31 January 2005

Single...With Children: "Come On In, The Water's Fine!

Single With Children: There comes a time when you have to take the plunge

Susie Parker
Publication Date: 07/13/05

I've been single for more than seven years, and I swear I can't believe how fast that time has flown.

In that time, though I have managed to become engaged a few times, I have never had the courage to make it down the aisle. There was always some very good reason to avoid the final push: wrong time of year, unfavorable planetary alignment, but truth be told, it was sheer terror.

Something wasn't quite right.

I've sometimes been accused of harboring a distaste for matrimony, but the opposite is closer to the truth. Having survived one divorce, the only thing I knew with certainty was that I never wanted to endure that experience again. I know there are more catastrophic situations to deal with, but I can't think of too many. Having said that, I have always had the most genuine respect for the sacred institution of marriage. I am in awe of it, yet the very thought of taking another chance has scared me as few other things have.

My reticence in considering remarriage is reminiscent of being a little girl all over again and learning to dive off a board. I was fascinated with that as well.

I have always been a huge fan of warranties and guarantees. If there is the option of an extended warranty, just show me where to sign. Though most of the time it's a waste of money, I rarely pass up the option. I have my share of character defects, but gambling has rarely been one of them. I always look for a sure thing.

After 11 months of intense investigation (dating), it looks as though I am about to climb back on that metaphorical diving board and trust the landing will be successful and maybe even fun! My son and daughter not only have given their enthusiastic approval, but also have told me to get on with it before the groom-to-be changes his mind.

Saturday, my daughter will be stepping into the role of maid of honor, and my son has been invited by Dan to stand as his best man. I can't tell you how blessed I feel to have their seal of approval.

My kids and I have been a tight trio for almost seven years, and for the longest time I couldn't imagine anyone truly and completely fitting into our circle of trust. In fact, when I met Dan last year, the prospect of a serious relationship was the last thing on my mind.

I have learned so many things courtesy of these past seven years, but one of the most important things I have come to understand is that, even when things are going smoothly, single parenting is one of the toughest, most exhausting, expensive, sometimes exasperating and always unpredictable roles any mother or father can assume.

It is a roller coaster and it can be terrifying, exhilarating, stomach-turning and awe-inspiring - sometimes all in the same day! It is not for the faint of heart.

Early on, I used to feel almost embarrassed to admit that I was a single parent, feeling somehow inadequate or lacking. I soon realized my line of thinking was off the mark. It's wonderful when a family has two in-house parents and in an ideal world, that would always be the case. In reality, that's just not always an option. After meeting and sharing stories with hundreds of single parents who juggle so many balls in a day, I am in awe of the compassion, energy and love most single parents offer their families.

More often than not, these moms and dads accomplish amazing feats and raise exceptional children who know they are cared for, secure in the knowledge that they are capable of anything.

When love enlists the power of faith, everything becomes possible and suddenly, you forget all about guarantees and warranties and you become brave. How do I know?

You just know.

Readers can e-mail Susie Parker at SusieWrites@gmail.com, write to her c/o Amarillo Globe-News, Features Dept., P.O. Box 2091, Amarillo, TX 79166 or visit her diary at www.susiewrites.blogspot.com.
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