Tuesday, 6 January 2015

ATSL: All the single ladies, all the single ladies!

Picture this: I just drop off my kid to a screaming-and-bouncing play-place for a birthday party, grateful he quickly releases my hand while at the same time kicking off his shoes and dropping the gift bag topped with fluffy tissue paper before savagely throwing himself into the mayhem of the jumping castle.

On that note, can we please agree to stop with the fluffy tissue paper - that flimsy, useless layer camouflaging the gift? No matter how expertly I swing my arms up and down, left and right, hoping to fluff it up, it over-wrinkles and quickly collapses looking re-used. Ok, I was desperate so I did re-use it a few times, like today. But I feel and look guilty even when I open a brand new package - the special one with built-in sparkles. Tissue paper and loot bags will have to be on the elimination agenda at some point soon - not kidding!

As seen in LSL's Facebook post

As a rescue strategy out of that play-place hell where all the happy moms stay behind to chat, I sneak out onto a bustling Yonge St. and find the closest Starbucks. The lucky parents in charge have my cell phone number, so if my son gets hurt or cranky I can be there in a jiffy. With two hours to kill, I order one of those mega drinks, whose calories can keep me alive for half of the following week. I pull a book out of my bag and find a seat at the bar - a long wooden plank lining the front window. Perfect light, perfect smell, perfect peace. 

The only thing is, I can't get myself to read the book. It is a sunny Sunday on a ruthless Canadian winter day and although still cold and crisp, it is undeniably optimistic. People have crawled out of their homes to take in these much-needed rays, especially since the gloomy overcast weather started sometime in early November. I am people watching. One of my favourite activities.

Call it a curse, but all I am seeing are ridiculously happy families, strolling past my window, dressed like a Ralph Lauren spread in the winter Vogue. One family in particular decides to stop right in front of the glass, the glare protecting the anonymity of my stare. Mom looks fit and rested, despite the double stroller she is pushing in front of her. Toddlers, likely twins, a boy and a girl, are all bundled up, their pink cheeks and indigo eyes sparkling behind the little clouds of mist they are producing like tiny cute steam engines. Mom is very pretty, with long blond shiny straight hair cascading down her back, as if there were a possibility in some parallel universe to leave some fancy salon after a full hair and make-up session, right before stopping in front of this coffee shop with her brood in tow. I glance at my reflection in the window - signature dramatic glass frames, pixie cut and lip gloss. The maximum I was capable of investing in my appearance while I was looking for the damn invite, a gift bag and tissue paper, and while reminding my son to finish breakfast as he sloppily drew a card for his friend. We had just run out of the generic happy-birthday-to-you cards.

The door jingles cheerfully as the dad of the happy family enters with their orders and I notice immediately that he is handsome as hell - rugged boots, washed out jeans, coarse knit turtleneck and an unzipped pale grey goose down jacket. Inside of it he is sheltering a baby carrier. The infant is sleeping in a snuggly of the best kind, some Swedish name - the one in which sufficient air goes through the comfy yet firm fabric and also keeps the baby's posture safe and perfect. With the confident moves of an experienced multitasker, he hands over a bottle of formula to be warmed up as he orders coffees of different kinds and grabs an orange juice. Vanilla bean non-fat extra foam latte and a 'red eye' - an order of coffee spiked with an extra shot. Why do I still know this? 
He smiles and thanks the baristas as he swipes his card, then a second later swings the doors open and hands the latte to his wife, who melts into a grateful smile while smelling the divine hot beverage. He remembered a touch of cinnamon. The orange juice goes to a kid with a skateboard, sporting one of those cool spiky hats, who just caught up with them. This kid has swag. Who is this kid?

The mind of a then unhappily and chronically single mother could not have fathomed that this was anything but the happiest of all families that ever lived. High-school sweethearts who had one kid a tad too early and who, sure of their love, pulled through their respective schools and first jobs building a solid foundation for the family to expand. This past year as they both approached forty, they just winked at each other, kissed and decided in a hushed tone - let's have one more!

I never envisioned a scenario in which the older boy was hers - the battle for sole custody with the estranged father not over yet; this weekend, it was their turn to have the twins, his ex-dropping them off, as usual with a three-hour delay, forgetting the asthma puffer for the girl and the security blanket for the boy.
The blended hot mess that we are

Life sometimes does happen that way - the Ralph Lauren commercial way. More often it doesn't. And as my life all these years later greatly resembles the life of the family I mercilessly stared at for as long as they hung out in front of that Starbucks on Yonge St. (minus the infant dangling in a snuggly - thank goodness!), I learned an important lesson backwards.
With a π/2 delay. 

Instead of looking at their lives as blessed and perfect, look at my life as blessed and perfect. Or in addition to seeing all of the life around me as blessed and perfect, feel deep in my bones, that my life is indeed its own unique blend of blessed and perfect. No matter the story. And until I love it, really LOVE IT, with all its non-Vogue-spread-worthy qualities, I won't move on. At least not in the direction I desire.

That's the long answer to the question: Should I date myself first?

My favourite quote

The short answer: HELL YES!

Before any of the desired life can materialize we need to know some basics:
  1. What we don't want. 
  2. What we do want -- the all-inclusive, greedy version of the wish list. Screw compromises. 
  3. How it feels to live the "I want it all" version of life (without the "I want it now" burden.)
Then go each day with the seemingly selfish: "Hmmm, what do I feel like doing today?"

Sushi-lunch? Power-walk in the ravine? Quiet-time journaling? (What about? See 1-3 above)
Girlfriends? Movie night out? Sofa, blanket and dark chocolate almonds night in, watching Sidewalks of New York for the umpteenth time? I kid you not, at one point my mother warned me in her always-tactful Serbian manner: "He is not gonna come out of that sliding DVD tray. You need to get out!" Gosh I love my mom!
Go on a blind date; day-time, Starbucks, order an espresso... and if he is no second-date Americano material, act surprised: "Oh, I guess my coffee break is over! Goodbye." If there is more to explore, go for a walk - you'll walk and talk faster, he'll get to know you better! 
Cook a dinner for friends. Become a big sister. Host a neighbourhood meet. Browse the library. See what books jump at you - they know the best what you need to hear! Write old-fashioned letters. Mail them with pretty stamps. Draw. Tear, rip and burn what you no longer need. Not the ex's pictures. We'll cover that in one of the next ATSL blog editions! Sleep. Power nap. Play hooky. Do yoga. See a matinee. Then go on another date. And another. And another. 

Your guy, who already has all the traits you can happily live with, is out there. And looking for you. The best, funny, flirty, effortless you. That's why you need to date yourself first. To find her. Meet her. Get to know her. Fall in love with her. Then see her go! GO!

Alert for all my readers: 
Please don't get sucked into that scarcity all-the-good-ones-are-taken thinking.
Alert for my Canadian and US readers: 
For the love of G-d, please don't start the new season of "The Bachelor". 
Alert for any of the single guys reading:
You are better than the GAP. 

No comments:

Post a Comment