Dating

Last night, after a really spectacular Christmas, I reflected on why I felt so good and so warm as I lay there in my bed thinking about my day. I enjoyed watching the excitement of my five- and seven- year old girls opening and giving presents. We ate brunch at my parents’ house where my girls enjoyed the company of their cousin, aunt, uncles, and Nana and Poppy. We feasted on casseroles and enjoyed seeing our present-hunting pay off as smiles emerged as paper was peeled away. Dinner was at my Father-in-law’s where the girls delighted in stealing attention from all of their grown up and college-aged cousins (which trips them up and occasionally makes them use the misnomer “Uncle Kirk” instead of cousin Kirk.) We ate again till we were full, traded gifts in various rooms of the house, following one individual while trying to hunt down the spouse or sibling to give a gift to a pair of people at one time, much like playing a live game of Ms. Pac Man. In between all of that was plenty of coffee, cookies, dips, and crackers.

So while I lay there swearing off food till the New Year (yeah, right,) the thought of how full and fulfilling my day was from visiting all of our loved ones swam through my mind. Then suddenly I thought about a couple friends who may be experiencing the holidays much differently—one a single friend with children, one a single friend without children and the second Christmas without her mom. Then I thought about one or two more girlfriends who are navigating the dating field and wondered what it felt like as they laid in their beds – did they have fulfilling days, too?

I’ve loved the Golden Girls ever since it was first run on TV. And in college, it was a favorite time of day, because often all four roommates would stop what they were doing and sit and spend a half hour laughing together. So each of us, of course, had a character. I was a combination of Sophia (for my feistiness) and Blanche (for my love of dating.) Now hold up. Just because you love to date does not mean that the bedroom is open for business, ok? But I’ll be honest. Dating in college was one of the best times of my life. Kissing boys in bars was one of the funnest things on Earth. I have no urge to do that now, although if I could grab my husband by the hand and be transported back into my young twenties I could spend a whole night standing in a dark corner of a bar drinking a few beers with him and smooching him when I wanted to, not worrying about anyone or anything around us.

Which brings me back to my college days. Being twenty-one and having a first kiss with a date (or an acquaintance) under the dim lights of a bar, bright enough to see where you are going, but dim enough to not see the layers of dried up sticky beer and dust in every nook and cranny was one of my highlights of college. In fact, if you think about it, kissing a boy in a crowded bar is a very smart and safe idea – your other Golden Girls are just on the other side of that thicket of 15 frat boys, keeping their eye on you, and when they are ready to go, it’s see you later, cute boy, time to hang with the girls! I did have one long-term relationship in college which perhaps enhanced the glory of dating after the twenty-seventh breakup finally took. But I can vividly remember lying in bed one morning in my apartment feeling so happy to be alone. There were no phone calls I had to make to tell anyone “hello” or arrange a time or place to meet up. There were no phone calls to expect or wait on (pre-iphones!) to slow me down in formulating my day. I was independent and free and I loved it!!

I know my friends who are dating are not experiencing the glory of Kissing in the Bar Dating, and I would not trade places with them for anything. But, oh my God. The courage, the bravery of my girlfriends! Leaving an unhealthy marriage. Having your husband swept away from you in your thirties with toddlers to raise. I can’t even fathom the guts these girls have that has gotten them to where they are today – brave enough to navigate the waters of being single (again.) And brave enough to navigate dating in 2016. I didn’t even have a texting plan last time I dated. But my only wish for these amazing women is that they lie in their beds and have that feeling that I did once—the feeling of independence and freedom to create any type of day they want (taking into account all of the mandatory adult chores first, of course.) And hopefully a good-night kiss from a date is just the cherry on top of an awesome Single but Strong day.

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