When I married in 1995, I never expected to have to explore the world of dating again. I was so thrilled and anxious to set up house and live the all-american life. I was a sorority girl and I married the fraternity boy. Isn't that the way the yuppie fairy tale begins? It's the way I thought my fairy tale was going to begin, at least. Granted, I did live the fairy tale life for 3 or 4 years after I got married. It was the stress-free life of newly married twenty-somethings. It was so exciting to buy our first new house and decorate it with treasures found in local antique stores and the mall. I was so proud to have a husband.
Sadly, after my first son was born, I started noticing my husband wasn't so thrilled to stay home and act like a husband. Thinking I could solve the problem and knowing that we both loved and adored our baby so much, we became pregnant again 18 months later. Our first born was so perfect and thrilling, we wanted to experience that again and also give him a sibling. During that second pregnancy and the ensuing newborn months, our marriage crumbled into pieces. In January 2002, the stranger who called himself my husband came home to let me know about a certain 19 year old blonde bimbo secretary named Stephanie. She worked at the "office". The "office" meaning the family business where my Daddy so graciously let my husband work as his business partner. Wow....talk about a destroyer of a marriage and bomb dropped on not only me, but my wonderful Mom and Dad.
Cue the image of me sitting in a big 3,000 square foot house with an 8 month old son in my arms and a 36 month old son on my lap. Just the three of us, all alone in an empty, dark and quiet house. I was a stay-at-home mom with no income of my own and a marriage that had fallen apart. The house was the dream house that my husnand and I had just built five months before the big blow-up. The house he thought would keep me in the marriage even after he confessed to "a little fling" while I was pregnant.
I wouldn't want to leave my "perfect all-american life", would I?
Well, the answer is, yes I would.
Money does not buy happiness. You can be married and still be the loneliest person in the world. I know that because that's how I felt. Alone and like I was going crazy. After all, that's what my husband had convinced me of....that I was an overweight, low self-esteem having, jealous wife.
I knew something was going on simply because the bimbo wouldn't look at my newborn son. She was so guilt ridden that she couldn't bring herself to even acknowledge my baby. I don't know many people who ignore the newborn brought to the office, especially when it's the boss's daughter and the other boss's wife. The first time I brought my baby to the office, I felt my heart literally drop to my feet. I knew.
My calm world had turned into a Jerry Speringer episode and I hated divorce. The entire process was horrible. When I look back, I feel as if a black cloud or mist is hanging above every memory made at that time. I hated feeling so tired and worn out every night because I wanted people to believe that I was strong and doing great as a single mom. At night, I would let all of the insecurities eat at me. I would wonder how I had failed at keeping my husbands attention. What would happen to my boys if they were raised by a single mom? Would they grow into confident men?
Fast forward two grueling but very character building years and I was living in my own cute little house with my three-year old and five-year old sons. My Dad had fired my ex-husband and given me his job. I felt like I was finally keeping my head above the water and I wasn't paddling as hard underneath trying to keep from drowning. I had dated some pretty miserable men but it was good practice and preparation for the whole dating experience. I figured out that the club and bar scene wasn't my thing. I wanted to hang out with my little boys. I was jaded about relationships and men in general. The thought that taking care of my boys by myself and the fact that we were all thriving was so empowering. I had decided that being alone wasn't that bad and resigned myself to living alone as a single mom. It wasn't my first choice for myself but it was the plan that had been laid out for my life.
I spent the summer of 2004 concentrating on my sweet little boys and spending time with family and friends. It was a great summer and I was content. I even had a nightly routine which consisted of walking at 7pm with my next door neighbor Lisa and letting the boys ride their bikes alongside us. We met diligently every night to get in a little exercise. One night in August, as we walked in our neighborhood, we passed a dark haired guy with the best tan riding bikes with his family, a blonde wife and little boy and girl. They passed and I made a snide remark.
"What a cute little family."
I had taken a good look at the Dad, thinking he was really handsome.
Why couldn't I find a good-looking guy like that?
The next night, as usual, Lisa and I went outside to walk and I noticed the same dark haired guy jogging with one of my neighbors, a big stocky guy that lived two doors down from my house. When they saw us, they both said "Go!" and began jogging even faster than they had been before seeing us. I thought that was a bit funny but didn't give it any more thought. Fifty feet later, they were actually passing us on the street and I happily greeted them with a simple "Hi!" As they walked by, the dark headed guy didn't acknowledge me at all but his buddy looked me up and down while saying, "How are you?"
I answered, "Good, how about yourself?"
He said, "Good!"
It was the complete once over he gave me that made me feel like we were in high school. I giggled about it with Lisa and when we saw them coming towards us on the other side of the neighborhood, they turned around and went the other way. I actually joked to Lisa that I thought they were going to pass us a note. It was that silly. It was an odd but exciting moment that night because I just knew that the dark headed guy was looking at me and actually might be interested. It was the way he ignored me. Completely obvious.
The next night, my boys went to their Dad's house and I went to the next town to do some grocery shopping. As I walked into the frozen foods section, there stood the dark-haired guy. I thought it was my one chance! It was now or never! I walked up to him, feeling pretty confident about myself.
Me: "Hey, you run in my neighborhood."
DHG: "I do?"
Me: "With the big guy."
DHG: "Oh yeah, that's my buddy Big Dave."
Me: "Well, I just wanted to introduce myself, my name is 'Mrs Hautemama'. And...I said my first name and last name very clearly and slowly so he would definitely hear it correctly.
He told me his name and we parted ways. At least I knew his name, I thought as I walked away. When I got home and put the groceries up, I settled down to watch TV and the phone rang. I answered it and a male voice said,
"Hey, it's 'Mr. Hautemama'. I just met you at the grocery store."
For some reason, which I still can't explain, I said the following in reply,
"So....are you going to admit now that you've been running in my neighborhood to see me?"
I had no idea where that came from, I mean that wasn't me. I'm usually fairly confident and bold, but that was the boldest I'd ever been with a guy.
He then replied,
"OK, I have been. My buddy told me there was a cute single mom that drives a white Volvo that lives two doors down from him. He wanted me to see you and I liked what I saw."
Oh my gosh! I was dying inside. I instantly liked this conversation and my heart was going crazy. That night we talked for seven, you saw that right, SEVEN hours straight. We talked about everything. It was the easiest time I had ever had talking to another person. I loved his voice, his way of expressing himself, everything I had found out about him.
We went on our first date two nights later and we were hooked. From that moment on, we were joined at the hip. We clicked in every way. We had completely different childhoods, his a very sparse upbringing and mine, a fairly blessed and privileged childhood. He was hard-working and determined, as was I. We both believed in working hard to get the things in life we felt we wanted and needed. He had no children, so when he found out about my two boys, he felt it was a blessing and total fate. He had always wanted boys and he instantly had two of them. He was perfect for the boys and I. He went on walks with us and put my youngest on his shoulders when he got too tired to walk anymore. He pushed the bike of my youngest when he said he was too tired to peddle anymore. He fit so perfectly into the role of Dad.
He has been carrying us along as a family now for six years. We dated for five years because we had both experienced a bad marriage and wanted to make sure this was a relationship that would work. All along, we knew it would be a magical marriage, it's probably why we didn't feel the need to hurry. We felt married already.
We've now been married six months and I'm thankful for Mr. Hautemama. He's the perfect Valentine. I thank God everyday that we found each other. I can't wait to make years of memories with my boys and with him. We are a family...the family I always wanted and dreamed of during many of my single mama days.