Unless she had no life of her own and only lived to hang out with her grandson, it’s going to be slightly challenging.

The dynamic between Jasan and me takes most of my energy. As he gets older life has gotten more interesting, but also more difficult. At this point in my life I know what I want. I know that I have the power to choosy when it comes to what and who I let into our lives. Would it be easier to not create more emotional (possible) drama for myself? Maybe. But, I do believe that as time goes on we expand. We have desires and dreams that grow our thoughts. If we don’t keep up with them, that is when life begins to lose its luster. My hunch is that this is part of my expansion. This is why these visions of a partner in my life are coming to me. I need to be open and willing to roll with it.

I know there is a man out there that will love, accept and understand Jasan as if he were his own (and be crazy in love with me as well.) I believe this. I have all the patience in the world and I know that he will show up in my reality somehow when the universe beautifully sets it up to be so. If I choose to start opening up my mind to this idea of relationship with all of this worry and fret, he will not come. If I let my walls come down and trust that everything will work out, guess what?

It will. ❤

I had planned to do a lot more writing about details on the difficulties. I kinda like how this post took a turn for the positively hopeful! I think I’ll stay here.

us

lol

be YOU tiful

me.