24 September 2008

How old am I again? Eight? PLUS: Some Musings on Dating

I started asking my mom if I could get my ears pierced sometime in early grade school. The answer was an unequivocal "NO. Not until you're sixteen." Sixteen?! When you're seven, you feel like you're never going to be sixteen ever. You can't wrap your mind around sixteen. Sixteen is double digits. Sixteen is high school. Sixteen is another lifetime. Sixteen is a very unsatisfactory answer to a perfectly reasonable question.

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 . . .


Klynn said...

I got my ears pierced a second time on New Year's Eve 2006/2007. I felt so badass and edgy. Yeah. Well, at least now I can wear both pairs of earrings that Bob has bought me over the years at the same time. And I do, almost every day.

As far as Mr. Coffee and his level of presence in your life (and eventually the twins' - if things progress)...I am a big proponent of communication. Just put it out there. Tell him of your concerns. Decide where your deal-breaker limits are and discuss them. Better to get it all out in the open now than when the twins get to know him and love him.

edie & ella said...

With all the kissing that took place on the last date.......ya better opt for something that tastes good cold!!!! SAM

tropicalg77 said...

Funny how the little things can make you realize the woman you are on the inside, and bring it all out.

For me, I am divorced, I share(i hate this word) my children 50/50 with my husband.

I also have begun a nice relationship with a man that travels most of the time. My kids are 6 and 3, and they love J, talk about him all the time, and look forward to seeing him when he gets back from his trips.

I think a big difference, is that date boy hasn't been permanent in your life, so right off the bat, the kiddos will no nothing different than his travel schedule.

The fact that he has to leave isn't as brutal as someone that has never left before and is suddenly gone for long periods of time.

I know it is hard to analyze a relationship that is so new, but I do the same thing, because you know what? What if's happen sooner or later.

Also as two responsible adults, its ok to talk about theoretical situations.

LauraC said...

My husband travels for work 1-4 days a week, not much as Mr Coffee, but he's gone a good amount. I actually really like that he travels. I don't like being away from him and I hate that he misses the time away from the kids, but there are definite bonuses to having alone time.

* He and I get some space from each other. I look forward to seeing him after he's been gone.
* I get alone time with the kids.
* I plan my weeks so I hang out with my friends when he's gone. They come over or I get a sitter and go out.
* Since he's gone frequently, when he is home we focus a lot of attention on time as a family. When he's gone, I try to get as much done as possible (pay bills, errands, talk on phone) that frees time for the family.

I think with the right person, you can make a situation work. We've always said we will take it one month at a time. For now, it works for our family so he keeps traveling. As soon as we feel like someone is getting shortchanged, we'll discuss it again.

Plus the frequent flier miles and hotel points come in super handy!

I think situations can change but people can not, so I would vote to go for the guy!

lizzie said...

My husband doesn't travel, but he is an OB/gyn with a VERY busy practice. There is no rhyme or reason to his hours. Somedays he's home at 5:30 and sometimes he won't see the kids for 2 days (we have a 2 year old and a 10 month old). Honestly the kids deal with it better than I do because that's all they know. The fact that we don't always eat dinner together or Daddy's not always home by bedtime was something I had to get used to (not how I pictured things for my kiddos). I've come to terms with it and now find that it's my "job" to make this ok for our kids. For example on the nights he's not coming home we draw/write about what we did and put the pics in our "Daddy Box". When he gets home he and the boys cuddle up on the couch and read about what Daddy missed. It's a routine that our 2 year old finds comforting. I know that our household will never function in a typical way. My husband's hours will always be crazy and I will always do the majority of the parenting. I'm learning as we go that although this situation is less than ideal it works for us. Our boys feel loved and safe. They see 2 parents that love each other very much and support each other. They also see people working together to make a family. I think all parents want those things for their kids and that we all go about it in a different way.

Anonymous said...

I've traveled a ton for more than a decade (been married for five years).

For the most part what I do on any given random Tuesday evening doesn't involve a ton quality time so I don't feel that it's been a huge problem. On the upside weekends are GOLDEN.

LoBot said...

I'd suggest not basing your judgment of his level of commitment to Maddie and Riley on how much time his job takes him away from them, but on how he spends the time that he DOES have to spend with them. Interpreting his not choosing to quit his job as lack of commitment to your kids wouldn't really be a fair approach.

Which is not to say that you can't decide that you're not interested in someone who won't be coming home every night for dinner with them. That's completely your decision.

Out of curiosity, does he read your blog? Does he know about it?

lct said...

What did you mom say when you came home from your aunt's that summer with ears pierced years before you were supposed to have it done?

Michelle said...

My husband has been traveling heavily since my daughter was 6 months old. She's now 3.5. He's gone 90% of the time (including weekends)during his busy season and about 50% of the time during his "slow" season.

I have to say, I hate it. The "re-entry" is very hard, especially since he is often gone for 9 days then home for 2 then gone again for 8, etc. Its hard to get used to being a family after being on our own. Then its hard for the first couple days after he leaves, before we get back into our new rhythm.

I've arranged my life so I can handle all childcare and all the house stuff, because I can never expect him to be there. My career has suffered the most -- I've cut back my hours and taken a much less responsible position. I can't work late or take a business trip without making it a huge production. You may not be worried about this now, but it could limit your options in the future.

That said, my daughter really doesnt care because its all she has known. She is very attached to me and definitely does not see her father as an equal caregiver -- he's more like another relative to her.

I think part of my problem is that I had always thought we would be equal partners in child raising as well as in income-earning-- and now we are not. So I think you need to be up front about your expectations, and find out what Mr. Coffee's are.

Giovanna Diaries said...

Ummmm, I got my ears pierced at 16...got in trouble and forced to take them out. Then I got them again a year later. Dad caught me again...had to take them out.
I think I was 19 on the verge of 20 before I got them done and wasn't forced to take them out.
My dad was super strict. He didn't like make up, jewelry and nail polish. I didn't wear dark nail polish until I was engaged to be married! And now, I don't know what the big fuss was. I wear the same studs everyday and rarely have polish on my hands. Go figure. Now that I can, I don't.

Tiffany said...

I had to wait way toooo long to get my ears pierced too. When it finally happened I got pissed off because a month or so later she let my younger sister get hers pierced. If I had to wait she had to wait to.

I did the same thing and let them grow over - I actually could not wear earrings on my wedding day. I finally got them re-pierced a couple of years ago. I don't change them much but I always like to have a pair in.

If I was dating again you can better believe I would be getting my hair highlighted, nails and toes done, wearing makeup, etc...

Anonymous said...

My husband doesn't travel, but due to work commitments (he's a police sergeant) he is gone a ton. Truthfully, I kind of like it. We have three kids, and this is all they know,Mommy takes car of the mundane stuff (homework, etc.) but daddy helps out with sports and is there for the fun stuff (as much as possible). I like my alone time, and I am in such a groove with the day to day stuff that when he is home unexpectedly it throws me off. I also plan fun stuff when he's gone weekends to make it easier. The part I like most is the chance to really miss him and enjoy him so much when he's here. We've been together 16 years, and we do best when we get some space.

A Super Girl said...

I've been reading for awhile, and have loved watching you get to know Mr. Coffee.

My comments may not mean much, as I'm coming on the other end of the spectrum...dating someone exclusively, but no children involved, no former marriages, etc.

However, my boyfriend travels 5 days out of the week. There's also times he may work on the weekends. At first I had a problem with this. Now, a year into it, I really don't mind it. As many of your other commenters have said, I get time for my own things and my friends and then I devote my weekends to him/us. Yeah, sometimes I wish he was around on a weeknight, but I guess I've just gotten used to it.

I have told him that if we were to get married, there would be a more serious discussion about children as I don't know how I feel about being the main parent with this situation. So I understand your concerns there, but I think when the time is right, you'll be able to bring those concerns up and have an honest conversation. You might be pleasantly surprised at his response because it sounds like he's a great guy!

Good luck on Date 5, wooo!

Rose said...

My husband doesn't travel for work, however he works long hours and is away from the house lots, leaving me to do the primary parenting and all the household finances, housework and marketing. In other words most of the work. Our 3 children go wild when Daddy gets home, primary because I've always made a big deal of the importance of Daddy time. However, that said, I'm also a SAHM so to me this is MY job, so I don't mind.

Do I think that this kind of relationship can work for you? Yes, if he's the right person for you. It would be all Maddie and Riley will have known and they certainly sound like they are well adjusted children. You would have to be okay with the time committments he has though. And if you are a working mom are you going to be okay with him being gone so much? Only you can decide...

By the way, I'm really enjoying your posting on this relationship. Congrats!

grekrs said...

I don't have any experience with the travelling spouse/significant other, but I do have a massive craving for sake steamed sea bass if you have the time to share the recipe!

Crash Course Widow said...

I'm a lot more girly now than I was before Charley died. Jewelry, shoes, clothes...you name it, I've bought a lot of it in the last 3 years. Partially it started because I lost a lot of weight due to illness right before Charley died, so I could fit easily into juniors clothes for the first time in ages. And I felt really good, and really fashionable, those first few months after Charley died...and I quickly realized as time went on that I *do* feel better about myself when I'm in my more-girly mode. I might be in PJs or sloppy clothes at home 90% of my week, but the other 5-10% of the time I can actually look good (when I make an effort, that is =))...and even if I feel crummy when I'm out and about, at least I can comfort myself that I'm looking my best.

And I understand completely about the getting-ahead-of-yourself part. I think it's pretty impossible NOT to when you were happily married, are unhappily single, and have small children that you have to consider above everything else. I did just fine and was a happy, giddy camper when I was dating my friend last year, so long as I didn't get ahead of myself; if I just kept it casual and fun in my own head and if I didn't think about the next day or the next week, then it was all good. It wasn't as good, though, once I started thinking about it being more serious, however.

I have some widowed friends who claim they'd be okay with (or would possibly prefer) to have a second spouse who traveled a lot, now that they're used to being alone and independent. But they're people who aren't really dating much, and certainly haven't had a serious relationship after being widowed, so I'm highly skeptical that their theoretical feelings would actually be their reality. For me, I've done parenting alone, and I don't really enjoy it compared to coparenting. So I can't imagine marrying someone who's rarely home. But it would depend on the person, the relationship, and a lot of other factors, I imagine.

I wouldn't worry about the kids' reactions too much. Anna didn't pay much attention at all when my friend stopped coming around; I don't even think she ever asked where he went, despite that he was at our house basically every weekend, all weekend (so he was around her, at our house, every weekend). But he never took anything of a parenting role with her (and sometimes, instead it seemed like I had 2 kids instead of a kid and a potential partner...part of the problem long-term), so she never attached to him in that way. And she didn't think anything of it at all when she saw him again for the first time in a year a few weeks ago. I always wonder if Anna's a little less attached to people being around all the time, since her father's always been absent. Like your twins, she's fine with the frequency (or infrequency) of visits with people in her life and seems to take them all in stride.

Good luck with everything. And if I didn't already say it (though I think I have before), remember that dating in widowhood is very, very intense and can be very, very stressful--even if in a good way. Enjoy yourself! (And do something about that underwear, girl! ;o))

Anonymous said...

Hi Snick,

When I met my husband I was traveling to NYC from Monday-Friday every week. Traveling long term is not glamorous, regardless of the size of your expense account. So I transitioned to a job 20 minutes away. Love shifts your priorities and if it's meant to be things will fall in place.

One of the guys I manage has been going through a painful divorce and is a single dad to two girls. And he has been in so much pain. I shared your story(blog) of how you met Mr. Coffee and it really cheered him up. I think your story is a wonderful because of your honesty. You have shared your sorrow, but you have openly told the story of how you have grieved and healed. And now you share your joy.



Miss Maha said...

Hey Snick,
My now husband and I were long distance for the first year that we dated, and since we just saw each other on the weekends, I think I can compare it to your situation. No kids, of course, but I can say that that type of relationship leaves so much room for romance and excitement for the time you do have together.

I also have some friends where one is a flight attendant. They are 5 years into the relationship, but when you see them together, you'd think they were at the shmoopy three-month stage since they're still so excited to see each other when they can. Again, no kids, so you have that to think about. But there are perks.

Anonymous said...

Hey Snick,

I agree with the posters who say that if it's all Maddie and Riley have ever known, it won't seem to them like he's in and out, it'll seem normal...

Also, I think it's awesome that, at this point, you still refer to the dates by number...so if this keeps going, are we going to hear about date #43 (etc etc)?

Amy said...

I have to agree with some of the other posters regarding kids who have been raised with a parent who is away from home a lot. My husband works in a city a long commute away so arranges his shifts so he just stays in the city and does them rather than drive home every day. (Firefighter).

The kids have known this as their only reality so works for them. However after 11 years it is still painful for me. I would love to have a spouse who is home at some point every day. In 6 years he can take early retirement and I cannot wait.

Advantages of him being away part of the week is that I get my much needed ALONE time, I am always happy to see him when he gets home and things stay fresh.

But if I had my way....

My two cents? Enjoy what you have now and let the future take care of itself..

Rebecca said...

My husband had always been in and out of our son's life (military). Sometimes it's for extended periods, like deployments, and other times it's for shorter periods (a week or so) for schools or trainings. Honestly, it's what he knows. I've always been upfront with him about yes, I miss him but I've never made it a whoa is me thing. He has adapted that attitude. My husband is wonderful about being a part of his life still too, no matter where he is. He ensures he knows if he won Saturday's soccer game, if he passed his spelling test, if he did his chores. He stays involved in his life, and my son knows it. They have an incredible relationship, and we've never seen any kind of resentment or any of that from our son (he's almost 9 now). It can and does work with some effort and a decent attitude.

django's mommy said...

The pink unicorn purse-- LOVE that! Too cute.

I am totally getting ahead of myself, dating-wise as well. When the heck is it even okay to ask about the ex, kids, where they see these, ah, dates going? I am completely flummoxed.

I also want to make sure that if someone is in my life that they are IN my life. I think putting it out there as something you have been musing over is totally reasonable. Eventually you will have to figure out if it is a dealbreaker or something you can live with after much discussion/negotiation.

I'm excited for you.

(also, it is totally cracking me up how many comments you are getting now that you are talking about dating/kissing. hehe.)

Alison S said...

My children are 13 and 10, and for most of their childhoods my husband went through phases of business travel lasting anything from overnight to 3 weeks, interspersed with phases of being there all the time but working long hours. As others have said, it never bothered them at all - sometimes he'd have been gone for about 3 days before they'd even notice, because he was such an irregular presence that they just carried on the same one way or the other. This doesn't mean their relationship with him is distant now, at all, just that he never got involved with the day by day details of school routines and suchlike. For us, it was fine; and now that he's been working more locally for a year or so, I miss the travel - I miss the own space time and I miss the air miles! If the relationship is fine otherwise, I really wouldn't worry about the effect of the travel on the children, just about whether you can handle it yourself.

beyond said...

my husband is away for work 3-4 days a week. but we don't have children.
but... i think the twins will pick up on how YOU feel. if it stresses you out, they will sense that and get edgy. if you are very okay with it (probably you would be since you are very independent?), they will think it's a normal situation and value the time spent with him. also you and the twins seems to be great communicators... no need to explain how wonderful that is.

Anonymous said...

My husband traveled a lot when he was in the Air Force. He didn't go to war or anything but he did have to go on work trips that would be 1-2 weeks long. My parents also did a lot of traveling when I was younger so I was raised by nannies. Anyway, I really do think it can work. Nobody's going to be scarred for life or anything like that but it is something you'd have to accept as an inconvenience. Also, you'd have to remember that nothing is permanent (especially anything work related in this economy) and it would be sad to give up on a good thing just because of that. You're doing so well with Mr. Coffee and you should really enjoy it.

moo said...

how did you mom react when you came home with your ears pierced?

I think it's normal to have these thoughts and fears regarding Mr. Coffee and your kids. You want to protect them (and yourself, to be honest) from any more pain. But there are a LOT of if's to get to where you are thinking and perhaps at this point it's just better to enjoy the *ahem* coffee and let things work out the way they will.

Elspeth said...

Just wanted to share my 2 cents regarding planning ahead, relationship goals etc.

I think doing that is smart, honestly. Better than waking up in eighteen months, miserable, wondering how did I end up in this awkward relationship?

Regardless of what happens with Mr. Coffee, you will still be you, and you will still have two children to raise. Thinking about what you want and need and hope for, long term, is wise.

Anonymous said...

If it was the kid's father that was traveling so much, it's one thing. But a complete stranger coming into the kids' lives that is gone most of the time? Tsk tak. I feel sorry for them. I'd think long and hard because your choices and decisions affect more than just yourself now.

Snickollet said...

Anon: Mr. Coffee has not met Maddie and Riley yet, and the whole point of this entry is for me to start working through when--and IF--he'll get to.

katia / crazy for trying said...

I've never had my ears pierced. I begged and begged my mom all through late elementary school years and early high school... then gave up. When I then turned 18 I just figured since I'd lasted this long I wouldn't bother. Now, (almost) 18 years after that I'm still pretty sure I don't want them pierced. Just not my thing.
That's not to say I don't covet the beautiful earrings I see in stores. sigh.

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

I used to travel a ton for work which I enjoyed until my daughter came along. I almost missed her first birthday because of a conference and flight delays that I decided it wasn't worth it for me. I gave my notice after that trip and have never regretted it.

Sounds like Mr. Coffee's situation is much different but I'm optimistic that there's a happy medium for everyone!

A said...

My husband and I work different shifts. I have a day job (8a-5p) and he has a swing shift (6p-2a). Our friends and families are always commenting on how difficult it is that there are generally 3-4days a week when we don't see each other at all except when the other is sleeping. I have to say, it really isn't a big deal. I have always enjoyed my alone time and we cherish our time together. I think the main reason this works for us is we have never known it any differntly. When we started out dating our schedules were like this so I've never had him all to myself all the time. The fact that this guy travels a lot may get old but if you've never known him any other way than this is generally an easy thing to deal with. (in my humble opinion) If he is the right one, it won't matter in the long run because you just make it work.

Donn24g said...


1) I didnt get my ears pierced until I was 24!

2) Although I err on the side of 'crossing the bridge when you get to it,' afterall jobs change like people do. But I can see the issue from both sides. A) my father worked a lot growing up and was never around for my basketball games, choir concerts, soccert games, etc growing up. But I never felt the distance because the time spent with my family was very special. I never questioned it, i knew he was working to help us. And B) I travel a lot myself in my work and I hate being away. As much as I dont mind going, I dont like missing stuff at home so I treasure the time i have so much more. All in all, you always make the most of what you have.... no matter what you are dealt.

3). Anon with the negative comments.... clearly never learned to 'read for comprehension.' A basic skill learned in elementary school.

Pegs said...

Just wanted to leave a comment on how I love to read your blog. I love your honesty and your storytelling. The pierced ears thing reminds me so much of those days growing up just to be a kid again, occasionally.

I'm over at www.greeneyesgilbert.blogspot.com
Visit if you have time.

Take care, Pegs

t. said...

I was seven when I was allowed to get my ears pierced - as were my younger sisters. I don't remember wanting them in any earlier than that - seven must have seemed reasonable to me then.

In college, I got second piercings, and then a long bar cartilage in one ear. I've let that one heal up, and though I don't wear earrings every day, I love earring accessories and have all kinds of BIG flashy earrings. LOVE them.

For me, I have no children but am in a committed relationship with a man who will be traveling come Spring. He will be gone for six months, with a weekend for us to be together. Then for three years he'll be traveling on and off for work (mostly gone through spring-fall).

It'll be a strain to say the least. I'm worried about it - and would more if I had a child. We talked over his decision to take this job though, and if a child had been a part of the picture, it's not one we would have considered.

courtney said...

I know a million people have already said the same thing, but if his traveling is all the kids know... they won't know to be that upset about it. It's just normal. Plus, as has also been said, it gives them (and you) the chance to be uber excited about his returns home.

Pantheist Mom said...

Snick - I am so in your corner. I love the way you've reached the point to be able to embrace life again.

I think you might be a bit premature. I wouldn't worry yet, about what Mr. Coffee's work schedule might mean in your future. It's so early still, and while that doesn't negate any of the joy and sincerity both of you might be feeling, it's...early.

There are so many variables - so many things that can change. So many things out of either of your control could change. Seems a good time to just...wait and enjoy for now.

Just my thoughts, from someone who is far from your perspective, so take that into consideration.

I'm so glad you're having fun!

allisonm8888 said...

Ok. Im an avid reader of your blog, but have never commented. My husband travels mon-Fri for work. In an odd way it can be a great time to get things done and enjoy some alone time. My daughter and I get all giddy on Friday afternoons when his arrival is approaching. She seems very unphased by it and she is a very bright 2 and a half year old. I really would not let that keep you back! And as for Anon from this week and last week(we know they are the same person)-I wish she would take your blog off her favorites! None of want to hear your opinions.

Anonymous said...

I think it is great that you are investing, thinking about the future, and asking yourself whether a traveling partner would work for yourself and your kids. Maybe the fact that you are asking these questions -- well, indicates that it is time to ask these questions! At the same time, of course there are a lot of variables, and things out of your awareness and control -- a fact of life that you know well!

In short, I don't know you other than from your blog, which I love. But my modest two cents is that you seem like a person who, in the past, would not have been happy with a partner who traveled 50%. BUT -- again, as you know -- things change and life is MOST unexpected.

-- A. Romantic

Anonymous said...

As for the kids -- what rule book says exactly what Mr. Coffee's relationship with the twins must look like to be healthy? Totally hypothetically, taking it to the most extreme of possibilities, say you got serious, or even seriously serious (that's my very mature way of saying married)! Every blended family is different and made of different individuals. Maybe he cuts back on travel. Maybe he doesn't, because it works for you to have that time with your kids. Maybe you just let it happen, trusting that self-reflection and love for your kids will guide you.

-- Slept with husband on first date; got ears re-pierced at 30; firmly believe 50% travel makes my relationship; love your blog; too lazy to get account -- Anon.

Anonymous said...

You, quite wisely and not prematurely query "would [you] be OK with him being in and out of their lives?" He wouldn't necessarily be "in and out." He could be consistent, even if he was not there as much as you'd ideally like. If they were OK with it, you would be, too. If they were not OK with it, you would do something about it.

Your being OK with it might influence them, although they seem to have their own thoughts, feeling and opinions. That's a huge compliment.

Is the big question: If they were not OK with it, and you had to do something about it, would that be OK? I think so. In my limited experience, a suitor's setting boundaries, gaining trust and respect, getting to know them and responding well to any tests they might throw at him is of course key, key, key from the start -- but different than him taking on a truly parental role, which would come later. They seem sensitive and I bet they will have a sense right away that he's, in a way, different than other friends that come around! But that doesn't mean they will attach right away in a way that might lead to a painful loss if things don't work out. That happens through special words, rituals, a sense of his relationship to them that would come from you two when and if appropriate.

-- A. daughter, not a mom

M. said...

My husband has been in the military for 16 years; we have been married all 16 of those years. He can be gone anywhere from three months, to over a year at a time. We have three children, ranging from highschool to elementary school and while I won't pretend that it's easy by any means, we are all VERY well-adjusted and an EXTREMELY tight-knit family totally in love with each other. We have a very deep appreciation for my husband/their father because he's such an extraordinary man, which makes the absences merely a side product of a much bigger life very full and positive.

Good luck to you and your budding relationship! :)

~ Jolene said...

what a great story about your pierced ears. :) I don't even have kids and I'm the one that travels in the relationship and it's not too often but gosh, in my opinion, you're right. Maddie and Riley deserve to have someone devote their time to them...as much time as possible. It's a tough decision...but you're right. For now, just live in the now and enjoy every date. Can't wait to hear about #5!

Mary Ellen said...

I got my ears pierced a second time about 15 years ago -- with my Nana, who got her ears pierced for the first time at the age of 65. I went first. I still loving thinking about that...
The sake sea bass sounds like a winner indeed. As do you and Mr. Coffee. Don't worry so much about the traveling.

G-Dawg said...

It's great to just be "girly" once in a while. It's fun and fresh!

As for having a parent that was gone often, that's me. My dad runs his business overseas, while my mom is here holding the fort down. Since I was 7, I see my dad 3-4 times a year, for anywhere between 1 to 3 weeks.

While growing up it didn't feel like it was an anomaly. I didn't even notice how absent he was until I moved away (20 miles from parental home) for college. It was then when I started missing my dad and wishing he was closer, despite the fact that he's been across the world my entire life.

My dad and I do have a great relationship despite the distance. I never felt like there was a wall between us. Although yes, at times I feel like he doesn't get me, but that's partially due to a language barrier, and me being in my 20s, while he still thinks of me as his little baby girl.

I will venture out and guess that part of it is because my dad and my mom had a great relationship. Their love for each other was so deep, it anchored the relationship between my dad and all of us kids.

Hope this helps!

Cheryl Lage said...

Oh Snick, my mom was a "when you're 16" mom, too! And on that 16th birthday I made her take me right to that Kay jewelers ASAP!
(Man, I didn't get a unicorn purse though!)

Love how you are thinking...and I agree with others who've said just talk with Mr. Coffee openly. Why not? He sounds like a pretty understanding fella. Enjoy and communicate openly. The chips will land where they should, and if you've been up front from the get-go...no regrets either way!

My husband has bouts of travel...when the kids were young, while I'd never tell him this, they weren't as "aware" of his absence as they are now (from age about six on...).

You're an amazing mom, Snick. Just thought I'd say so. :)

Victoria said...

As someone with a frequently absent husband, I can tell you, it's fairly unobtrusive. You still get to be in charge of yourself and your offspring for the most part, but sometimes you get to have dinner together, or watch part of a game on TV together, and that's pleasantly special. there are, as you know, worse things. Plus vacations together are stunning for reconnection and relationship communication.

Which is not to say I don't resent the hell out of it sometimes (often), but there is upside.

Amy said...

My mom made me wait till grade 3 to have my ears pierced and I was SO happy when she finally let me :) (Yeah, in grade 3..) I was the first of my immediate family to have it done and I loved it. To this day I do not feel 'dressed' unless I am wearing earrings (and I am NOT a thoughtful dresser; think CASUAL).

I had my twin daughters ears pierced at two months so friends and family could tell them apart. (Yeah, pretty sick of the whole 'twin guessing game' that started each visit..) They are now 10, almost 11 and rarely wear earrings. Guess we always want what is forbidden in some circumstances ;)

Karishma said...

snick, i've never left a comment here before, and have never really felt the absolute need to, considering i found this from the cnn article, much after the events and entries that made me sob in absolute pain and sympathy, which i read as i slowly caught up.

however, all i can say is that i am SO happy for you. it is so clear that you love your babies, your memories of your husband and love, and that you aren't willing to let those go. at the same time, it is definitely your right to find support, love, and move on, and it looks like mr. coffee is helping you move in that direction. i think i can speak for nearly all your readers in saying that we support you completely and utterly in your judgment. distance is unbelievably difficult (trust me, i know) but at the same time, it can lead to a fulfilling, satisfying, supportive relationship beyond your wildest dreams (again, i know.) with distance, there will always be some bitterness, some resentment, but with the right relationship this can be utterly outweighed by love, trust, and general happiness. it's stressful, yes, but so utterly worth it and so outweighed by the positives (but only with the right person.) if that's what you have, you will be able to move beyond the hurdles, and maddie and riley, who probably already understand at this point that there are all different kinds of families, will simply just accept that they have the kind of family where their father has to work away from home, but love him and you all the same, to the point where it is irrelevant to them, just b/c they know no different (yup, i know.)

whatever the case, we support you, and find so much inspiration and perspective in what you have been through. :)

Claudia said...

My husband is career military and is gone 40-50% of the time. I knew how much he'd be traveling before we had kids, though, so I've always been kind of prepared. It was awful when my twins were infants, but now that they're toddlers it's not so bad. It's harder on them than me.

It's good you're considering these things. My $0.02? You seem independent enough to manage the travel. It would be a shame to rule a quality partner out (now or down the road) just 'cause they travel. Good men are not all that easy to find.

Lindsey said...

Dr. Laura would say not to even look at a man until your children are grown and out of the house!

I say have a great time this weekend with your new man!

Anonymous said...

I usually don't comment but thought I would after thinking about your musings on dating. I met my fiance almost 2 years ago. I always looked for something wrong in every guy I dated. I originally thought when I started to date him how horrible it would be if we ended up together because of his job - travel and priority or work in his life. However, I stuck with it and it is definitely worth it. He does still have to travel and his priority Monday - Friday is pretty much work but he shows me in other ways that I mean the most to him in his world and that work is just the game he has to play. He is the sweetest kindest man and I am excited to marry him and have his kids (even if I have to raise them more on my own then i would like)
On the weekends when it is our time he spends every minute with me even if it is going to the grocery store or running errands. I feel he cherishes our limited time together and will do anything to be with me. Whereas I look at my sisters and counsins marriages and can not believe when they are home together that one is doing something while the other is doing something else. Look at it this way, you get to keep part of your independence and still have someone that loves you and cares about you madly.

Anonymous said...

It's much too soon to approach with Mr. Coffee the topic of his travel and its impact on your relationship and the relationship he would have with you kids. This is only date #5 coming up. You'll scare him away with talk of your wanting him to be an ever-present parent to your kids. He's into you. His priority is not your kids, yet. Just relax, enjoy each date for what it is, and stop thinking about everything so thoroughly. Have fun! If/when things turn serious, your questions will self-resolve (either way, for or against) when the time is right. (Not THAT Anon.!)

Anonymous said...

My husband has been a Marine for nearly 20 years now and we've been married that whole time. He is gone a lot. Not only for deployments of 6+ months at a time but for countless two to eight week trainings. Plus he is a pilot so even when he is home, the schedule is unpredictable.

I love my husband, he's a wonderful father but it is far more difficult in practice than it was in theory. This life is hard. I love it, it's mine and I chose to stay but it is hard because as much as it is the truth that we love each other fiercely, it is also true that time is finite; very much so, in fact.

Trying to be married, be a parent, in this prescribed chunk of time is work for us. I have very rarely seen it work well with a step-family situation. Someone is always left feeling ripped off; typically the kids from the first marriage.

Mr Coffee's children already have limited contact with him. If you get serious with him, at some point those children will be part of your lives as well. That is a lot of people competing for one man's attention.

My husband is a loving, honorable man who had done the best anyone could to make us feel safe and that we are the priority in his life. Yes, I like my independence and I do just fine when he is gone. But deep in my heart I miss him in fundamental ways when he is gone. LIke a part of me goes missing as well.

If I were dating, it would take a lot to convince me to chose someone whose work takes up so much time and if that person already had small children, it would be a deal breaker. Time can only be streched so far.

I want to make clear that I am not telling you what to do. I'm just trying to shed a little light on the reality of marriages like mine. I usually do take the position of reassuring someone, playing up all the positives (of which there are many) but the bottom line is that it's a tough road and I'm willing to open myself up because you've been so open.

Best of luck to you.