Swiping Right

A month or so ago – a few months into my single status – I was evaluating my life and past relationships…as I often do. I am completely content with my family dynamic as is. And I want it to stay that way. I/we need it to stay that way. But I know that I like companionship. That is how I am wired.

I was reflecting on my “single life” back just after Brayden’s father passed (roughly 8 years ago). After about a year or so of healing, I started dating. On-line dating. It was a shit show. And that is putting it mildly. I was looking for people outside my circle and I was looking for love (insert eye-roll). Needless to say, I did not find it. What I did find was dates…and when I pluralize this, I am doing so meaning several different people. Not several dates with one person. With two exceptions. I think I made it to two or three dates with “Mr. Disney” (yes, I nicknamed them all). If you read this Mr. Disney, correct me if I am wrong about that number. He, long after our date(s), did end up moving down to Florida, getting a job at Disney World and proposed to his wife in front of Cinderella’s castle!!! I dubbed him properly…and that’s a little too Disney in a mate for my liking. I wish him the best! We are still friends. As I am with “The Hawaii Guy”. We actually made it to more than one or two dates…maybe five or so? I finally had to ask him to give me our first kiss goodbye on what would be our next-to-last date in the parking lot of the restaurant…as he was NEVER going to make the first move!! Why his nickname? On what would be our last date, he finally suggested that we do something other than just meet for a drink and a bite at a local restaurant after he got out out of work (finally, yay!!!). He lived in or around Manchester, I think, and it was about an hour long date each time before he headed home right after. He suggested maybe a walk, so we headed to Gonic Trails for a stroll. Which would leave him half way into the hike letting me know he had a work trip to Hawaii coming up and he had decided he was bringing his WIFE!!! Yes, wife. They were living separately for a long time, but never signed papers….and he felt guilty that in their nearly twenty years together he never took her on a nice vacation because he was too busy working. Nice time to be a good husband (insert another eye-roll). So, we spent the time walking out of the trails with me explaining to Mr. Hawaii that if there is room for a vacation with a wife in his life, there is no room for One Date Wendy. Yes, I earned my own nickname, too.

Then there was the Prius Guy, the Too Many Martinis Guy, the Comma Guy, the T-Rex Guy (mean…but his arms couldn’t reach around me for a hug…pre-covid…don’t fret). And countless others including ones that never even made it to the One Date because, gentleman, girls don’t want dick pics. Not this one anyway. (Sorry Mom and Dad…and kids…it happens).

Sooooo….. After some thinking and discussing with a few close to me recently, we thought…how fun would it be to go on some pre-determined disaster dates from an online connections…and write about them? I am not looking for love this time. Keep that L word away from me! I just wanted F. Fun, kids, get your heads outta the gutter….

First it was POF. Plenty of Fish. I crafted my clever little profile…found some pics of mine that were unfiltered…except one cartoonish pic I thought was cute…took a few “real” selfies and posted.

“Testing the water”

Me

Newly single

Looking for friendship and company for a date(s)

Four kids, all grown but one

Two dogs

Allergic to cats

Tries to be on time… I fail a lot

Always finds the silver lining

Has baggage

Tries to be healthy… I still fail a lot

I dish it out, and can take it

Independent… sometimes to a fault

My family is my everything

You

Not looking for a heavy relationship right now

Understands a single mom’s responsibilities 

Likes dogs

Are smart and well spoken, calm and kind

Respects and maintains your health

Can be respectfully sarcastic

Have your life on track and are independent 

Take care of and are involved with your children

Wendy via POF

Clearly the ratio of men to women is way off. I definitely had the upper hand. I have since learned that the actual ratio is 7-10:1 in my favor depending on the site! My inbox was flooded immediately. About a week later I expanded my quest for a dinner date and blog material to Tinder. Yes, I know the stigma of this app…but I made it clear in my profile (which I have since learned a lot don’t bother to read) that a “hook-up” was not my intent. The pool here is FAR better than that on POF…if anyone wants to know.

And an even better pool is that of Facebook. For those of you that don’t know, Facebook has a dating app connected to your page that will not introduce you to people on your friends list. It will, however, show mutual friends. You’re welcome.

All that being said, I have been on several dates this time around, from all platforms with a different mindset than years gone by. I am no longer disappointed on my way home (except once…I was pissed! But after a few apologies and days, I let it, and him, go). Sometimes it was nice, sometimes very nice, sometimes I was just amused. Please know that I am upfront with everyone that there is a fortress around my home and family. These are just dates for a a bite, drink and conversation…and a potential blog post. And, hopefully, some chemistry, so we can do it again. This time around there has been Short Stuff, Captain Quiet Time, the Local Contractor, the Married One….the Other Married One (You can’t make this shit up), and Ancient Greece. Not to mention a good amount of fun conversations that still linger on right now for a possible future meeting. Some I had to block. In doing this type of dating, you have to be open to the idea that you will meet all kinds of people. Most are respectful. Some are not. One conversation that was tough had the guy belittling me and my photos claiming I was misrepresenting myself (before even meeting me). He was criticizing my weight, my filters (which I had none )…crazy mo-fo…and when I think about it even now, it still rattles me a bit. He was so mean. I hate to think what would happen if he gets his hands on a lady with already low self-esteem…that will be a whole separate blog. I deleted and moved on…knowing some people are just assholes.

Moving forward, I believe I have decided, along with continuing this journey, I will do a more detailed account of each date…what led up to it and what actually transpired. This being encouraged by loved ones (who might want to refrain from reading!!). I would do this by individual blog posts…on another site…anonymously. So, that being said, if you see an account out there in the blogging world detailing these types of events…it might just be me…or not. You decide.

Thank you, my few people, that have been taking (and encouraging) this ride with me! Buckle up for more…

My Purpose

I have grown into believing that in every situation there is a lesson…and all that happens to us has a purpose.  Actually, if I think back…maybe I am just wired like that. I do distinctively recall a lot of eye rolling from my best friend through high school on when I would sputter “everything happens for a reason” whenever something adverse happened to her.  It drove her crazy!  Maybe it’s that those of us believing in this theory are just eternal optimists that are spinning each situation into having a silver lining to make ourselves feel better…but either way, it works for me that bad things don’t just happen for no reason at all.  I get to learn and evolve as I go.

Well, when someone you love dies it makes you question this theory.  Especially when it is someone who hasn’t lived a full life yet.  Someone who has children…and small ones at that.  Someone who was loved by all and fought as hard as he could and that made no difference.  He went through a hell of a year fighting and being sick for no difference in outcome than if he didn’t fight at all and just gave up.  He is gone.  It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.  He had plans, WE had plans.

This isn’t an “Everything happens for a reason” situation here.  If that was said to me a month ago…you’d get far more than an eye roll!!  However, I am beginning to look at things a bit differently as time marches on and I get further into the healing process.

I am beginning to believe that we all weren’t meant to be on this earth for 90 or 100 years.  I believe we all have a purpose…some have many purposes. Babies right through to those living 100+ years. When we are taken…our purpose(s) were served.  I’m sure Matt, over his 38 years and especially in his last year, inspired, motivated, healed, loved and impacted many.  I can’t say that there was a reason for him dying, but I can certainly say there was a reason for him living.

So many said to me over the year I was with Matt that I was an angel sent to him and then even more so just after he passed.  It made me uncomfortable because I wasn’t with him to be a saint, out of pity or for whatever reason some people thought (it was nastily said to me by a certain someone after he passed that I liked the “show” of being with Matt!!  I say prayers for that person!!).  I actually fell in love with him and he helped me more than I could have ever imagined in my own grieving process at the time.  Odd that I am left in albeit another time of grief by the one who helped me heal!

I, now that I am moving through my stages of grief and through starting a new relationship, am actually embracing being told that I was his angel.  That was MY purpose for him.  It wasn’t a cruel twist of the universe…as I first felt when he died…to give me love, healing and hope and then snatch it away like a greedy crook.  I look back and know how many times alone we spent cracking each other up.  Rides to the hospital flew by and I swear people thought we were nuts at the laughing and goofing off in the waiting rooms when everyone there was in the midst of a dire situation.  I brought him smiles, laughter and love.  And he brought me the same.  He was my angel, too.  My tears of grief that would arrive in those alone times (especially in the car!) lessened and finally disappeared because of him. The pain in my chest that I held for so long that I didn’t even realize was there…was replaced by feelings of love from and for him.  The grief never goes away, but Matt helped me live happily with it there.  A purpose he had was to help heal me and show me I was able to love again.

It’s nearing five months since he’s been gone.  I am lucky enough, and unlucky enough, to have met someone new to care for so soon.  Grief and a new partner has it’s own set of challenges for both parties.  But I see when starting a relationship without a sickness…which is all I have really known in the past decade…I was missing out on so much…even though I didn’t realize it then.   I didn’t feel like it was lacking anything…it was perfect for what it was at the time.  We were fulfilling a purpose for each other.  Just as this new man in my life is in a role of helping me heal, he is serving a purpose.  I am not sure if this is his only purpose with me and we will part ways tomorrow or next month or next year…or never…or how I am helping him, but he is making me smile and drying my tears (like literally drying them…hence the “unlucky enough” said previously).

purpose.PNG

I am now taking comfort in all the roles people past and present have played in my life.  I am embracing all the lessons, love and healing and trying to let that take precedence over what’s been lost and gone wrong.  Eye roll all you want.

My Wish

Last night at work I was propositioned by a patron.  Not in the way that it sounds, but she had a request of me.  I am not sure what initiated the question, why she wants to know or why she chose me to ask.

This customer is one of my many favorites that comes into the restaurant.  She is a very particular woman. She likes what she likes, how she likes it.  I know the glass she prefers, when to refill her and that she likes me to pack her leftovers for her.  She makes sure she tells me just how much she appreciates my service and me as a person.  She compliments me endlessly while I work.  As I go about my duties I like to observe her and her relationship with her life partner, another woman I really like.  The respect they show for each other is heartwarming.  Our conversations are always insightful.  About the restaurant business and occasionally personal life.

“What is your wish for your children?” was her question.

She didn’t need me to answer it right then…she asked me to write it down and I am to share it with her at a later date.  She asked me not to think of the general “world peace” and “end hunger” type of wish…but what I wanted for each of the children individually.  She guessed that it would vary from child to child based on their personalities…and she was right.

I shared with her that I thought it was ironic that “My Wish” was the song I chose for the Mother/Son dance at my eldest’s wedding 2 years ago.  I told her to listen to those words…and that would say it all. But after I got to thinking, I realized that I had more specific wishes for each of them…all very different.

Here they are my special hat wearing, whiskey drinking, fancy glass wielding, song singing, thought provoking conversationalist.

For James, now 23. My wish for him is that he continue to be the God fearing man that he has grown into.  That he continues to be the husband every girl deserves. That he continues to be the adoring and smitten Daddy with just the right amount of faith, love, worry and keeping-it-real to raise an amazing daughter.  See, my wishes seem to have come true with this man.  I couldn’t have hand picked a better wife for him or to be the mother of his child.  I couldn’t be more proud of how he takes care of his family (Insert a shout out to my Dad for being a wonderful role model in that department!). My future wish is for him is continued love between him and his wife and that they grow together through the years and not apart.  To always have that friend by his side loving him, supporting him and encouraging him to be a just little bit better than he was the day before.

DJ mountain

For DJ, now 16.  In this day and age it is very scary to have a teenager.  The demons that are out there and are readily available to our children is frightening.  My wish for DJ is that he sees and recognizes a bad path when it’s in front of him and turns and chooses one that is best for him.  I wish that on that path he gains self confidence in himself and recognizes what his talents and strengths are and uses them to make his living in adulthood.  That he understands the importance of putting in hard work and the benefits you reap because of it.  Mainly pride and self worth. That he deletes “can’t” and “won’t” from his vocabulary and that he believes in himself enough to know that he is as capable of just about anything. My wish is for him not to let fear deter him from pursuing anything, but for him to feel the accomplishment of pushing through it…whether it be asking a girl out or going for a promotion or moving to a faraway land. My wish is for him to always respect the female he will be with.  To know her boundaries and to make sure she respects his.  For him to fall madly and deeply and dizzily in love.

Mackenzie hike

For Mackenzie, now 13. This is a tough age for a girl. Tween and teen girls, well, can be pure evil.  This is a time that self esteem dictates a lot of decision making.  My wish for her now is that she does not underestimate her self worth. That she not only surrounds herself with people that build her up, but she do the same for those she’s near.  A few small words can make or break someone, my hope is that she understands this.  My wish is that she respect her body and her mind and to not let anyone touch either one in a way she does not want or like. That she listen to her inner voice and let that guide her through her teen years and not be swayed by peers or others that she may encounter that will try and violate any part of her being. My wish is that she learn to enjoy where she is and what she has while still maintaining that healthy thirst for better or more.  That she continues to use the tools she is learning through her competitive cheer of hard work and determination and how it pays off and let it carry on into all areas of her life.  That when she’s grown she finds a man to treat her like she truly deserves, that he loves her and dotes on her and respects her and she does the same for him, both while never taking it for granted.

Bray mountain

For Brayden, now 4. Only having four years to get to know Bray…his personality traits aren’t as well defined as the others, so my wishes for him aren’t as exact.  My wish is that the energy he has gets channeled into positive outlets as he grows.  That he puts it on the field or court or gym or wherever he feels he is comfortable.  My wish is that nothing touches his kind nature to harden him.  My wish is that his bright little mind continues to flourish and that he keeps his quest for knowing everything about anything going.  My wish is that he continues to get loved on by his older siblings and they remain a constant in his life as he trails them into adulthood.  That he not feel a void of having his Daddy gone, but to be reminded by those that knew and loved him of all his positive qualities and funny stories.  That alcohol and drugs do not play any role in his life.  My wish is that he is guided by positive male role models along the way, that he is shown how to respect himself and others.  Not just how I show him, but how a man is to do it.  How to provide and be present for his family.  That he finds and holds onto love.

four

For all of my children.  Show compassion and respect, even when it’s not deserved. Own your mistakes. Never show up to a gathering empty handed. Hygiene is mandatory. Keep laughter in your life. And don’t ever forget your Mom loves you with everything that she is, you are her world…she is there for you no matter what.  She has been adoring you since the first second she saw you.  And she always will.

My realization in writing this blog today and answering my friend’s question is that it took a bit of soul searching to write.  What did I wish that I had for myself at those ages…what would’ve bettered me…kept me safer…protected me from harm.   What was it that did impact me in a positive way.  It was a nice way to reflect and to maybe help me choose some actions or words to share with my kids along the way to help the wishes I have for them come true.

Thanks K.

When the going gets tough….even the tough want to say screw it.

pebble photoWhen the going gets tough....even the tough want to say screw it.

When the going gets tough….even the tough want to say screw it. And get pissy. And complain. And yell. And cry. And then realize we are not doing anybody any good. Not ourselves or those around us.

I know heartache. I know being completely broken and not even remembering how to tie a shoe. I am not there like that now, thankfully. However, sometimes life comes at you in so many directions you feel overwhelmed, and it’s hard to even breathe. “Leave me the hell alone” is what you want to say to some. And “Come here and show me you freaking care” is what you want to say to others. Stumbling over the pebbles, so to say.

As I was sitting in my own little pity party funk tonight, the three under my roof all came to me separately and showed me in their own way to snap out of it. Through drawings, bath time play and through mere comic relief. I’m thankful I have them and thankful I have those in my life reminding me to appreciate these times.

When the going gets tough…Here I go. I’ve got a mountain to climb. Thanks to those that help me pass all the pebbles.

“How do you have time to do everything?”

“I don’t”.

I just had a long blog typed and edited and re-edited it. I just erased it all. It’s as simple as this…

I don’t have time to do everything…but when I go to bed what sits heaviest with me is “are my kids happy? Did I do what I needed to for them? Did I do a little more than that for them?”

I wonder if they see me as a failure or a Mom they are proud of. The rest of my family, my friends, my boss, my co-workers…I worry about pleasing them, too. But at the end of the day…My kids are what rank on my “pleasing” meter. And when I say pleasing, I mean bring them joy in some manner. That comes in many different forms.

As I was putting the finishing touches on my silly, food-colored shamrock on shepherd’s pie for dinner tomorrow night, I was wondering why I do that. I guess it’s my little way of saying “I love you guys” and that they are worth putting a little extra effort into to seeing a smile on their (rolling their eyes) faces.

I don’t have time for everything…but there are some special people in my life worth going the extra mile for.

Signed,
The Mom with laundry to do, dishes in the sink, trash that wasn’t taken to the curb last Thursday…shall I go on?

“Excuse me, but do you know who my husband is?!”

Mildly embarrassed, I call down to the hotel desk operator.  I have sweat on my brow due to running from one bathroom to the next, each on separate floors (while cursing under my breath).  All I want to do is get in the shower so we can check out and start our day of fun around the resort.

“Hello?”

“Hi there, this is an odd question…but how the hell do you turn on the shower??!!  I just can’t figure it out!!”

“Mrs. Auger, that is not an odd question.  We get asked that all the time.” (She proceeds to tell me as I squirm a little due to the “Mrs.” reference)

“Thank you very much!”

“Mrs. Auger, I wanted to ask you, are you traveling with your husband this vacation?”

“Ummm….No?  I am here with three of my children.”

“Oh! That sounds like fun! Well, next time you are here with your husband, we would love to show you around the resort!” said a little too cheery for my liking at this point.

“Excuse me, but do you know who my husband is?!” said probably a little too dryly.

“No, I don’t!” she said a little too enthusiastically.  I am thinking she was half expecting a movie star or prominent political figure.

“Well, neither do I.  Maybe when I am here next time you could introduce me to him?”

Brief awkward silence.

“Ummm…Mrs….Ms. Auger, you are more than welcome to join the tour with us today if you’d like?”

“No, but thanks.  Have a nice day.”

Click.

I am curious to know the conversation that ensued in the hotel lobby after my phone call.  Poor girl…in their defense…I WAS the only single parent there vacationing with my kids.  All pretty much two parent-two kid families…which is a nice ratio, to be honest, when vacationing.  I just like to keep it interesting.  For me AND the staff.