I took tap dance once. I was seven. I liked to dance in my smart black leotard and pale pink tights, my shiny patent leather tap shoes tied with ribbons . . . but let’s be real, I liked the noise they made. It was marvelous, the wonderful clickety-clacking of 12 little girls trying to master the “step, ball change.” Forgive me, this post really isn’t about tap dancing, not the literal kind anyway.
By age 10 I had put my old tap shoes away. By age 32ish, I slipped on a different pair. Single mamas (and Dads!) wear many hats, but you might not know we have a bad shoe habits too. I tend to subconciously group my relationships with friends and so forth into two catergories, pre-solo parenthood and post-solo parenthood. Those in the pre category have known us awhile, have perhaps walked some of this journey with us – they may not get it, but they get it.
The post group, however, is a whole different ball game. No matter how you get to solo parenthood, life after the kaboom that got you there inevitably means a whole slew of new relationships and that awkward “getting to know you” phase. And let’s just face it, we want people to like us (really like us!), so we perform. We do the “No really, my life doesn’t revolve around my crazy children and our crazy schedule” number followed by the “I’ll apologize for the mess” act and then the “Even though you have no one to care for but yourself, I’ll rearrange my whole schedule to make it more conventient for you because I don’t want you to get scared and run away.”
For new girlfriends, I don’t do this so much, except for the sign and confesion that “Yeah, my house pretty much always looks like this.” But for guys, I am the guiltiest.
I am seriously blessed to be friends with some amazing fellow single mamas. One in particular is especially dear to me and in turn is comfortable saying what she needs to, even if it hurts. Pretty recently, she put it to me this way, “Crystal. it’s time to stop the stupid tap dancing.” She’s been guilty of it, I pretty much deserve a spot on So You Think You Can Dance at this point. We move heaven and earth to make things more comfortable for others, all the while exhausting ourselves. We apologize for our situation, our homes, our cars, the noise . . . we apologize for reality. We say things like, “I know dating me can’t be easy.” Am I listening to myself?! Who says that? I did.
Why would I say something so ridiculous? Why would I go to great lengths to make my life seem like something it isn’t? Why would I apologize for who I am or what I am going through?
Because I have believed a lie “ You are TOO MUCH. All this is TOO MUCH.” My friend says, “NO. We aren’t too much. For someone, we are just right. For a lot of someones, we are a blessing.” She’s right, you know, about all of it. We don’t fear that we will not be enough or good enough for someone, but rather that us plus our small people are just too much to handle and reality is just too harsh a thing for young love.
Friends, do you hear me? Are you with me? Aren’t you ready for the show to be over? I am. I’m tired. I am encouraging any of you reading this who relate, on any level – let’s be real and unapologetic for who we are. The right people who are supposed to be a part of our lives won’t be frightened by sinks full of dishes, bedtimes to stick to, boundaries and schedules less than ideal for romantic dinners. The right people will see a beautiful mess and will welcome the opportunity to be part of our lives.
I’m ready to toss my shoes. Sneakers always fit me better anyway 😉