Girl decides to stop dating, then has one last internet hurrah and meets someone. It’s been known to happen and it happened to me. It happened, and a lot more. In under a month, the landscape of my life has become unrecognizable.

I’m not sure where to begin. Dave walked in on a night when I was being stood up by a much younger man. By the time the younger dude stood me up, I discovered that he had lied about his age and that  he was just too young….so it was a blessing. I don’t need to tell you his actual age. All I need to say is that after he stood me up (iphone much?) he begged for another chance. Only a 24-year-old would try that on. And please, don’t gasp at the age thing. When you are 53 and your kids are grown, age just doesn’t matter any more. Nevertheless, I tend to view anything less than 31 taboo. So it was a blessing.

I was very lonely and somewhat frustrated and had an evening planned out so I somehow made contact with Dave, told him I was being stood up, and invited him to get his arse on over. He sprung into action and saved the evening and it was a strong initial connection that has pretty much been that way ever since.  Being with Dave is like being with your really cute best friend, the one who just keeps getting better….and he’s a talker with independent interests and a lot of talent…which makes me swoon. Chatty Cathy is sleeping right next to me as I type this. He just woke up for a minute to tell me he had a mini-nightmare and to make sure that I am okay. I tell him I am okay, and the truth is I am barely okay.

I was briefly overjoyed. Briefly, all three of my kids seemed to be settled in; we were maybe going to have some nice family get togethers, and I had Dave. After months of almost but not right, or right but not emotionally available, of having plenty of action but no one to call my own…I seemed to have a person of substance who wanted to be just with me. My kids liked him a lot for about five minutes. Even my mom liked him.

It’s a good thing too, because due to a few forces of nature and circumstance, he moved in. It was like an arranged marriage really, and I now understand why arranged marriages can work. See, you start just living together before any bad habits have settled in. You create your life under one roof with your halo on tight. I can hear you all gasp for reals this time. Only thing is, the people who really know me didn’t gasp, and aren’t gasping. Some things that don’t sound okay actually are (and vice-versa).

From the beginning, we recognized each other as hurt and in need of healing. So we got down to business and within a very short time, my heart filled back up and I was no longer running on fumes.

I have in the back of my head the idea that this is one-day-at-a-time and just for now, although things are good enough that I can’t envision an end point. Because he is 36, and may want kids or a different life, I force myself to stay loose. I stay true to myself. I make each day count. I love hard, because who knows what tomorrow brings. Any of you worry warts (worts?) out there need to know that I am okay. I am fine. I understand the risks, My heart was thrashed to pieces when I met Dave. I was outa hope. And now I got some. So, yay.

Life gave me something good and special, but life was not content to stop there. It giveth and it taketh away. My family fell apart.

It wasn’t Dave. My family includes three lively strong-willed kids and somehow one of them got surly and convinced the other two that I had my head up my rear. They all stormed out and we are now what is officially called estranged.

I will pause while you all psychoanalyze the sh*t out of this series of events.

Ok, now that you are back I should tell you that I have run the details by several therapists, some who know the players in this story, and word is that the chicks need to fly and the momma hen needs her space. Sounds innocuous enough. I have been urged not to feel bad, but instead to stay strong.

I would have preferred less aggression, less angst, but cutting the ties is messier in some families than in others. This is brutal. It has even distanced my mother, though only because the tension is so extreme that any potential conversation is a land mine. My only family contact at the moment is my step-father, because he is a loving rock of a man who hugs for real and never gets snippy.

And there you have it. Love walked in and my family scattered. No one is talking. Armchair psychologists can have a party saying it was Dave that did it, but the issues have been issues for a long time. The next steps with my kids are going to take a few years of them learning to find their own way. It will all work out.

Meantime, my head is in a whirl. Gucci is now my dog, and he adores Dave. All the dogs do, and they know what’s up. I know the attitude I must have to get through this, but I still tear up in the car. What could have been just happiness and something nice has been tainted a little, though Dave and I are doing our best to keep it all compartmentalized (neither of us are too good at that.)

As anyone who has had cause for celebration and cause for mourning occur on the same pinhead can tell you, it’s hard to know what you feel. When part of you is ecstatic and part of you is crushed you tend to cycle between the two rather involuntarily.  It makes your head spin and your heart confused.

It is an opportunity for growth and it is just the way it is.  Cry hard then shake it off and have a blast. I can do that, and I have no choice. Merry Christmas and bend over. Ah…life.