I bring you folks sad news.
After a light discussion with Officer Cutie, the whole little fairy tale world we talked about a few days ago, has been smashed to smithereens.
Just in passing, when talking about what he had planned for the day, he casually mentions, it’s my son’s birthday.
“Your son’s birthday? You have a son?” My voice cracked.
“Yes, I thought you knew. Wait, you didn’t know?”
“I’m certain I would have remembered that. I know I would have remembered that.”
“It was on my profile.”
“I know we talked online so long ago. I feel horrible, because that’s something I should have remembered and I trust that you would have said something.”
“So I guess that’s it, huh?”
Silence. I was thinking. Maybe he did tell me. Maybe I didn’t pay it any attention because back then, I just didn’t think we had a chance, so it didn’t matter. I would have never figured 8 months later we would be where we are. I went on the date on a lark, and because when we did keep in touch, I kept saying we should hang out the next time I visit New York. I had no expectations that things would have gone so well.
But most proud single dads, they do bring up their kids. There was no word of this son until now. I’m not upset with Officer Cutie. I believe him when he said he thought I knew. But you could tell how increasingly disappointed he was becoming.
“Oh boy, silence. I feel you fading further and further away. ”
“I’m, I’m sorry. I should have remembered that.”
“I mean I get it, if it’s not for you, it’s not for you.”
“What’s on your mind?”
“Do you really want to know?”
“I’m sad. I’m sad because I like you. But I know I can’t do it. I know myself. Childless people who date people with children have to make a lot of sacrifices. If the kid gets sick and we made plans, you gotta go. If you don’t go, you are a bitch ass. And I never want to make a man choose his child over me. I never want to be in that position. A good man, a real man makes his kids first. I want to feel like I’m a priority, but I can’t ever compete with a child, I don’t want to ever have that feeling that I’m not the priority. Do you get along with the mom?”
“Sometimes we do. Sometimes we don’t. We do better when we don’t have to be around each other for long periods of time. But we argue a lot.”
“See that’s the other thing, with yall having a baby turning one, that’s fresh. That’s really new. The mom may have a serious problem with you moving on. Then there’s already the distance. I just can’t. I know myself. Damn. This is my truth. Does it make me a terrible person?”
“No. I understand. I think no negative thoughts of you at all. You are saying how you feel.”
Then we tried to muddle through more non-child related conversation. I made jokes about people having elaborate 1 year old birthday parties.
But all the while, my chest caved in. He asked me about how my dating was going on POF. I gave him a few entertaining stories, including the one guy who didn’t want to be trapped.
“I’d willingly be trapped by you any day. There is such a good thing as being trapped. If someone said they were trapped on a deserted island with a supermodel, they wouldn’t say that’s a bad thing. There’s being trapped in a bad situation and there’s being trapped in a good one.”
Even his sweet compliments stung even more. I told him I was tired and I was going to bed. I spoke to him as sweetly as I normally did. But I knew it was the end.
I scrolled through my phone to see the new round of potential suitors on POF, looked at faces and profiles and on one or two, took a deep breath and clicked, “show interest.”
I closed my phone and asked God, “Where’s the lesson in this one? Really? That I can like someone again? Great. Thanks.”
When it comes to the men with kids thing, that’s one place I have to tell Katherine Woodward Thomas I can’t bend. That is something I don’t want. I tried to “see” with my feelings, but I don’t want to be tied to this situation. I was already bending on the long distance. And I believe with people who have children so young, it’s too new. Some fathers have gone through some tough times with the women who had their children and they had to grow and mature and air out old feelings and emotions and they have figured out what works to co-parent. They’ve established their family rhythm and everyone is on board. But it takes a long time to get there.
With the baby just turning one today, I just don’t feel confident Officer Cutie and his child’s mother have gotten there yet.
And in the words of First Lady Michelle Obama, “This, this I don’t do well.”