It’s an inevitable question that would be asked by children in this situation, right? It’s just me and them and whilst we’re really happy just on our own, they know that we’re not a “normal” family type. (Although honestly, in this day and age, I question what a “normal” family is anyway.) They also want to see me happy. Now, don’t misunderstand me here – I’m pretty darn happy on my own. Sure, it’d be nice to share my life with someone and have a bit of help with running the household, but, to be honest, I’ve really been doing this solo for many more years than I’ve been separated or divorced, since my ex-husband was never really around for any of us. So, I’ve kinda got this whole “single” parenting thing sorted. I’ve worked out how to juggle drop offs, pick ups, after school activities, weekend sports, birthday parties, etc., all on my own. I’ve learnt not to rely on anyone outside of the four of us and it’s worked fine so far. Sure, it can be overwhelming at times, but it works for us; And if it works just fine as it is, why change it? Well that answer is pretty simple: Because it can always be better.
Don’t get me wrong, it could be worse too, but given the strict boundaries that I have in my own life with relationships and everything else, I simply won’t allow it to be worse. I won’t go back to how things were, or even anything close to how things were before we left. But that leads me to the bigger question of whether there is someone out there who could fulfil all my expectations, needs, wants, desires, etc., and unconditionally love me AND my children. According to the kids, he does exist and it’s just a matter of finding him… even if it means travelling the entire world.
Isn’t it wonderful how simplistic a child’s mind works? If you can dream it, it can happen. And you know what? I believe it too. Call me crazy, call me naïve, call me anything you want, but I do truly believe that ANYTHING is possible. It’s even more possible if you want it badly enough and you’re willing to put in the effort, and of course, the time… which in this case, may just be a matter of waiting.
You see, despite everything that I’ve been through in this life, I still believe that there is that “perfect” partner out there for anyone who wants one. Now, I’m saying “anyone who wants one” because not everyone does want a partner. So, for those of us that do, I believe that your perfect match is out there. Oh yes, he/she may be a bit difficult to find, but when the time is right, you’ll find each other.
What do I mean by the “right time”? I mean that time in your life when you’re good on your own and you don’t need anyone to “complete” you, but you like to share your life, on an intimate, permanent level, with a special someone. It’s that time in your life when you know your self worth and you know your boundaries. You’re happy with where you are, what you’ve accomplished so far, and where you’re headed. And you find someone who’s in that same position in their life… and then you both “click” and fall in love…
Now I know that it’s a complete Hallmark moment to say “you complete me”, or “you’re the one that makes me happy” but ugh, what kind of pressure does that put on a partner? To be solely responsible for someone else’s happiness or feeling of completeness? Why can’t you both stand on your own two feet and be responsible for yourself and your own happiness? Isn’t it better to bring joy into someone else’s life and have that reciprocated, rather than just one person doing all the work? I know, I’m getting deep… but without babbling on for another few paragraphs, I’m hoping that you know what I mean.
Anyway, back to how my kids approached me about all of this. They basically came to me with an updated version of their list. Yes, you read that right. A list. A long list of traits that their new dad had to have. Admittedly, they first did this just before we moved out. At that time, it felt pretty random to me, but looking back on what was going on and what made them “crack” and just ask me why their dad was never there for them, it all made sense. And now V-day seems to have kicked this all off again.
If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll know that their dad was never, well, never a dad. He was never there for them. He never really looked after them or took an interest in what they did or said. He always made it look like they were just a nuisance and he seemed to do his best to avoid doing anything with or for them. But that’s how he was with everything. It was always about him. And I never really understood how much of an impact it had on the children until they first came to me with their wish list of dad traits. That list was an eye opener. That list made it clear that their dad didn’t even meet their basic needs as children, and his behaviour showed me that the only time that they got any attention from him, was when he was angry for one reason or another, and he’d take it out on them – either verbally or physically. So I guess you could say he was a dad by conception and birth but nothing more. But I don’t want to rant on about all the things that they missed out on, from not having a “real” dad, as they would call it. I want to talk about this list.
This list started off with maybe 50 traits and it soon grew to just over 100. Some of them weren’t what you or me would probably write if we had to write down the traits for an ideal partner, but we’re talking about the minds of children here, and the list was first written when my two eldest were 8 and 11. Two years on, it’s been updated to a list of more than 300 traits. Now that’s a pretty big list for anyone to meet, and so I did question them on whether or not ALL the traits had to be met. Apparently some are negotiable, but others are complete show-stoppers.
You’re itching to read the list, aren’t you? Well I’m not going to post the whole thing here, but here’s a little snippet… and I’m sure some of the points will make you giggle, but others might just make you want to cry, because the majority of this list was based on what their biological father wasn’t. (Oh – and as you’d expect, I have my own list of requirements.)
He has to be good looking / can’t be ugly
He can’t be fat
If he has tattoos, they have to be cool and not cringy
He must have abs and muscles
He has to have cool hair
He must be slim but can’t be too skinny
He has to be taller than mama
He can’t have a hairy chest
He can’t have a beard
He has to wear nice clothes / sense of fashion
He has to look cool when he gets grey hair
He can’t wear baggy clothes and look like a homeless person
He can’t wear lame hats
He can’t act weird around others
He has to be nice to mum and us
He has to be ready on time
He can’t be a psychopath
He can’t be a hypocrite
He can’t be lame
He has to keep promises
He can’t be or act stupid
He can’t drive like a grandma and smash our car
He has to like books
He can’t ditch us
He has to be able to keep a job / has to have a good paying job
He has to help us with housework
He can’t set off the fire alarm every single time he cooks
He has to know how to play a musical instrument
He has to know how to dance and not look stupid
He has to know how to iron his own clothes
He has to remember our birthdays and not have to tattoo it on his arm and still forget it
He has to not break everything
He can’t make loud noises or do other things while we’re watching a movie
He has to eat with us at dinner
He has to WANT to be a dad
He can’t throw out our toys
He has to play with us
He has to be involved with the family and like being part of our family
He has to spend time with us
He has to support us by coming to school events
He has to be good at hugs
He has to actually help us
He can’t eat all of our ice cream
He can’t treat us like his servants
He has to take us to the park
His phone can’t be more important than us
He can’t watch InkMaster, Pawn Stars or American Pickers
He can’t pick up random stuff up off the side of the road
He has to dress up when we go out to special places
He has to love us (and mama)
I have no idea where to start looking for this ideal partner, who’ll not only meet all the non-negotiable traits, but will also really love me and my children. BUT, I do believe that he does exist and he is out there somewhere. Does that mean that I’m going to throw myself onto all those online dating sites? No. I’ll pass on that. I’ll just do my thing and trust that we’ll bump into each other somehow, somewhere. I’m in no rush, because it’s a pretty tall order to fill, and given that there are kids involved, I don’t want a bunch of trial and errors before hitting the jackpot. That wouldn’t be fair on any of us. There’s a lot of vetting that I’d need to do before even entering into a relationship with someone, but if you believe that anything is possible (and I do), you’ll know that this will happen; All in good time. All in divine time. As it should be.