But there was really nothing I could do about it, so I waited. And waited. And waited. I got glasses. I turned 10. Some girls in my class started wearing training bras! I didn't even have pierced ears! And then, the summer between fifth and sixth grades, I spent my vacation with my extended family in Kansas. My mom and I flew out together, but Mom went back to Oregon after a week or so, leaving me under the watchful eye of her sister to spend a few weeks fighting the oppressive heat and humidity by splashing in the community pool with my cousins.
One of my cousins is just about a year older than me. She must have already had her ears pierced by then, and I must have whined about how unfair it was. My aunt was actually quite sympathetic, declaring that my mom was being ridiculous by making me wait until I was sixteen. In fact, she thought my mom was being so ridiculous that she hatched a plan. One day, my aunt loaded us kids into the car and drove us to the mall, where I got my ears pierced at the jewelry store. I was not the bravest kid, especially when it came to the idea of physical pain. I still remember sitting in the high stool next to a glass-topped jewelry case, my heart racing, waiting for the gold stud earring to pop through my ear. I remember the pinch, and the sting. And I remember feeling so grown-up. Afterwards, we all got to browse in the mall; I bought a little lavender purse with a unicorn silkscreened on the outside pocket.
I'm not a big jewelry person, never have been. When I joined the Peace Corps, I put in a pair of small, silver hoops that I only changed out for special occasions. Somewhere along the line, those got lost and eventually, around when the twins were born, I stopped wearing earrings at all. My body is good at healing, and the holes closed right up.
I have been thinking about getting my ears repierced for a while now. When I was out and about at the mall with my mom a few days ago, I finally did it. We went to Claire's Accessories, and a girl who was probably barely sixteen herself did the job. Afterwards, I got a little pink handle bag emblazoned with, "I GOT MY EARS PIERCED TODAY!" filled with cleaning solution and care instructions. I carried the bag with pride and felt like the eight-year-old me who had longed to be able to decide for herself when to get her first earrings.
The repierced ears are just a piece of the bigger picture. I've been feeling girly lately, very unlike me. I'm sure it's the dating. I think more about what I wear. I've had my legs waxed and gotten a manicure and pedicure. I went clothes shopping with my mom. Still need to do something about the underwear . . .
So, about the dating. I'm seeing Mr. Coffee for Date #5 on Friday night. Not sure if we're going out to dinner of if he's coming to my place for dinner—it's my turn to cook for him.
The beginning of a relationship is so intense. Part of me feels like if he never calls me again, I won't care. Part of me knows that's absolutely not true, that there's a piece of me that's already invested enough that I would be quite hurt if he just suddenly went dark.
Part of me wonders about all the travel he does and if that's ultimately OK for me were this to get serious. He loves his job, which I think is great. But if—IF—this got serious, I'm not sure it would work for me that he's gone at least 50% of the time, and that when he's here is work schedule is hectic. Plus he spends a lot of time with his daughters, which is wonderful, but time is finite and he has a lot of things on his plate. I can handle that. But again IF things were to get serious, would I be OK with him being in and out of Maddie and Riley's lives?
I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I do think I need to give this some consideration. Maddie and Riley are two. They have a sweet obsession with men, which I feel stems from the fact that they don't know many adult men, and they find them fascinating. If I'm seriously involved with someone, I want that person to be a part of the twins' lives; my life and the twins' lives are so tied that I can only keep that separation going for so long.
On one hand, at this age, the twins are very accepting of our large and diverse group of friends. We have friends that we see very regularly and friends we only see every once in a while. Maddie and Riley enjoy seeing them all and have a good memory for all of them. They are constantly asking to see this person or that person. So in a casual way, Mr. Coffee could, at this point, come and go and it would be just fine if they saw him every couple of weeks.
But again, if it were to get serious, and we were dating exclusively, and he were to take a more parental role, would it be OK with me that he's gone so much? Maddie and Riley already lost a dad. If there is going to be another father figure in their lives, I want it to be someone who can really be there for them and be really committed to them.
Again, I know I'm getting ahead of myself. And I know that plenty of families are in situations where one parent travels a lot for work, or is in the military and spends long periods of time overseas, or what have you. I guess I'm curious as to how this works for everyone. Do any of you travel a lot for work or have traveling spouses? What's it like?
For now, I'm just looking forward to Date #5 and trying to keep my free-range mind focused on the now. Must think of something good to cook for dinner if we go with that option. I have a great sake-steamed sea bass recipe that I might need to break out. Haven't had that in a while. Fast, easy delicious. Could be a winner . . .