I had dinner the
other night with a friend. Her boyfriend and a buddy of his joined us, each traveling
from out of town. This spare man had a girlfriend, so this wasn’t a double date,
but I should probably acknowledge how attractive he was. He also excitedly held
and played with my daughter (my constant sidekick in life) while sitting next to
me flashing smiles and engaging in the kind of adult conversations I haven’t
had with many men since becoming a mother.
Over the course
of that meal, I could almost picture what it would be like to begin dating
I never planned
to become a single mom. Not until I found out I was losing my own ability to
have children. With that one medical diagnosis, my entire world flipped off its
axis, and my perception of what I could and could not handle became drastically
altered. Before that, though, I would have called you crazy if you had told me
I would one day be raising an infant on my own.
Now, I am part
of a growing demographic of women: single mothers by choice. Experiencing
infertility while still young and unmarried changed everything for me. It was a
devastating series of events that eventually led me directly to my daughter—the rainbow at the end of a very long storm. I adopted her as a newborn, taking
on the dirty diapers and late night feedings as a party of one. And never once
have I regretted that decision.
I can even tell
you that there have absolutely been benefits to this whole single mother by
choice thing. I don‘t have to consult with anyone in my parenting decisions,
and I can devote myself completely to my daughter without having to factor another
person in. I understand why it is that some marriages struggle when a baby is
introduced. Most days I can’t imagine having much energy for anyone besides
myself and her. The first three months, especially, I’m not sure I could have
even acknowledged an additional person in our lives. She was that all-consuming. From the very start, though, it worked being just the two of us. It is only ever very rarely that I
find myself wishing I had help.
The problem is I have no idea where to begin.
I haven’t been dating a whole lot since bringing my little girl home. I count
myself as lucky most days if I manage to get two meals and a shower in for
myself. It’s difficult now to picture making time for all that goes into
searching for love, and I don’t really like the idea of regularly dropping her
with a babysitter so that I could conduct that search.
Still ... watching
a handsome man coo at her at the dinner table, allowing me to eat unencumbered
while she explored his chin stubble with her fingers? I think it might have
reignited something in me—a desire I haven’t felt in a while, after a dry
spell which has lasted longer than I care to admit.
Perhaps I am
ready to start dating, to find the man who is right not just for me, but also
After all, the
plan was never to be a single mother. Not really, anyway. I always wanted it
all: the man, the baby, the picket fence. And while I can proudly proclaim that
we will be just fine if it is only ever she and I, there is also this part of
me that wants the complete picture for her as much as I want it for myself.
The problem is I have no idea where to begin. I swear I used to be good at the whole dating
thing, but that was before I acquired my little buddy. Now, I’m not even sure
what the search for Mr. Right should look like.
I just know
that I don’t hate the idea of finding him.