Saturday, July 19, 2014

Another Chance At Love

When my marriage started to deteriorate before Kendall was born, I thought that was it for me. My one chance at love was coming to an end, and I was destined to be alone for the rest of my life, raising my four children all by myself. That notion became even more real to me when I really did find myself all alone, literally and figuratively, late last year and when I officially filed for divorce in January. 

At that time, I didn't want anybody new in my life. I never thought I would ever find someone again anyway, so what was the point? I threw my all into raising the children alone, trying to seek out any and all supports I could find and learning to adjust to this new lifestyle. 

Sure, I dated here and there just for fun, or had the occasional one night stand just to get those needs met, but I knew nothing serious or loving would ever come from any of those "relationships" with these men. They were either friends I had known for years and that's all we both wanted out of the relationship, or just weren't what I was looking for or wanted in any future relationship. They were simply there to meet whatever needs I had in that moment, and then when those needs were met and satisfied, I moved on.

And then I struck up an online conversation on the popular Facebook copycat website Meet Me with a guy who lived locally and seemed nice enough. Our chatting was short and sweet at first, just about what we did with our lives, what we were looking for on the website if anything, and what we enjoyed doing for fun. We would check in with each other from time to time through out the days as well. Through that time, I came to know that his name was Jeff, he worked for Direct TV as a technician, he had a college degree, and had been married for a year and a half after a 6 year relationship with a college sweetheart. We had that one thing in common, so I definitely felt a little more connected, on a friendship level still, after we shared our marriage and divorce stories.

We continued talking back and forth almost every day online for a month, and then finally made plans to actually meet up in person. We met in person June 8, 2014, at a local ice cream window for creemees and nice conversation. What I expected to be an hour of chit chatting and ice cream turned into a 3 hour conversation full of laughter, fun, and a genuine likeness for one another. We talked about everything from our favorite movies, favorite hobbies, highs and lows of our places of employment, friends and family, children, marriages, favorite foods....literally, I don't think there was a topic we didn't cover that day. 

We continued our online conversations for a few more days after that, and then met up in person again when he came to my home for the first time, and I made him dinner and he stayed over night. 

That was a little over a month ago and we have pretty much been inseparable since then!

We both were careful to take things slowly though. He was just coming out of a 9 month relationship that had evolved into a pretty sticky situation, and of course I had my very good reasons for taking things slowly and not just jumping into anything with him. One thing I definitely didn't want to do was make the mistake of jumping into bed with this person. The fact that he was such a gentleman the day we met and never once tried to "make a move" such as hugging me, kissing me, or even touching me except to brush a huge creepy bug off of my shirt before I saw it and freaked out, showed me that he really was different from all the rest, and that this could be something good and worth taking my time with.

In fact, it was about three weeks before we even shared our first kiss. I loved that we waited for that moment. Of course we slept in the same bed, but we never got intimate until about a month after meeting and getting to know each other. A month may not sound like a long time to some, but after some of the experiences I had with other dates before Jeff, it meant a lot to me that he was truly interested in more than just that one thing and more than just what he saw on the outside. He would have respected my wishes had I wanted to wait longer than that, but it was my choice and I felt comfortable and fine with the decision we made to wait until when we waited. 

We made our relationship "official" on June 22, 2014. We have made it a point to go out for ice cream every Sunday since the day we met on June 8. It's become our cute little ritual that only we know and understand. 

I have never been treated the way Jeff treats me. He is respectful, genuine, hard working, funny, fun to be around, sincere, sweet, loving, polite....I remember wishing for those qualities in a man and in a relationship almost the whole time I was with my ex husband, as sad as that may sound. I wanted the kind of relationship you see in movies like The Notebook. I was beginning to think all of the good guys were snatched up by my friends who gushed about their significant others all over social media and whenever we would get together for a girl's day or night. That is, until I met Jeff. He literally treats me like a princess. He "kidnapped" me for a weekend at his apartment shortly after we started seeing each other and surprised me the next morning by taking me out to breakfast, and then packing a picnic lunch and taking me on a beautiful hike near where he lives. 

One weekend I stayed with him, it was "that time of the month" for me. He went to the store for me and got me Midol, tampons (I had forgotten some at my house), wine, and ice cream and then came home to draw me a nice, hot bubble bath and let me soak in there for as long as I wanted to with my glass of wine in hand. Another morning, he woke me up with breakfast in bed: delicious, huge, fluffy cinnamon roles with icing and mimosas. And last weekend, when I texted him that I had fell and broken my ankle while he was at a family reunion out of state, he left bright and early the next morning to get back to Vermont and deal with some business and then surprised me at my friend's house before noon that day. The whole time I had thought he hadn't even left town yet to come back, but he had been texting my best friend, whom I was with at the time, not to tell me but that he was already back in Vermont. When he walked through the door of my friend's house, I almost burst into tears I was so relieved and happy to see him after the roller coaster weekend I had! 

The things he does and says are just so thoughtful, and I can't believe how lucky I am to be treated so respectfully by a man who just adores me. He constantly tells me I am gorgeous, beautiful, and a "cutie pie," and always tells me how much he loves my personality and how goofy I am with my sense of humor. And that's another thing I love about him. I am such a goofball and am the biggest kid at heart. I love life and enjoy it to it's fullest. I don't care what anyone thinks of how crazy or goofy or funny I am acting, because it's just me and my friends love me for that. And best of all, he loves me for all of that too, instead of judging me for it or making fun of me like my ex husband did or other people did. 

I had a feeling after spending so much time with him that I was going to love him. But I was very conscious of that feeling and very conscious of not letting it happen too fast into the relationship. Friends that I talked to told me to let my heart feel what it wanted to feel, to stop being afraid that things were going to be like they were with Frank, to remember that Jeff isn't Frank and that it would be okay for me to feel these feelings again for someone new.

I talked to my best friend about it a lot before finally realizing that I love Jeff. I let my heart go off the tracks and feel it. I let my heart open up to the prospect of love all over again, despite what I had been through in the past, recent or distant. On the 4th of July, I told Jeff that I love him. I didn't tell him because I expected him to say it back or feel the same thing, I just told him because I was feeling that feeling, and wanted to share it with him rather than keep it secret or bottled up inside. His response was positive and well received, and things have been going better than ever. He hasn't met my children yet, but he will in another month or two. They do know about him though, as I have started telling them about him and about our friendship leading to the current relationship we now share. It's important to me that they understand relationships like ours start as friendships, move on to some dating, and then evolve into a serious "official" relationship, so they all understand the proper series of events in these types of relationships and life experiences.

I have no doubt he will be a positive role model in the children's lives, without stepping over any boundaries of mine or Frank's as we continue to work on our co-parenting relationship now and in the future.

Kendall is ONE!

I just realized I never updated from Kendall's first birthday! How could I have forgotten that?!

It doesn't seem possible that a little over a year ago this was me and our sweet angel...

And now look at us!

Kendall is one of the funniest, most spirited babies I have ever met! She has a heart of gold, and the sweetest, angelic personality. She loves to laugh and smile at everyone and everything; she is a social butterfly! She is cute and cuddly, yet wild and crazy all at the same time!

She loves to just play and have fun! She will follow her brothers and sister all around wherever they are, always curious what they are doing and what they are playing with and wanting to be a part of everything they do. 

She took her first steps just a week or so after she turned 1, and though she isn't walking all over the place yet still, she takes steps here and there when she feels daring enough. 

She is getting quite the vocabulary down. So far she can say: mama, dada, Liza (her Godmother), more, ball, baby, eat, hi, and some other babbles we haven't quite been able to decipher or figure out yet. 

She is also a fan of being slightly bossy...

One of her favorite past times is eating:

She eats three meals a day of regular table food, along with a snack or two throughout the day. She hasn't had a pacifier since she was about 5 or 6 months old, and is officially all done with bottles and formula too, and now only gets milk in a big girl sippy cup. My baby is really growing up! 

On her birthday we had a big party planned for her. It was a beautiful day out, which worked perfectly for us since we were having a BBQ for her party and planned on letting the other kids at the party get a little wet in some water play.

In case you couldn't tell from the photos and decorations, we had a pink and black zebra print theme going on. ;)

Kendall was feeling a little under the weather the day of her birthday, but she was such a trooper and hung in there throughout the festivities!

She didn't exactly dig in to her cake like we all were hoping she would, but she got a good amount of messy-ness on her and still enjoyed it, so it was still worth the money spent on the cake and the effort put into the party itself.

After everyone enjoyed some cake, it was time for Kendall to open up her presents!

She got some fun new beach and sand toys, a few adorable new outfits, a new pair of very fashionable sandles, and other goodies. 

The other kids at the party, including her big brothers and big sister, all had a blast splashing around in the pool and playing in the sandbox.

Perhaps one of the best parts of the day was that my birth father was able to attend the party, and this was his first time meeting his only grandchildren.

Once the party started winding down, Kendall decided to go have some fun of her own apart from the birthday party...

Yes, in case you are wondering, she did get in that dirty fun pool water. She lifted her leg right up over the edge, tutu and all, and sat right down in it! It was very warm water from sitting in the sun and being played in all day, and she loved every second of it. 

It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful, amazing, fun, day full of love and celebrating this sweet, angelic, amazing little girl!