Sunday, March 05, 2006

*tap tap* Is this thing on?

Alright, smalltowndiva, I'm back. Now it's just a matter of sitting back, waiting for someone to notice...

I was actually inspired to come back after reading the latest posts by one of my two favorite bloggers, Petite. (Smalltowndiva being my other!) I have followed now for months the highs and lows of Petite's life...leaving her daughter Tadpole's father for another man, Lover, and now being left by Lover after many months of what appeared to be a blissful coupling. I have never met Petite, nor will I ever (as she lives in France, for one!), but my heart breaks for her all the same, as I felt a tie with her, being a single mother and all. I couldn't related to leaving The Kid's father for another man (I left him to save our lives, but that's another story), but I understood the struggle to carve out both an adult existence for one's own mental health while balancing motherhood and one's child's mental and emotional health as well. It's truly a fine line to walk, and one slip feels like it could have the most dire of consequences.

Petite posted that she feared she'd get a lot of "told you so"-type responses from readers, having abandoned Tadpole's father, Mr. Frog, following an illicit affair with Lover. I certainly never condoned Petite's choice to carry out an affair (if you want to leave, leave) but I always hoped beyond hope that she and Lover would indeed live out the blissful future she had planned for them.

Something always seemed mildly awry to me, though. I could never put my finger on it, but it always seemed too good to be true in some way. I still don't know precisely what made me doubt them (besides my usual belief that jumping from one relationship directly into another automatically dooms relationship #2), but I did. And it made me sad.

What had upset me most of all through all of this, though, is what it will do to Tadpole.

Mr. Frog, bless his heart, moved across the street after Petite and he split, so that he was still easily accessible to Tadpole. That little detail always melted my heart. I'm sure that at her young age, Tadpole probably, for the most part, merely thought it was neat to now have two bedrooms in two houses.

With Lover, though, I am more concerned.

She is older now, and Petite and Lover had worked to blend their families and collective children into one future family. Lover would stay with Petite, Petite and Tadpole would travel to Lover's home to spend vacations with his family, and so on. So the removal of Lover from Petite's life was equally a removal of Lover from Tadpole's life. That bothers me. It's bothered me since day one. That nagging inclination I had of Lover's impending departure made me extremely concerned for Tadpole. I stand fast by the philosophy that children should not be involved with a parent's significant other unless marriage is impending. They may play the role of a family friend, but romantic inklings should be repressed. Granted, Petite and Lover had planned on marriage, but I'd always felt like it was too soon and too intense.

I was reminded of this in my own life Friday night.

Allow me to digress for a moment. Early in January, I started casually seeing a man I shall call Bassman, simply for the fact that I already nicknamed one of my musical exes MusicMan. Things with Bassman are a bit messy, for the fact that he has been one of my very closest friends for several years, and is in fact MusicMan's best friend and favorite jamming partner. (Bassman also used to be involved with a former close friend of mine, making the whole thing sort of a love quadrangle, if you will.)

Bassman, as a close friend, has been involved in my family's life for a while. He has come on outings with The Kid and me, he is studying music with my father, and my mother is quite fond of him, just for the fact that she finds his shyness, kindness and mutton chops endearing.

Things have not changed in his relationship with anyone in the family yet. The Kid has no inclination that things are happening with Bassman and me. (Nor do my parents, at this point, because before I rock the boat there I'd like to see if things are going anywhere first.)

But it's amazing how the changing dynamic between us has caused the dynamics to change, if only in my mind, regarding the rest of the family.

I had lunch with Office Husband a few weeks ago as my father and Bassman met to jam, and I proceeded to panic all through lunch that things would suddenly be uncomfortable (Bassman tends to be a bit skittish, and I was afraid he'd panic in my father's somewhat intimidating presence knowing that he had touched his little girl -- for the record, it worked out fine).

My fears were assuaged somewhat until Friday night, when, while on my cell phone with Bassman, he asked if he could borrow The Kid to play frisbee one afternoon. I never would have given it a second thought weeks ago, as Bassman has attended movies, picnics and even a carnival with us before. And it's not like Bassman is suddenly trying to be The Kid's father. He's just been a great male presence in The Kid's life and he needed someone to throw a frisbee around with. The Kid is a sports-fiend, so it seemed like a simple solution to Bassman.

I, however, nearly fell over.

I agreed, but I have not stopped worrying since.

What if The Kid falls in love with Bassman? What if Bassman leaves and no longer can be a buddy to The Kid? What if The Kid sees the look I will inevitably and uncontrollably get across my face watching them play, that look of misty delight at seeing a scene I would love to see regularly in the future? Or worse, what if Bassman does?

I think the more important thing at the moment is: Why the hell can't I stop 'What if'-ing?

It's been two months. I hardly get to see him as he lives fairly far away and our time is consumed in unrelated activities -- our jobs and classes, his bands, my Kid.

Unfortunately, the only thing I can do for the time being is to continually remind myself to lighten up. Easier said than done.

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