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Alas, this is not the story of someone falling in love with me at first sight. Oh no, no, no, this is the story of the beautiful, long-haired, Jesus-looking man who works at the restaurant with me – falling in love with my daughter at first sight…

His name is Sean and he’s 32 years old.  Exactly 12 years younger than me and 12 years older than my daughter.  I really enjoy working with him, he is helpful, a hard worker, efficient and thorough, very clean and tidy at work.  He has a great sense of humor and cares about others.  I was trying to convince myself that maybe he liked me and trying to convince myself that I could like him back but I never succeeded in falling in love with him, which turned out to be a very good thing indeed…

The day I brought my daughter into the kitchen to introduce her to my co-workers was at least a month before she started working there with me.  Sean took her hand, bowed over it and kissed it with a grand flourish that I’d never seen him do for anyone else and she and I both looked at each other and went “Hmmm…”.  She came in a few times after that, to eat, to say hi, to hang out while I worked so that she wasn’t alone and Sean would always stop in at her table and chat with her a bit.  Then one day she got the job as a busser and her first night was a busy Friday night.  Since I was working that night too she walked in with me and we entered the kitchen to hear Sean say “There’s supposed to be a new busser tonight but I don’t know who it is”.  I said “It’s my daughter and here she is” and his response was a hearty “Hell yeah!”

She and I worked together for probably two weeks, sometimes he worked with us too, and I asked her a few times if she thought Sean liked me because of how nicely he treated me (I’m not used to that from guys who don’t want more than friends) and she kept telling me “No Mom, he treats everyone that way.”  I was still mildly hopeful though, mostly because Kyle is pretty much not in my life anymore and I need to focus on somebody or my head gets weird…  but that should probably be another post.

Sean is very generous to the bussers, us servers tip the bussers and the bartender out of our own tips, but he was especially generous to my daughter and one night we were all in the kitchen and she said “Mom!  I just need a Sugar Daddy!” and Sean said “I’m trying!” and I knew right then and there that he liked her.  I responded with a brief pause before I said “He’d be a good one.” to indicate I approved and Sean’s face brightened. then I added “A rich waiter.” to make her think about whether or not he actually fit the Sugar Daddy definition and he bust up laughing.  That was a fun night.

A short time later on a Saturday night the dishwasher hurt himself – off the job but came to work all bloody – and got sent home.  The powers that be called the other dishwasher in to finish the shift.  The replacement dishwasher informed them that he was drunk, it was his night off after all, but that he would come in and finish the shift.  So he comes in just roaring drunk but ready to work and the employee that called him in realized they had made A Big Mistake and berates him for coming in drunk.  What the?  This was entirely their fault, not his, he told them he was drunk… but I digress.  The replacement dishwasher winds up going home and my daughter, Sean and one of the cooks stay to do his job and which took until 2:30 am, after which they went to Sean’s house and proceeded to get drunk.

Yes, my daughter drinks and smokes pot too.  I don’t encourage it but I am glad she trusts me enough to tell me what she’s doing.

She didn’t come home that night.  I didn’t receive a text or a phone call from her either. I began to panic.  I was supposed to go to church with my folks that morning so I tried to call her.  The phones were shut off!  What?  I spent 20 minutes talking to the phone company, the problem was on their end but what terrible timing!  I didn’t know if she had tried to send me a message and I just didn’t get it because the phones were disconnected or if she was laying in a ditch somewhere dying. (She had sent a message, I got it 12 hours later, ugh!)

Yah, I overreacted somewhat…  Couldn’t help it.

I finally got the phones turned on and she didn’t answer my phone call, didn’t return my texts.  I checked the restaurant parking lot and her truck wasn’t there.

More panicking.

I remembered I had a phone list from work and texted Sean and the cook, asking if they knew when she left work the night before.  Sean texted me back fairly promptly – thank God – and said she was safe and sound, sleeping it off on the couch at his house.

I was so relieved I cried, like actually wept, for most of the 1-hour drive to see my folks at church.  She was alive, she was safe, she was ok.  And she had just spent the night at the house of the guy I kind of sort of liked.  The emotions were so mixed and intense, I couldn’t stop sobbing.

I went to church, spent some time with my folks but didn’t breathe a word to them about  the night before, went and saw a movie, asked Kyle if I could come over for a hug and he said no, he was busy.

That was kind of the last straw for Kyle with me.  He has absolutely never been there for me when I need him outside of school and wasn’t always excited to be there for me in school, even for a quick 30-second hug, so I feel like I can no longer trust him with my emotional well-being.  I will always love him and care about him and any time I spend with him always puts me right back into those feelings of euphoric love for him but when it comes down to it he doesn’t, can’t, love me the way I love him.

I cried all the way back on the hour ride home from Kyle’s rejection, stopped and hugged my daughter at the restaurant where she was working and then went home and took 2 Xanex.  I was done with the day, absolutely could not stand being conscious for another minute of it, every little bit seemed horrible.

Those darn Xanex didn’t wear off for 18 hours – it’s a good thing I had planned to spend the next day at school sitting in a chair getting my  hair done…

Sean and my daughter have been together ever since.  Sean is clearly head-over-heels for her and his maturity about it makes me happy to see them together.  He told her he loved her quickly in their relationship and she was more hesitant, having been broken too many times before to trust quickly.  I gave him my blessing right away – after telling him not to lie to me again.  She told  me that she did not sleep on the couch that first night but in his (twin) bed with him, and they just cuddled.  He hemmed and hawed a bit, trying to justify his wording because they were on a futon or something… I said “Don’t lie to me again” and he agreed.

I figured it would be best to start off on the right foot with him so I was kind but very firm.  I practiced my little spiel with her ahead of time and she said I was a wee bit scary, heh, heh, heh…

Somehow my daughter has been able to convince boys to be her snuggle buddies without any sex being involved and I am a little more than mildly jealous of that…

So for three weeks they were together constantly – unless she was working at the dog groomers – and they took turns between sleeping at my house or his (he lives with his parents).  He and I have had several little chats, he assured me he was willing to take it slowly with her, he knew that she had some deep wounds from past relationships and he just wants her to be whole and healthy.  He’s very into natural everything, organic, spiritual stuff.  It was clear that he cares deeply for her and was in this for the long haul.  She was afraid to do it so after a week or so I told him she was still legally married and the details of that debacle, along with a few things from our home life when we lived with her father.  His response?  “That just makes me love her more and want to help her more.”  I like this guy, does he have an unmarried uncle somewhere?

I feel like he’s imprinted on her, like he’s already decided that She’s The One.  Just from the time I’ve known him I think he’s a great guy, he’ll be very good to and for her and I hope she can fall in love with him too.  It’s also very easy for me to be around him and them, I thought it would be harder since I was trying to like him for myself, but having him as part of our little family feels as natural as breathing.  I feel like he and I have been related for 50 years already and he’s the only one of her boyfriends that I’ve ever been comfortable enough with to wear my jammies around him – without a big, bulky bathrobe to hide under…

After three weeks of this he introduced her to someone as his girlfriend.  She then informed him that he hasn’t actually, officially asked her to be his girlfriend!  I just about died laughing when he told me.  He looked genuinely perplexed and a bit confused.  It’s only in a few areas that their age difference is really obvious…  He dresses and acts like he’s in his mid-to late 20’s and so does she but those sorts of things are still important to her, lol.

Bear in mind that they’ve spent nearly every night together, he spent $100 to replace her radiator and then her truck broke down completely and he just gave her his vehicle to use.  No hesitation whatsoever.  Even after finding out her license is suspended he still lets her drive his Durango.  I’m so impressed – this man is taking care of her like they’re already married.  He’s done nice things for me too, he’s cleaned the kitchen, emptied the garbage, chopped kindling, starts a fire in the wood stove before either her or I get out of bed, takes the dog out early in the morning, brought me home dinner when he brings food home for them, he hugs me and tells me he loves me too.  His hugs aren’t quite as good as Kyle’s but they surely help.

The next day he “officially” asked her to be his girlfriend with a potted flower/plant and licorice and she said yes.  I think she was hoping for something a little more grant but  she and I worked at the restaurant that night she started the shift by running around to everyone saying excitedly “I have a boyfriend now!’  Everyone was happy for her but a wee bit confused because we already knew this, ha, ha.  I believe that was Monday.

At that point they hadn’t even kissed or seen each other naked, although Sean does love to take his shirt off in the house and let me tell  you, when I get a wax pot we are going to take some of the body hair off that boy’s back… ahem… moving on… Anyway, he was true to his word about going as slow as she needed/wanted.  He would say that he loved her but not pressure her to say it back.  He would ask permission to kiss her but not push it when she said no and not be irritated about it in any way that either of us could tell.  I saw some hand-holding and snuggling on the couch but nothing remotely like groping or making out.  I’m more and more happy that he loves my daughter.  This is so good for her – HE is so good for her.

Wednesday was my bad day at school, when I thought I had to make a choice between financial peace and sanity.  The two of them were going to spend the night at his house but came over to keep me company when they realized that I had such a rough day.  I was so thankful for them.  They cheered me up, gave me giant hugs, brought me candy and watched movies with me until we went to bed about 1 am.

As of Wednesday night my daughter (finally?) told Sean that she loved him and their relationship became physical.  I’m grateful my daughter trusts me enough to tell me these things, I wish she would wait longer to have sex but in the end she is an adult, I can’t stop her and she has never done well alone.  Since I left her father I’ve always known that a relationship with her will include a boyfriend most of the time and Sean has offered her the first healthy, romantic relationship she’s ever been in and seems committed to forever with her already so I can’t ask for much more.

Thursday I woke up earlier than I expected to and made buttermilk pancakes with homemade buttermilk syrup.  I’ve really missed baking and cooking… He said they were better than his mom’s but I promised I’d never tell her, lol.  It was nice to hear though! Thursday is also the day that his dad went into an Urgent Care, they rushed him to the local hospital and the local hospital rushed him to the bigger hospital an hour away.  He had emergency surgery that night, followed by cardiac arrest, stabilization and then he passed away today, Friday at some point in the afternoon.  I am so sorry for Sean’s loss, and I’m sorry for my loss in never being able to meet his father.  I truly believe that our families will be joined and I wish I could have been able to meet his dad and I wish his dad could have lived long enough to see my daughter and Sean get married.

On a tangent, I have realized that I don’t like living alone anymore.  And my daughter is being a terrible roommate, always off with Sean.  It’s great for her but bad for me, lol.  So I’m seriously considering getting back on a dating site and trying to at least find a guy I can spend time with and not be home all by myself when I’m not working.  I know that’s probably not the best solution but I’m the kind of person who spends their life on others rather than themselves and now my daughter has Sean to watch over her so I don’t have to/can’t anymore.  Kyle is not a viable option and that leaves me with no one to focus on except myself – and that only sinks me deeper into my depression, all that thinking about my own life and what not…  I just need to divert my attention elsewhere.  Maybe a kitten would be sufficient?  Huh.  I’m still thinking about it.  But hopefully my love story is still on it’s way…

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 The crash and burn of realizing you are only wanted when you are needed

The light-bulb moment of finally understanding that’s one of the many things he did for all those years, the one who broke you

The self-loathing at recognizing every man you’ve ever fallen for could not or would not love you back – and yet you gravitate towards another just like that over and over again

The fear that you will never be able to love someone who is different, someone who is better

The accepting of yourself – you fall fast and hard at the first drop of kindness and think it’s love 

The knowledge that this may never change

The hope that it never changes because then you would not be you

The draining wariness of constantly being on guard against falling in love

The battle between wanting to fall in love and needing to feel safe

The sadness that “safe” and “in love” have never come to you at the same time

The weariness of needing to decipher your own emotions and those around you non-stop

The utter exhaustion from carrying all of life’s responsibilities while guarding your damaged heart that still slips out the window like a teenager and falls in love with the wrong guy anyway 

The desperate need to believe in fairy tales because maybe, just maybe, you could have a happily ever after too

The sleep that finally comes to give you just enough strength to make it through one more day so you can do it all over again