Father Knows Best? My 2 1/2 Dads Think I Should be Single
My 2½ Dads think I should be single.
Big Daddy, the Big Big Daddy and Father Bob apparently all agree.
Big Daddy’s Big Idea
Big Daddy arrived on scene about four days after what would turn out to be my final, soul-crushing, head-exploding, life-shattering break-up.
When you are 40, not one syllable of those words exaggerates the impact of a broken heart.
You are terrified that he was your last shot, that no one will ever love you again and that you will die alone and be post-mortem pet food before any notices you are missing.
You dissect yourself in front of friends and family (again) maybe you did this when you should have done that, or said this instead of that, or were too picky or too bitchy or too independent or too dependent or or or or….
They respond with what is the 100%, absolute, swear on the bible truth: it was not you.
You are perfect, they declare. He let you walk away??? His loss, they tell you, as they commence a round robin tournament of ‘what an asshole!’
They say so many kind things, listing your accomplishments and reciting details of your successes as if reading your resume or a letter of reference you wrote for yourself.
Though you admire their Emily-Thorne-worthy revenge schemes, and silently agree he is an asshole, your life is over, you fear. The odds of getting married after 40 are at best 3-2, and that’s if none of us are picky.
Regardless of what other people say, you can’t escape the voice in your head demanding to know:
What is life if not married life?
Big Daddy has seen this scene play out repeatedly in the past. “You’re going to be all right,” was his general theme but he is also famous for creating new obscenities and threatening the ex-beau du jour. My biggest cheerleader always reminded me I still have my first boyfriend, i.e., him.
Strangely, that last part does not make a girl feel better.
When he came through my door that dreadful day, I expected much of the same and cut him off before he started. The thing about all your loved ones trashing your former loved one is that you feel compelled to defend the latter. I could barely speak let alone debate.
That said, imagine my surprise when Big Daddy’s first words of empathy and encouragement were:
“May you were meant to be alone.”
“May you were meant to be alone.”
You can probably guess I was not asking him to repeat himself. What you probably won’t guess, because heaven knows I shocked myself, was my response:
“That’s what I am afraid of!”
Then I sobbed until I had to wring out the couch cushions.
I didn’t know if it is true that Father knows best but I started to consider the possibility that I was, in fact, meant to be alone.
And started to grieve for the life I might not have.
The Big Big Daddy and His Delegate on Earth
Five years and 1,000 dates later, I found myself in a familiar place: the end.
Something was different this time. Sure, I was having the typical troubling breathing, thinking and getting out of bed, and was definitely enjoying the weight-loss portion of the process but I already knew I would be fine, and a lot sooner than a younger me would ever believe.
It’s obvious, to me, why I did not fall apart. Do the same thing, for example, mending a broken heart, six or eight times and you develop a certain skill level. Sort of like being a cardiac master tailor.
At the very least you know what helps you and what to expect in the days and weeks ahead. (Though you don’t expect your dad to throw in the towel on you. Just saying.)
It helped that, bookended between my broken hearts, someone asked me to marry him.
It helped that I said no, or orange would be the new white.
Going to church helped too. When you are in distress, the prayers of your childhood bring comfort, as well as a break in the spate of begging the Big Big Daddy in the sky to change your fate.
There is a chapel near my house where one of a convent of nuns kneels in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 24 hours a day. The Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters are cloistered- silent – and they wear pink habits (uniforms).
They look very happy.
The chapel being Catholic and all, a Father had to say mass every day for the Sisters. In this case, Father Bob.
Sister St. Aurelia, my 8th grade teacher, would be horrified at my sacrilege and math but I figure the Heavenly Father and His incarnate representative, Father Bob, add up to about a dad and a half here on earth, all things considered, including the possibility of me going to hell.
I confess, because Catholics do that, I don’t go to mass. I did go to the chapel every day, though, for a long time. I dropped in and had a talk with the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) and the BBD (Big Big Daddy).
I prayed, and pleaded. I took five deep breaths, and then five more. Sitting in holiness and quiet is healing.
Some days I cried. Father Bob noticed.
I talked to him about my life, in 30 second sound bites, over the course of a few months. He was the smiling-est person I ever saw. Father Bob’s vocational order followed the teachings of St. Philip Neri, who had the miraculous ability to be cheerful in the midst of slaughter and poverty.
And broken hearts.
I worked up the nerve to blaspheme directly to Father Bob, insisting on an answer as to why my prayers remained unanswered and I remained unwed.
“Perhaps that is your answer. Perhaps your mission is to serve alone.”
Yikes. This was as bad as when the nuns (not cloistered and not bothered by inflicting corporal punishment) told us, “Every prayer is answered. Sometimes the answer is no.”
Clearly, I did not like that answer and priests don’t like to make people cry. At least not cheerful priests in the 21st century. So we continued to hash it out.
I described about how horrible I felt about myself and how I wish I could just know what was wrong with me. I went on about being scared all the time, about money and dying alone.
I told him I didn’t think I could bear a life on my own, even though I was fully capable of doing so. (Single women are compelled to add that part, lest we sound too too pathetic.)
I don’t know if he was persuaded or merely being compassionate but after listening to the ache in my voice and soul, Father Bob told me to talk to BBD one more time and insist I would not move unless He blessed me.
Turns out, that was another loophole.
I am blessed.
I am just not married.
I still grieve the life I don’t have. I still grieve the mother I don’t have. Maybe the two are the same: you never get over it, you get used to it, and you get happy without it.
In the end, that’s what we are all meant to be. Happy.
With love, to Big Daddy
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We are taking a break this week from our “Let’s Make A TV Show” project because your sweet blogger has to go visit Big Daddy for Father’s Day. Next week, Rachel so far….
Please be a sweetie and share this?