Dating is wasted on the young
Most like an arch, this marriage, two weaknesses that lean into a strength. John Ciardi
He was a single 25 year old Metro bus driver looking to start making music on the side. I was an unmarried mother of four month old twins looking to start making music again on the side. And for four months we did. Until I did what I am prone to do- wander off to Colorado with the kids and my partner in tow.
He became an unmarried 34 year old Metro bus driver with a history of troubled relationships. I became a 34 year old unmarried single mother of twins, raising them alone since age four, and working in bands in Colorado…with a history of failed relationships.
Following our brief musical experience, our only contact was through about seven random phone calls over eight years where we caught up on life and both wondered why it was so hard to find a soul mate.
On one of those phone calls, however, he announced he had a layover in Denver and wondered if he could stop by on his way to a golf tournament in Florida.
Why not? It will just be a one time meeting and then I’ll get back to my life.
I could not remember what he looked like as I waited for passengers to disembark. He did not know my last name and could not figure out a way to contact me when his plane was late.
But a month later he flew back to Denver and proposed in Taco Bell. Six months later we were married in his parents’ living room. And six months after that I quit my teaching job, moved back to the Northwest, and we started our lives together.
But we never dated.
We jumped into life together not actually knowing each other. We raised children together. We paid bills and earned a decent living together. When Tim finally retired in 2006, my mom had a stroke, and he became a caregiver, companion, and friend for her next nine years. He took care of grandchildren while I worked, a joy we shared after I retired and my mom passed.
But we never dated.
Until now. In our seventh decade.
In the space created by a move to the desert and a downsized life, we are finally getting around to getting acquainted. We go to movies and sit across restaurant tables and have long, deep conversations. We walk together under starry skies reminiscing and sharing our deepest woundedness and our quiet joys. And we literally fill in gaping holes in our knowledge of each other’s history because we never got to know each other.
Now we embrace dating spontaneously with the reckless abandon of youth. But unlike those who do so in youth, we date with an acute awareness of the numbering of our days, which makes every moment more precious than the one before.
In this season, this “third act,” we are dating like we just met.
Because in almost every way
we just did.