You can never predict what life has in store for you. That's been my experience, anyway.
By the year 2000, I was firmly entrenched as a single mother. My life was my children and my career. I spent long hours on the job and was a very involved parent.
Dating stayed on the back burner. To be honest, the flame wasn't even lit. I didn't have time, or perhaps I didn't want to make the time. After all, my life was already pretty complicated.
I found comfort in being single. Sure, it would have been nice to have a second income in our household, and my life wouldn't have been so hectic if I'd had a husband who was willing to share family responsibilities. But that would mean making time for building and maintaining a relationship, and eventually giving up singlehood for marriage. I wasn't there yet.
The longer I remained single, the more comfortable I felt with it. I'll never forget the day my grandmother told me I should find some "nice widower" to marry. I looked at her as if she had three heads -- and I steered clear of all men who expressed an interest in me. My life remained crazy, but I had gotten used to it.
Then a stranger unexpectedly entered my life. We were both people of a certain age. We met on a dating site, and neither of us had any experience in this area. He had been married for decades when he lost his wife. After a grieving period, he was hoping to marry again. I think my only reason for being on the dating site was that I was curious. I wasn't looking for a date, and I certainly wasn't looking for a husband. The gentleman has a more interesting reason for being on a dating site. One of his granddaughters, who was 14 at the time, signed him up, posted photos, completed his profile, and then told her grandpa what she had done.
The man initiated our first conversation online. Communication was guarded at first. I wanted to be
certain of his identity, and I'm sure he felt the same. Once we got past that point, I found the gentleman to be smart, polite, charming, and easy to talk to. We learned that we had several things in common. We communicated by email and phone.
Oh, boy, I thought. I've found a new friend. We lived in different parts of the country, and that made me feel even more comfortable because, as I saw it, he couldn't just show up at my house and expect to take me out.
"How do you know I'm not an ax murderer?" I asked him. He laughed.
My efforts to discourage him failed. He informed me that he had booked a flight, and gave me the date and time that he would arrive in my fair city. He asked for my help in booking a hotel. I started chewing my nails.
On the appointed day, he arrived but got lost after exiting the highway. He found himself in an industrial area where street signs were few and far between. We determined that he was able to make it to a nearby landmark, and he stayed there until I arrived.
First, I took him to lunch. Then I had him follow me to his hotel. Later that day, I took him to meet my son. He met my daughter later after she got off work.
That evening, a Saturday, we went out to dinner. It was our first date, and everything went smoothly. We spent the day together on Sunday, and those moments also went well. He flew back home on Monday. While I had had enjoyed this new friend's company, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was sure there would be no more visits anytime soon. I could resume the life I had grown accustomed to.
Once my friend returned home, the emailing and calling resumed. He had enjoyed his trip. It wasn't long before he invited me to come out to visit him. Once again, I got nervous and started making excuses. When he wouldn't take no for an answer, I asked him to give me a little time to think about it. I finally made the decision to go.
He was the perfect host. He cooked for me, and I introduced him to some of the latest pop music I had brought along. We got to know each other better, and I found myself feeling less nervous. The next thing I knew, he proposed. I stared at him for a long time, saying nothing. He just smiled, waiting for my answer. After a long pause, I said yes.
All of this happened several years ago. Happy Anniversary to my persistent husband, the rhyme in my life's poem.