This isn’t some throwing a touchdown pass to win the game or a homerun in the bottom of the ninth issue, this is important.
When my girlfriend and I first met, we did the 21st Century Disclosure Statement; relationship status, age, family status, are the ex’s crazy, do you date exclusive, health concerns, who drinks, do you smoke?
Anyone in or reentering the dating scene knows the 20 or so questions you have to go through sometimes. They are the questions that immediately identify the answers of what you are willing to deal with. When it came to the kids question, mine was easy, don’t have any (but I do have dogs, so I am capable enough to care for other living creatures for long durations).
My Southern Belle’s daughter is five. I questioned myself even before we met about kids. Was I willing to be involved with a mom? I’m not selfish, I don’t need constant supervision, I’ve been on the Earth and able to take care of myself for decades, so why not? Besides, dating again at forty, the age range of women I was looking to meet dictated that there is probably a 90% probability that they will have children. These kids will either live with them now or at least be on a visitation schedule. The kid’s age range could be considerably wide, they could be twenty or two, there’s no way of knowing until you know.
When I found out the Gangster was five, I had to think about what that meant for me. It’s been twenty-five years since I helped my mom with daycare and the majority of the kids were boys. Was I interested in kids? How much responsibility is a kid when you’re dating their mom? Will the child accept us in their life? But I was in. I didn’t meet the Gangster until after six weeks of dates, talking, talking, and talking to her mom. I didn’t fully realize it then, but after we talked about it later, my Southern Belle was vetting me too, trying to answer the additional 100,000 questions concerning her child beyond her personal dating ones.
My girlfriend eased me into meeting her little girl. We talked about her, what she was like, what some of her favorite things were, she even asked if the Gangster would like to talk to me on one of our phone calls. She’s a social butterfly, so it really wasn’t even a question; the five minute conversation taught me more about myself than I thought. It was a little tense on my part, questioning if a five year old would judge me, was that possible? I survived; she had a lot to say. When I finally met her daughter I saw a strong, adventurous, and assertive little girl who was more than ready for me to play ‘Princesses’.
Some of the guys out there already know where this is going…
Although it only took a couple of playtimes, I became a favorite playtime partner. That first time It wasn’t so easy when I started, her first comment was, “Princesses don’t talk like that, talk like a girl.”
What does a forty-year-old, six-foot-one man with a dozen tattoos do when a strawberry blond five-year-old looks up at him and says you don’t sound enough like a girl to play ‘Princesses’? He accepts the challenge and get down on your knees, drop the bass out of your voice and makes sure my dark-haired princess doll sounds, acts, and talks like a girl.
Now I’m a pro. I can be the brunette, the blond, or even the coveted redhead princess without so much as blinking. We can switch from ball gowns to pj’s to bathing suits with precision. I know where the carriage is, who drives (not me), and what to say when one of them forgets the ingredients for the ‘beautiful cake’ we’re making.
Please, don’t get me wrong, it’s not all roses and rainbows, there are some legitimate crisies that can go on, but in the midst of a dress debacle minutes before the ‘Princess Ball’ is supposed to start you bury that insecurity down deep because you have real issues happening. Someone may hear? You don’t care about that, you get excited-panicked-loud because unless you get that dress back from the Royal Laundry in the next thirty seconds that’s going to be the least of your problems.
Her daughter is depending on you, the Princess is depending on you, hell, the entire royal kingdom is looking to you, so get it together. This isn’t some throwing a touchdown pass to win the game or a homerun in the bottom of the ninth issue, this is important.
So you better get in there and show them what you’re made of.
Photo: Getty Images