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7:42 a.m. - 2013-05-25
Mar doesn't want to move. She has a million reasons, like that she likes our neighbors, A. has too many animals, and she doesn't want to live somewhere where kids play in the street (which they do, because there are almost no cars), and she just generally doesn't like Bristol.

I keep reminding her that in Green Eggs and Sam, Sam hated green eggs until he actually tried them.

And variations thereof.

About a week ago, her grandmother gave her a choice of taking a shower or taking a bath in the kitchen sink, and, though always terrified of the shower, Mar, at age 6, decided the shower was better than the kitchen sink -- and became an instant shower junkie.

"I really love taking showers," she told me yesterday (after flooding my bathroom by putting the shower curtain OUTSIDE the shower).

"And you used to say you hated the shower, before you tried it," I said.

"I still don't like Bristol," she said.

I love my daughter.

The moving truck is reserved for tomorrow at 10 am.

How do I feel about this? A little worried (after all, Matt eventually decided I'm a horrible person to live with, so maybe I am) and (guiltily) -- incredibly relieved. I hate living alone. I hate being a single parent. It is just so hard for me to do all of the order/routine/structure stuff when I don't have any adult to help me do it -- just two kids resisting me at every step, the way kids do. A is very much a structure/routine sort of person. That's what I want and need; I hate disorder but I am just at a loss to achieve order most of the time.

I love A, and it is maybe the first healthy relationship I have ever had? I don't think my relationship with M was ever healthy. He made me feel used, and he encouraged all my bad habits and all the stuff about myself that I hate. You'd think a high-functioning workaholic exec would have his shit together, but when M wasn't at work he had not problem sleeping in his clothes, not showering, not cleaning and not paying his bills. He was addicted to sex and internet porn (still is, I'm sure). We drank constantly and I was always trying to get away from the reality I was trying to convince myself was OK. After we had kids, I quit drinking and we had nothing in common. I was a single parent even when he lived with me.

It sucked. Life with Matt sucked.

And when I decided to date, I actually made a list of what I should look for and what I should avoid. I'm attracted to the workaholic/dominant/much-older/fucked-up hot mess type. Someone who will make my life more chaotic than I already do -- Oh yes!! I was all about appearances. We had to look handsome together and in public. Chaos and drama in private was fine as long as we looked cute and successful and perfect together ... because I wasn't good enough being just me; I needed some hot guy with me to tell the world I was worth something, so I could feel like I was worth something ... sometimes.

This time I tried: Looks unimportant. Income unimportant (but must be employed!). Must be kind and a good person. No drinking/drugs. Must want to be happy, and actively working on fixing things about his/her life he/she doesn't like, instead of whining and playing helpless. Must be someone I can have a happy family with. Must be someone I am good for, and who is good for me. Must be mobile -- willing and able to move to Europe, Africa, wherever -- and never come home. (That was probably the hardest criterion to meet. Lots of people say they like the idea, but when push comes to shove, they're not going anywhere.)

I met A through an online dating site. Once I decided to date, I considered it an assignment like homework or a work project, and I dedicated a couple of methodical hours a night to meeting and screening. A met all my criteria. She still does.

And I love her. I do; that's something I was afraid wouldn't happen if I chose a partner based on what my head said and not my heart, but one followed the other. My heart wasn't hers when I deleted my profile on the dating site, but a few months later I realized that the only place I wanted to be was with her.

Hopefully we can keep this when we are living togther with her two cats, two dogs, two ferrets, two birds and four chickens, and my two kids. We both are constantly reading and discussing how to have a healthy relationship and the happy family neither of us ever had, so I think we'll be OK.



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