Almost a mother, almost a wife on Mother’s Day

Kids Say the Darnedest ThingsThis past Sunday, I was sitting at the dinner table with my family—my niece and nephew, brother and sister-in-law, my beau, my dad and last, but not least, my mom. With the exception of the Warrior Poet and I, everyone was feasting on two scrumptious desserts when my 6-year-old nephew, who adores his tía, said he counted three mothers at the dinner table: “Mom, grandma and Tía [me].”

Considering that I have no biological or adopted children, I was a bit puzzled. I was a bona fide cat mom until a couple months ago, sure, and my family has a habit of saying Happy Mother’s Day to everyone. My nephew’s earnest grinning reminded me that the closest I’ve come to parenting was caring for him and his sister over the years.

I think it was my brother who asked his son what his criteria was for being a mother. He responded with a laugh, admitting he didn’t know what the word ‘criteria’ meant.

Almost a Mother

After the question was rephrased, my nephew clarified, “You’re almost a mother.”

“Why is she almost a mother?” my own mother asked.

The impish first-grader replied, “Because she has almost a husband.” He pointed to the Warrior Poet, whom he’s embraced with glee during the multiple family visits and holidays, as he’s not afraid to get playfully hands-on with my nephew.

Treating his observation seriously, my nephew was asked, “How does having an almost husband make Tía an almost mother?”

He responded, “Well, when you get married, then you have children.”

There was laughter and a little bit of embarrassment. But come on–he’s 6 and adorable. The Warrior Poet knows me well, but I wouldn’t put it a different person in a different relationship to stage that sort of cuteness. I was even getting paranoid that my family members would think that we were pregnant and that my nephew had somehow picked up on it.

Warrior Poet replied, “Well, I can’t argue with that logic.”

I sighed a breath of relief as the topic of conversation shifted. It’s not that we haven’t ever talked about the future. The fact that we plan to be together is a given in both of our minds. We’ve even discussed the kind of spare but lovely ceremony we’d like to have if we get married. We’ve come up with endless imaginary children that we’d have. But it’s all fantastical mind-play.

Last night, while talking about insurance, the Warrior Poet said, “I could marry you so you can be sure you get good coverage, but that’s not very romantic.”

True, but does that mean he doesn’t plan to marry me any time soon?

Throwing Out the Ticking Clock

Though there is no need to put any pressure on our relationship, we are not getting any younger. If I ever have children, I will already be an at-risk pregnancy because of my health conditions. I’m over age 35, so that just ups the risk factor. My parents always point out that I could adopt, which both Warrior Poet and I would theoretically consider, but that’s not as big a concern as it once was for me.

As much as the Warrior Poet enjoys other people’s kids, I don’t think he really sees himself ever being a father. Which is fine, really. I went from wanting a soccer team of children to being resigned to the fact that I may never have children of my own. Yet I have nieces and a nephew, my friends’ kids, and I’ll probably wind up teaching children again sometime in the future. It’s not the same as having your own kids, but it might be enough to satisfy the urge to nurture.

A Mother’s Love

This Mother’s Day was the first in eight years where I haven’t been able to officially proclaim that I was a cat mom. It may sound ridiculous to people who don’t love animals and welcome them into their home or who don’t pour their love and attention into caring for their pets. But when you allow yourself, you can form such a strong and powerful bond with your animals. And for those of us who aren’t mothers of children, our fur babies can often feel like the next, best thing.

This is not a post to trivialize motherhood. My own mother is the epitome of compassion and self-less love. She raised her three children with grace and great strength, and, along with my dad, instilled in us empathy for others a strong moral code, drive for creative expression, deep appreciation for education and learning, and the ability to value all aspects of life—work, play and travel.

As for marriage, Warrior Poet says he gains inspiration from the marriage of my parents, and that he has the same realizations about our love that my dad has shared about his love for my mom. But where he was seriously looking at rings and such for his ex, despite how wrong they were for each other, I know that his mind is not there as far as we are concerned. We’ve signed on for another year of our lease, but he hemmed and hawed when our insurance agent suggested we might save in our respective car insurance bills if we got it as a couple.

Our almost decade younger friends, who have been dating one month longer than we have and had a horrifically tumultuous first year plus of their relationship, are certain that they will get married. The guy knows he’s going to propose soon. With her child in the picture, they have already become a lovely family.

We are not young. We know what we want in life and in love. We know we have a near ideal relationship (though we’re definitely not perfect, haha) for each of us. We always are talking about how happy we are and how lucky we are to have found one another at long last. But there’s an unspoken barrier about the future that feels strange to me.

 Not Yet…But Ever?

Warrior Poet has been with me the through some of the roughest times and been an awesome champion through that—so maybe he’s just waiting to see if I return to the super energetic and active woman with whom he first fell in love? It wouldn’t be the first time, by any mans.

Or maybe he’s scared to make a wrong decision about someone again. Or maybe he just realized he doesn’t want to participate in the institute of marriage. Or maybe deep down, a lifelong partnership is just not the way he sees his life going in reality.

This would have put me in full panic 4 or 5 years ago—it did in fact put me in panic in the relationship I was in at the time. Yet that was largely because I knew the person I was with was not meant for me in the long haul. I know I don’t actually shrivel up in three-and-a-half years when I turn 40, but being single at 40 would be a completely different ballgame than single at 34.

Either way, sweet nephew, while the Warrior Poet and I may be almost husband and wife in a lot of ways, we are most definitely not married, nor does it seem to be in the picture for my love any time soon. But I think he’ll still be around to fake-wrestle with for a while longer yet.

Are You Really Ready to Love In Sickness and In Health?

Are You Really Ready to Love in Sickness and in HealthA Picture of Illness in Action is Worth a Thousand Words

In the year and a half that the Warrior Poet and I have been together, I’m managed to keep this part of me hidden from my love. It wasn’t a conscious decision for me to hide it from him; it just turned out that way. He just happened to catch me in a mostly good spell. And while I had occasional flare ups outside of his company, I had never showed signs of my movement disorder in front of him. He never had to see me at my weakest.

I never had to ask him the question I’d wound up having to ask several men before him: Are you really ready to love in sickness and in health?

Read the rest of my article at Singles Warehouse to find out if WP is ready to step up to the plate:

Given a Second Chance at Love, When is it Worth the Risk?

second-chanceI know I’m not really fooling anyone. At my core, behind certain walls erected to better protect me, underneath the heartbreaks and bruises, I am an incurable romantic. I believe in the trans-formative power of love; both to the receiver and the giver. And yes, I suppose there is a part of me that still believes that true love is worth fighting and waiting for, that it reigns supreme in the end. Yet I recently was put in the position to question myself: Given a second chance at love, when is it worth the risk?

Read more about how I fouled up the first time, what I think about do-overs in life, and whether I think second chances are really worth the risk over at Singles Warehouse:

Can Two People Love Each Other Equally In a Relationship?

heart-shadowGrowing up, some of my favorite books told the tragic stories of unrequited love, even if the individuals miraculously would up together in the end. It’s not surprising, really, as my adolescent life was littered with unrequited crushes—my falling head over heels with guys who liked me a lot but never wanted to take things to the next level and boys who were infatuated with me in whom I had no romantic interest.

Thankfully that has changed dramatically in my adulthood, but I have noticed an interesting trend in adult romantic relationships as well. In any relationship, it’s inevitably that there will be ebbs and flows of imbalance at different times. Overall though, I have noticed in almost all of my relationships and that of my friends that there is usually one partner who is at least slightly happier about the state of the relationship than the other and who seems to care more and hold the other in higher esteem.

So can two people ever really love each other equally in relationships?

Find out what I have to say on the topic at Singles Warehouse:

The Power of Love to Transform an Embittered Heart

brokenheart-300x257Over the years, I’ve learned not to give up on the power of love to transform an embittered heart. I’ve seen too many instances that contradict that timeworn saying: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” The latest example that turned this adage on its head: My former FWB has ditched his list and has fallen fully in love.

Ditch The Dating Checklist?

You know The List. Your potential mate checklist. Chances are, you’ve had one of your own at some point in your dating life. You may very well still have it. If you’re still unclear what I’m talking about, let me give you an example: he must be at least 5’11”, athletic, not bald, never been married, no kids, well-educated, make more money than I do—you get the picture.

Find out how my former FWB finally dumped his cynicism, ditched his dating checklist and found the light of love on the other side in my post on Singles Warehouse:

Upon Turning 35, a Final Look Back

IMG_1866When I first began my pity party path to recognizing and acknowledging the blessings of turning 35, I wasn’t sure how the experience would play out. I couldn’t predict what it would feel like having to come up with 35 truly positive things about my life as it is now, without only citing banal, yet genuine daily items of gratitude that might put you to sleep. To be honest, some days were harder than others—not because I didn’t feel truly grateful for things in my life, but rather I didn’t know exactly how to express feelings into words on a screen.

Yet here on this final day—the day of turning 35—I can honestly say I have earned every single virtual candle on that birthday cake. I cherish all the experiences I’ve had in my life—both amazing and not so great, the ordinary day-to-day and the life-changing moments, as well as the expected and the surprises. They have helped shape and mold me into the person I am today. While flawed, still constantly growing and learning, I happen to appreciate and like the person whom I’ve become.

Upon turning 35, today I am grateful for…

1.I am grateful for having made it through to the other side of some very dark days. I’ve lived through some pretty rough experiences, both physically and emotionally, and I’m proud to be able to say I truly am a stronger and better person for it. Instead of staying in a wallowing, poor-me state that would’ve been so easy to do, I kept pushing ahead, learning from my challenges, and grown to further understand the human spirit. My compassion and empathy for others, while always rather keen, has expanded so much more and is very much broader in scope.

2. I am so grateful to have found a career where I can use those difficult experiences I’ve been through to help counsel and educate others. I eventually discovered and built my own virtual support groups many years ago. Yet it would have helped me even more to have a personal mentor who was both knowledgeable about what I was going through and who could also help show me how I could improve my health without simply telling me which medications to take and to go get treatments that would just keep me stuck at a plateau. I envisioned this career for so many years without knowing exactly how I would get here, so when it did finally show up, I just about cried. This is what it was for.

3. I am grateful for all the people who have touched my life over the years. My brothers who were my second set of parents, making sure I never got into too much trouble, who kept me humble, kept me in giggles and made sure I felt loved. The teachers who recognized and encouraged my skills and talents, who made sure I had the support to blossom academically. Different friends I’ve made along the way—people to talk, laugh, cry, and share endless memories with. Acquaintances who have crossed my path—casual compliments that meant more to me than I could thank them for. Strangers who have gone out of their way to help me up a mountain or make sure I navigated through a foreign city. Old classmates or family friends who remember something I did or said to them, what feels like a lifetime ago, that made a huge impact on them. The romantic partners who’ve taught me so much about loving and relating, while learning about what makes them tick, shapes who they are and how they love, and revealing so much of the same in myself through my experiences with them. My fellow health coaches who inspire me every single day, and who have been so amazingly warm, uplifting and supportive—you are all beautiful, loving superstars! I could go on and on, but thank you, thank you, thank you.

4. I am thankful for the white hairs. I am thankful for snow fingers and shoulders. I am thankful for the stiff joints in the morning. I am thankful for the reminders of the joy of sports played hard, of a life well lived and a life lived to its fullest. And I know this sounds incredibly strange, but I am thankful for the health issues that have taught me so much about the mind-body connection, about listening to and honoring my body and the importance of self care, a lesson that had to be beaten into me. I am listening. I know. I am ready to move into my next phase of living.

5. I am thankful for yet another year to experience awe. To live life to the fullest. To laugh. To love. To cry. To sing from my heart. To embrace my inner child. To savor what I’ve got. To dream. To go after those dreams and make them my reality. To give thanks for another year, another month, another day, this breath…

My One Week Countdown to 35: To Love and Creativity

To Love and Creativity!

DSC00444Day 5 is Dedicated to My Love

1. I am grateful to My Love for showing me real, unconditional love from a romantic partner. Loving me as exactly, completely me. Loving with kindness, compassion and patience. Love without judgment. Love without co-dependency. Love without jealousy.

2. I am grateful to My Love for being so open, honest and true. For baring everything and letting me in. For letting down any walls that would be so easy to have built up over these years. For giving me the chance to finally feel free to let myself dive in deeply to genuinely feel and give unconditional love.

3. I am grateful to My Love for listening to my dreams, encouraging my dreams and sharing my dreams. He’s even reawakened me to even more dreams, ideas, and visions for the future, as well as outlooks on life, the universe, and the human spirit.

4. I am grateful to My Love for knowing all my secrets, while believing I’m wonderful anyway. J I get misty-eyed knowing the admiration and respect he holds for me, without putting me on a pedestal, and for realizing my imperfections make me perfectly me.

5. I am grateful for My Love for welcoming me into his family of relatives and friends as openly and warmly as he has. I am also very thankful that he has equally wanted to know my own family of relatives and friends.

IMG_1673Day 6: Creativity

1. I am grateful for having never fully given up the inner child’s openness to inspiration and freedom of expression. Whether it’s been through creative writing, music, photography or art, I feel I have always had a toe dipped into that beautiful, blessed well that always feeds my spirit and positively infects the spirits of others.

2. As much as I complained about how my little fingers hurt, I am eternally grateful to my father for teaching my brothers and I the fundamentals of beginner’s blues guitar. “Betty And Dupree,” “Frankie and Johnny” and “Step it Up and Go” will be forever burned in my memory. But even more, the joy of hearing sounds come through my fingers and out of my voice birthed a lifetime love affair I will forever nurture.

3. I am extraordinary grateful for my opportunity to have (very independently, ha) record an album in my youth…actually, with my big brother, there are two albums floating around, aren’t there? And I’m extremely grateful for all the ways I’ve performed, from open mics to shows. I’ve made great friends and fans. Thanks to those who continue to encourage me to keep getting back out there.

4. I am grateful for Mrs. Jan Augusta for being the first teacher to tell me that I could write. I’ll never forget that story about “Magic Shoes” that inspired a lifetime of living in my imagination, and spending hours upon hours trying to translate it to paper (or computer). I’m grateful for my mother for reading to me all those years, for teaching me to read at such a young age, and for giving me a love of libraries. I’m grateful for those who’ve fed my adult literary adventures. From my parents to one of my oldest friends Jenn who once threatened me “Finish this story, or I will kill you!” From my writing critique partners, especially Laura Tien, to the different writing groups/classes with such amazing writers as fellow classmates. To that boyfriend who read every. Single. Story. I’d. Ever. Written. Trust me—even at 18, it was a LOT to the one who read my most recent novel, whose judgment I trust with my life.

5. I am grateful that my life continues to my lead me to a career that embraces my use of my creativity more and more, whether I am teaching old fogey music to hip, young kids, writing articles about inspiring people who touch people’s hearts, taking images that capture awe or sharing my story so that others can relate. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Day 4: Meet The Parents

Yes, I fell off the wagon of the 30-Day Blogging Challenge, but I haven’t given it up entirely. Thanks for being so patient for this next installment: Day 4—Meet the Parents

What can I say about my parents? I am probably closer to them than the average 30-something—not only because I currently live with them. I have a very open and honest relationship with my mom and dad, sometimes too much so. Yet I appreciate that more than not really knowing them at all.


We have a complicated history, partially because my parents have a complicated history. I grew up thinking we had a perfect family. That’s what everyone said. My two older brothers and I had cool parents who were still married to each other. My dad played bass in my brother’s rock band. My mom looked many years younger than she actually was, and she somehow managed to be everywhere for three kids who played three or more sports each. My parents never argued. They gave us so many things, both tangible and intangible, and our family trips were legendary.

Yet behind all that were some secrets that I discovered by accident when I came home from school one day at the age of 12 or 13. A few years later and over the course of time, a story came out about my parents that I was shocked by. I felt betrayed, as if I didn’t really know them as well as I thought I did. Their marriage hadn’t been as perfect as I thought it had been. My parents were human and flawed!

After therapy and many, many talks with my father, I have reconciled my visions of my perfect family with a great childhood with wonderful parents who struggled more than I ever knew. I recognized the strength and courage they have, the amazing capacity for forgiveness, grace, true love that withstands the storms and battering of time and comes out even stronger and more beautiful as they grow into their older years.

My parents have aged gracefully, looking and behaving years younger. They still hold hands, truly enjoy each others company and love to travel together, whether it’s a short ride to Vermont to see the foliage or a trip across the country, to take in all the tastes and sights on Park City, UT. They will be renewing their vows this December on their anniversary.

They are very proud grandparents now. Watching my father grow into the grandfather role is a beautiful thing. In my early childhood, I don’t have as many memories with him as I’d wish beyond teaching me music, but he made up for it with art projects, storytelling, road trips, brainstorming for school projects and just by being a cool all-around dad as I got older. So seeing him so active in the lives of my very young niece and nephew and having so much fun with them is awesome.

My mother is such a beautiful person, inside and out. She was always there in my childhood, reading me stories at night, teaching me all the things that would make me succeed in school, cheering me on at my sports games and meets and always being an ear for me to talk to and a shoulder for me to lean on. She is still so much that way today.

Both my mother and my father have been amazingly supportive and patient as I have been on this incredibly long and frustrating, sometimes quite scary, struggle with my health. They have been there with their time, their presence, their love and their cheers.

My dad has challenged me not to give up and to fight harder to get where I want to be. He has driven me around kingdom come for the last almost two years.  He has sat in doctor’s offices, steered the wheelchair, driven me to dates, town hall meetings and interviews, while also taken me to run my errands. I have thanked him many times with words and hugs, but I stunned him when I got him an iPad for Father’s Day.

When he said, it was too much, I replied, “For the times when you have to wait for me in the car or waiting room for so long. I can thank you so many times with words, but I just want you to know how much I truly appreciate how much of your time and energy you give for me.”

My mother shifted her life to work out of the home full-time so that she could be there for me whenever I needed her care. I know it was very stressful in the early days when my health was so chaotic, and it meant so much to me just having her sitting next to me while she typed away on her computer—I wasn’t alone.

Today was her last day of work. She dropped off her badge and computer, and happily retired. It gives me great joy to see the woman who has worked so hard for our family to finally get some rest. She will sleep. She will travel. She will have time to rediscover her passions and discover new ones for the first time. She deserves an incredible retirement. Both of my parents do together.

I love them both more than I can possibly express in words. They are an inspiration, two of my best friends and the best parents a girl could have.

Blog Day 3: First Love, Mix Tapes and Combat Boots

In my senior year of high school, everything seemed to be falling into place as it should. I was accepted into all the colleges I applied to and could attend my dream school. I was eager to start the new chapter of my life all the way across the country, but for the time being, I was committed to making the last months of my childhood count.

Bye Bye Birdie

I was one of the stars in the school musical that spring, and one of the boys for whom I had secretly harbored a crush, who played my father in the musical, had given me flowers on opening night. I was tickled until I realized he had also given flowers to my “brother” and my “mom.”  While I knew he did like me romantically, we never went there, but we’d been playing a silly dance most of high school and even a couple years in middle school.

Growing up in the suburbs where I thrived yet still never quite felt I totally fit in, at least when it came to real romantic relationships, was another reason I was looking forward to getting out of my town: new blood and hopefully new mindset. And truthfully, I was sort of glad I had kept mostly out of the messy world of dating—I had seen how it had derailed too many of my former friends.

Still, since we spent so much time together through the weeks of rehearsal, I somehow found myself venting about my past romantic ups and downs to my musical “mom.”

“I have a friend that I think would actually be good for you,” she said. “He’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known.”

I asked her why she wasn’t dating him, but I knew her type: a boy with an edge. He wasn’t it. The one picture she had of him left me uncertain if I would find him attractive in person, but I was willing to give it a try. He had the Vania seal of approval, after all.

Dianthus and Letter Source:

My future boyfriend was a freshman in college at the time. It sounds old-fashioned to think of it now—in the age of IMs, text messaging and having entire relationships play out on Facebook—but because he didn’t live close by, we began our courtship with letters. You know, those things you write longhand on actual paper, stick in an envelope with a stamp, and the other person receives it in a day or even longer.

Through these letters, C and I shared our interests, our hopes, our dreams and our fears. I learned the gentleness of his heart, how he’d help an elderly stranger get out of his car, by physically lifting him. I knew which movies made him cry. I knew what his family life was like, that his father had been born in Poland and came here at the age of 11 and this his older sister also still lived at home.

And then, C introduced me to the magical wonder of mix tapes. Songs from bands and I’d never heard of like Screaming Trees, Dinosaur Jr. and The Pixies were carefully selected and arranged to be the best musical experience, telling a story from the heart. After all the heavily produced pop I’d digested after an early childhood of hair metal bands, I never realized how music could be such a personal expression, yet its universality could touch the hearts of young adults all across the country.

We eventually got up the courage to talk on the phone, and we spent hours every night, finally feeling like we’d found someone of the opposite sex who truly got us. The mix tapes got more personal, conveyed specific meaning and emotion. When I received them in the mail, and eventually in person, I felt like I was getting a little piece of him.

John Constantine by ~xEmoxRazorbladex

Our first date, a double date with Vania and one of C’s friends, was a disaster. We were awkward around each other, and his physical presence didn’t match what I’d envisioned in my mind. He was more than a foot taller than me and had an imposing physical presence with his wide upper body, prominent sideburns and black combat boots on very big feet.

Somehow, though, we got over our awkwardness. Our phone calls up to our second date got more intimate as we imagined what it would be like to kiss. After we experienced the beauty of that, accompanied to a mix tape with plenty of Sinatra, it was obvious that we were falling quickly for each other.

That first summer together was full of beautiful memories. Holding hands on walks in the park. Talking for hours on end about anything and everything. Sharing favorite movies and TV shows (Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, MST3K, etc.) with each other. Introducing each other to our families—more on that later.

C was a brilliant artist. I allowed him to draw me, but I fell in love with his pictures of other characters. He was fascinated with graphic novels, and he got me to nurse an obsession for Sandman especially, but also Books of Magic.

That summer we also shared some magically awkward times.  Having fun with some peanut butter, and getting caught half-clothed with a cop behind a huge flashlight at a park after dark. Attempting to go past third base literally on a baseball diamond, only to get the town cops discovering us a little bit later again. Finally getting right in my house downstairs, while everyone was asleep upstairs.

Before I left for college, I went with my family to Europe. We were heartbroken to leave each other, but I couldn’t get out of the trip. In the end, I was so glad not to miss that incredible experience with my grandmother, parents and one of my brothers. We wrote each other every day and kept those letters to give each other when I got home.

Not too much later, I went to college all the way across the country, in California. While I missed him, I was also very excited to be in a brand new place, meeting cool people and experiencing great things. Meanwhile, C was at home getting more lonely and depressed, and his Italian mother was giving him hell for dating a girl who wasn’t his “race.”

Don’t ask me what came over me, but I actually wrote a several pages long letter to this woman sticking up for myself as an individual and as a sum of my parts. I told her how much I loved her son and never wanted to hurt him, that I respected him and her. However, I told her it wasn’t fair to make him feel bad for following his heart. We never became friends, believe it or not, but she talked to C about my letter and apologized. From that point on, she became a little more open, a little friendlier.


Anyway, I digress. C and I were young kids in love. C was the one left behind. He felt sad that I was having fun without him. I felt guilty that I was discovering new things without him. We talked about our relationship, how we could keep it strong if I stayed in California. Long story short, I made the crazy decision to drop out of school and move back East.

Yes, you can guess where this all leads. But first, there were some really good things that came out of this. My journey as a singer/songwriter really blossomed during this time. I wrote dozens and dozens of songs. I wrote fiction, I wrote an editorial that was published. I started working with children. By the summer, I was so itching to be back in school that I started attending classes back home.

As for C and I, I managed to get him to take a trip to Washington D.C. with me. He was biggest cheerleader and champion for my writing. We met each other’s extended families. We had sleepovers.

But I eventually found myself restless and resentful. This wasn’t my life anymore. This was his life that I was trying to convince myself and everyone else was ours.

I withdrew from our relationship long before I finally did the right thing and end it. By then, I had gone back to California. I felt guilty but I was starting to be happy again. A really good friend was turning into more. I loved my classes and liked my new roommates. I was having fun taking full advantage of all the great things the Bay Area had to offer. I knew C would never forgive me. But I had to be fair to him and let him go.

I believe it was a year or two when we next corresponded again. We broached the subject of seeing each other just to say hello, at a mall with his best friend along for support. He eventually canceled because he told me he was still in love with me, still in too much pain. A couple years later, even after he’d dated someone else, he wrote that he still had never really gotten over me.

Tattooed couple -Brendan Ó Sé

Then, silly ol’ Facebook happened. Once I joined and he finally joined, I tried to add him a couple times, just so I knew he was okay.   He ignored me again and again. Then, one day, out of the blue I thought, he added me. The next day, I saw his status changed to “married” and numerous photos of him and his new bride. There were a perfect pair–big folk with numerous tattoos, and most important to me, they looked truly happy together.

It was so surreal to see photos of his parents and brother and sister again. His mom looked as bitter as ever. His little brother was all grown up. I later saw his sister at a grocery store, but she had her nose in the air as usual and didn’t see me. She recently got married as well.

Life moves on. Letting go enabled C to move on and find the perfect woman for him. It allowed me four years of a truly loving and happy relationship with that friend who quickly became my boyfriend. And I’ve had so many other eye-opening experiences since then.

C taught me how to open up my heart, how to truly communicate with someone—about both the good things and the hard things, and he taught me what love was really all about. I’m only sorry I didn’t honor that love as much as I should have, as much as he deserved.

30-Day Blogging Challenge, Day 1: Me in a Nutshell

Inspired by Miss Jess Downey, I have decided to start the 30-Day Blogging Challenge. Most of my readers know I tend to write long, emotional entries about the ups and downs of my dating life. I thought this would be a nice alternative to get me in the habit of blogging more regularly and to perhaps allow me to reveal a side of me that you don’t often get to see.

So first, a little about me: I am, as my pseudonym implies, single in my 30s. This is a rarity. While this blog has revealed a serial dater, I am more a serial monogamist. Except for brief interludes, I have basically been in serious romantic relationships since the age of 17…until more recently, hence this blog.

In addition to blogging about dating and relationships, I write about health and wellness. It’s a subject I know more intimately than I ever expected I would, and I have turned it into my strength, rather than a weakness. I also am on leave from being the editor/writer for online daily hometown news.

I currently live in Connecticut again, where I grew up. With my parents, and there is an extremely good reason for that. I also live with my 5-year-old cat, who is not my substitute child, though he sure is loved.

And now for 15 interesting facts about myself.

1. I have lived in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Connecticut, California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Yes, Las Vegas, baby!

2. Up until grade 5, I wore my hair in braided pigtails nearly every single day of school. I was long known in my hometown for those and my begged-for tumbling displays at recess.

3. After locking myself in the bathroom when I was a kid, I never close any door at my home all the way shut…unless the niece and nephew are sleeping over because I need those precious hours of sleep in the morning.

4. I have traveled cross-country several times and been to Toronto, the Bahamas, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, England, Switzerland, Austria, The Netherlands, Thailand and Nepal. Has that satisfied my wanderlust? It’s only just scratching the surface.

5. The reason I went to Toronto was to meet a man I stumbled across on the Internet…back in the ’90s. We had spent a couple months IMing, video chatting and talking on the phone beforehand. I still count it as one of the best weeks of my life.

6. While I have had multiple sprains and strains growing up as a competitive gymnast, soccer player and track and field athlete, I only broke a bone once. It was in Germany when I was 16, insisting on playing soccer with the boys just like I had since I was 5. After the hard fall, I kept playing, and in fact didn’t get treated for it until I was in France several days later.

7. I am 5 feet and have been a lightweight most my life, but I am very strong. I have literally pulled down trees, yanked out bushes, and carried sheet rock more than twice my size. I was an indoor rock-climbing maniac thanks to my arm strength. In middle school, I broke the record for doing the most pull-ups for a girl. A little more than a year ago, I finally broke my own record. Not bad for an ole’ gal.

8. I was 17 when I had my first real kiss. I was 17 when I had a lot of other firsts.

9. I am the proud aunt of an almost 4-year-old nephew and an almost 2-year-old niece. They are adorable, funny and incredibly smart.

10. I have a strong fear that I will never be able to have children of my own one day, biologically or otherwise.

11. I tend to organize potato chips by size and M&Ms by color before I eat them.

12. I am a true melting pot, with African, Bulgarian, English, French and Native American heritage (and probably more.)

13. I haven’t been legally been able to drive a car since January 2010 for health reasons. It is one of my biggest frustrations.

14. I hate reading directions, but I am a great troubleshooter, creative cook and baker as a result.

15. I have recorded an album, become a professional writer, traveled to incredible places, swum with the dolphins and knocked off so many things from my “bucket list.” But I still think that bucket list won’t carry much weight for me until I find that lifelong love. In spite of everything, I’m still a romantic, so sue me.