Miracles Do Happen

My mother is an introverted dynamo. By that I mean she has managed to hide how shy she is in order to make a name for herself in business, and money for her family. She reminds me of the Donna Reed character, Mary, in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Without her ‘George’ (really named Roger) she may have ended up a skittish single librarian. Roger, my father, with all his charms and pedigree, was not a good breadwinner. Mom, called OJ, eventually tired of the shoestring approach to raising 5 children, and headed off into NYC to start a successful business career that put a kitchen addition on our old Victorian, and took us all to Bermuda two times, just for starters. It turned out, not only did she join the ‘old boy network’ seamlessly, but she liked it – a lot. As the years passed, she and Dad moved hither and yon for her new business opportunities, finally settling and retiring in Maine in their seventies. Roger never begrudged OJ the role she had taken on, but sometimes I’d hear her wish for a break in the decision-making. Wouldn’t it be nice, she’d often wonder, to have him choose the restaurant? Oh well…
Four years ago, when OJ was 83, Roger died from a lung disorder that snuck up on us all. He was sweet and docile until the end, and we miss him very much. OJ was, and is still, so vibrant, embracing all life has to offer.  Eventually, she moved near us in suburban RI to be close to her youngest grandkids. We saw her often, but much of her time was spent reading in her wingback chair alone in her apartment. OJ loves to be around youth and vitality, but her apartment building was seniors only. It was increasingly clear that loneliness was setting in, so, being the sensitive and meddling daughter I am, I suggested she join the website: www.seniorpeoplemeet.com, and set up a page. She was game, but not too savvy on the ‘how-to’s’, so I happily obliged. It doesn’t hurt that my mom is one of the most youthful octogenarians I’ve ever seen (I deeply hope that I carry those genes!), so I was certain she would be quite sought after. I posted a photo, see above, of her sitting with my then 6-year-old daughter, Olivia (named for OJ which stands for Olive Jean, but Mom never liked the Olive, so Olivia was chosen instead), and then we browsed through the five gentlemen listed in little Rhody. The only one Mom liked was a white-haired man who I thought resembled an older Spencer Tracy. He had a wonderful profile message describing a symbiotic life to my parents’ overseas in Asia during post WWII. He had also been a Dean of Students at a college, walked with a cane as OJ does, spoke of a love of travel, and generally seemed a great fit for Mom. So, we wrote to him…and wrote again. Nothing came back. Hmm, was he not interested? Away? Taken? Um, or worse…OJ waited from March through April for a response, then in a moment of exasperated inspiration, she figured out how to navigate the site solo and wrote one last entreaty: “Meet me for coffee at Felicia’s in East Greenwich.” Little did we know that the fellow we were writing had his own dutiful daughter monitoring on the other end. Mom’s missive reached her immediately, and she responded swiftly herself with the name and phone number of her dad who’d been away in the Grenadines for a few months.
I must digress here to fill in a few facts. My parents were ‘inexperienced’ when they married in college, and they were together for 62 years before Dad died. In those months after his death, my sister sent the first season of “Sex and the City” to entertain my mom, knowing full well that Dad would have hated the series and the f-bombs throughout. Mom ate it up. Marg, my sister, then sent all 6 seasons, and in May of 2008, we both took her to the movie on opening night. OJ was filling in major gaps in her knowledge of modern day sexuality through this franchise – and loving every minute of it!
So, back to getting the phone number of the man she so wanted to meet…OJ said, if not for “SATC”, she would never have had the nerve to call up a stranger and drive to his house for lunch – alone! Boy, is she glad she did. She and now 93-year old Bill have been inseparable since they met in May 2009. I know this because when she moved in with him that November, and I cleaned out her refrigerator, I could see it had not been opened once in all that time. The lovebirds have made many trips in these two years including a boat ride up the Rhine and Danube Rivers from Budapest to Amsterdam, and one through the Panama Canal. They lovingly care for one another, read books together, entertain often, and have a great time watching football over a bottle of wine. Bill was a Colonel in the US Army, and as a result, is very decisive. Mom loves that. She is all aglow and sparkly around him, and is thoroughly delighted to go to the restaurant of his choice. As she said in her holiday card the year she met Bill: “miracles do happen”.




OJ & Bill

Being old doesn’t mean you’re done. Do you have a story of finding love late in life?

(This article was previous published in part on More.com)


A Mom’s Guide to Dating After Divorce

According to statistics, 1,000 people get divorced every day in the United States ALONE…WOW! That means fewer than 50% of first marriages end in divorce.  Now most of you out there reading this who might be married will probably gasp a little, and I do not blame you.  But those of you who are divorced might be doing a little happy dance right now at the thought of all those possible divorcees out there for the taking. But first, be forewarned, my friends. If you are recently divorced, or have been divorced for a long time, whether you are old or young/have kids or do not, entering the dating world can be a very exciting time in your life.   It also presents itself with some challenges that you should really think about before making the decision to jump back in and get into the dating driver’s seat.  You are going to feel scared, and at times, intimidated. But never let that hold you back in finding and meeting other people because, in turn, you will find out more about yourself along the way.  If you let it, it can be one of the most rewarding things that can happen to you.

Dating after divorce can be very overwhelming, but over the past five years, I have developed my own “Method to the Madness” for dating after a divorce. Here are some tips that have helped me in the dating scene, and some tips that have basically helped me in ALL of my relationships as well:

1.         WHO AM I AND WHAT AM I DOING?  –  Make sure you can answer these questions.  If you cannot, then you should not be dating anyone until you can.  DO NOT PASS GO and DO NOT COLLECT $200.   I cannot stress this enough to all of you.  Being able to re-establish your identity is PARAMOUNT to the success of any relationship you have or want to have down the road.  Whether you want to admit it or not, you lose yourself sometimes when you are in a marriage, and you need to take advantage of this time alone.  You need to take the time to re-discover who you are and what you like.   You need to make sure you are ready to move forward and know what you are looking for in a mate.  You never get a second chance on life, but sometimes, we do get a second chance on dating. TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF IT!

2.                  BE ACCEPTING BUT DO NOT SETTLE –   This one is very important.  Never let possible post-divorce loneliness, sadness or insecurity make you lower your standards when you start dating again.  Everyone deserves and has a right to be happy in life.  Be respectful of what it is that you want, and be proud of who you are and what you can offer a person.  This is one of the most challenging but rewarding tasks you can achieve.  Believe in yourself and others will follow. 

3.                  DON’T DISH THE DIRT AND TRY AND LET GO OF THE PAST – It is important to not discuss your ex on your dates.  It is within reason to discuss your divorce, but you do not need to become the Daily Gazette with all the dirty details on your date. This tip is extremely important, especially if you were recently divorced or it was a messy or sticky situation.   I am not going to lie and say you will not be tempted to talk about the details on what went wrong, or who did what to whom and how and when, etc.  It is important that you try to resist the temptation and focus on the person across the table from you instead.

4.         PROCEED WITH CAUTION!!!!   IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, TAKE YOUR TIME AND INTRODUCE THEM TO YOUR PARTNER SLOWLY!  –  I find this tip invaluable in every possible way.  My son adores my boyfriend, but we waited and took our time before we introduced him.  You need to be able to identify your relationship and what you are as a couple FIRST before you bring your children into the picture.  It can be an incredibly stressful situation for all involved, and timing is everything when bringing your children into your new relationship.   Make sure you give your children enough time to be able to adjust to the new changes on their own.  Do not ever force your child to accept the relationship, but also do not let your child call the shots on who you do or do not date.  It is important to have a healthy balance in this situation.

5.         TAKE YOUR TIME, STAY POSITIVE AND ABOVE ALL, ENJOY YOURSELF –   We all know that divorce can leave you with baggage, and we have to stay positive and believe that someone out there has that “matching set of baggage” just for us to make a complete luggage set.  It is very important to take your time and have fun with it.  This is a time of re-discovery for you in so many areas of your life, and it would only benefit you to live life to the fullest and be confident in what you can bring to a relationship. 

6.         IF ALL ELSE FAILS, THERE IS ALWAYS WINE AND CHOCOLATE –  Of all the tips out there, this is the MOST IMPORTANT AND VALUABLE ONE!!!  Well, not really — but I have benefited from this one a time or two myself.


Looking for Love in Unusual Places

     As single ladies this day and age… we look for any sort of clue or sign that love is coming our way soon. Well, at least my friends and I do. So while in Las Vegas for a girls weekend… my jaded single New York friend and I took our search to a “higher” level…a psychic!  We called our hotel concierge to see if they could suggest a somewhat reputable psychic… they told us about someone way off the strip… which sounded like too much work for us. We then casually blew off the idea and decided to continue on our search for love on our own. However, the higher powers had another plan for us. We went into O’Shea’s which,  if you don’t know,  is a cheap sort of college way to gamble in Las Vegas… and low and behold… there was an in-house psychic. It was a clear sign… or a coincidence… but I am going with a sign!


     We each sat down, dropped $40 bucks and were ready to find out when/if we are going to find love!!   Kileen (our psychic) sat us down… we meditated and then she started flipping her cards. Kileen had an accurate reading about me. She told me I was hurt in the past and I was still getting over a bad relationship… blah, blah, blah. Yes, somewhat true. I did have a bad relationship in the past,  but I think I pretty much over it. I mean do I hold grudges… yes, but what girl who was burned by a boy in the past doesn’t hold him in a negative light??

     I starting to think my psychic reading was more like a therapy session… shouldn’t I be at least laying down on a couch or something. Every time I tried to throw out a question she continued to ramble on about finding the true me and being more self-confident. Good point.  I will definitely work on it but tell me if my Mr. Right,  father of my future adorable children is out there!! Long story short… my fifteen minutes of psychic fame were over and I had zero answers about my future! Was this a sign I am meant to be alone… FOREVER?!

     As Kileen tried to politely kick me out of her beaded tent I asked the questions I needed to know.  Is he out there for me and will I have kids???  Her answer: Yes and you’ll have two kids. That was it. Whatever, I will take it. My silly girl brain needed that reassurance (even if it was forced and very brief) that maybe happily ever after is out there and waiting for me. I guess time will only tell!

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