Sunday, 9 September 2012

Love in the Petting Zoo

Day 30
335 Days Remaining

I'm feeling a bit lonely.

Actually, I don't feel lonely, per could I, with this houseful of roommates and my kids and all the new friends I am making at school, but the last day or so I find I am really missing being a part of a couple.  This is a feeling that I've had for a while; I haven't really felt that security in a relationship for a long time, and that's probably why I rushed into relationships that weren't right for me.  I know I was searching for something that I long for.

Yesterday I took my youngest son and his friend to Beacon Hill Park.  We bought ice cream cones at the Beacon Drive-In (a must for any of you who are visiting Victoria) and wandered around the park, admiring the flowers, the ponds and wildlife, and strolling through the Children's Farm looking at pigs, ducks with strange bulbous feather hats, miniature horse and donkeys, alpacas and rabbits.  The boys let themselves in to the goat petting area while I sat outside the fence in the sun and brooded, looking around at all the parents - a lot of whom seemed to be single dads, walking the park with tiny little kids and looking so attentive; joking around with their friends and family members ("Hey Joey; doesn't that alpaca's face kind of look like your Uncle Sean?"); washing small hands carefully and thoroughly.  I realized that since it was Saturday, it was likely that at least a few of these guys were single and only got to see their little ones on weekends.  It made me sad.

When we headed out of the Children's Farm and walked across the park to the playground, I quizzed the kids on what they had learned ("what is a female peacock called?" "what kind of hoof does an alpaca have?" "what is the name of the horse buried near the front of the Children's Farm and how old was she when she died?").  The boys loved it and raced to beat each other to answer my questions, but they looked at each other in puzzlement when I asked ,"How many daddies were in the petting zoo?"

Okay, I got a little ridiculous there, I know.  But my mind has started this drift...I pulled in that "singles antenna" in the beginning (see The Guidelines) and I haven't had a lot of difficulty avoiding looking at men in the past month, but suddenly yesterday I was noticing them all over the place.  I did not allow myself to flirt or to look at any of them more than necessary, but in my head I was there again.  Is that guy single? Would he find me attractive?  I don't want to be feeling that or thinking those things, but I recognize that spending a year without dating, kissing, or flirting is definitely going to have its moments of difficulty.  And having the feeling is not the same as acting on it, is it?

Walking the park, and sitting on a bench while they boys climbed the jungle gym, I had more of that feeling of loneliness.  It's curious to really notice the mixture of emotions one can go through when people-watching.  I saw many people yesterday: young couples; small children; grandparents chasing their young grandson through the water fountain.  I was so content in that moment, just sitting in the sun, smiling at the different combinations of people that made up the families in the park that day.  One woman in particular caught my eye.  She was pretty, with glasses and casually caught-up hair, her pregnant belly straining against her maternity top as she sat and watched her young child splashing in the water.  (I noticed her because of the belly, of course, pregnancy and maternity being my area of interest.)  At first I watched the little blond girl - probably three years old - laughing and pushing the button to start the flow of water, and fought a wave of melancholy, recollecting my own daughter at that age.  Sometimes I wish we could go back to that time, when I was home with the kids and could spend all my time with them.  I miss my little daughter being tiny and loving her mom fiercely, rather than being seventeen and almost independent and not really having time for me.  I miss the days when she would run up to me and cry out "Mommy!" with such joy, wrapping her arms around me as though just seeing me was the best present in the world.

And then the daddy came up and sat next to the mommy.  Nothing was said; he gave her a brief touch on the arm and she looked up with a small smile to acknowledge that he was there.  He sat down beside her and they both sat and watched the little person they had created enjoy the weather and the water.

I miss that.

I miss having that partner who is just so connected to you that nothing needs to be said.  To know that together you have made something - a relationship, a family, a person.  To look forward to the joy of new life together; I sometimes feel completely overwhelmed with sadness that I will never be able to experience that again with someone who loves me enough to want to have a child with me.  In fact, the very opposite has been true for me...Black Luke wasn't able to handle the reality of my children, and didn't want to have any of his own, and HB wanted children, but not with me, since I already had a family.  I feel like no one has been able to love me enough to just accept me the way I come, which is with children, and unable to have any more (as I put it to HB, not without surgical or divine intervention).

I hope that little family that I saw at the park is happy.  I really hope they have a wonderful strong connection, and that they will work on their marriage and strive to stay together even through the hard times.  I pray that they truly appreciate their children at every age, and love and support each other through chicken pox, skinned knees, sibling fights, failed tests, broken pre-teen hearts, acne, hormones and first driving lessons.  I pray that when those kids are all grown up, that mom and dad will look at each other with a smile and say, "Now it's time for us", and that they will appreciate and understand each other all the more for having gone through all of those trials over the years.  I pray for them to celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary surrounded by children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren who adore them.

And I still pray for that for myself...someday.


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