But I still couldn’t think about love and marriage. I couldn’t begin to process what I thought I might feel, so I just continued to observe.
It was the “laid back” approach I so excel at (the ability to ignore), although, “Too laid back is to be laid out” at times! Here’s what I saw:
Bachelor #5 offered to tend my younger sons so my daughter and I could do something special. When I returned late at night to pick the boys up, Bachelor #5 greeted me calmly at the door with a smile. He had laundry going, he had baked cookies, my middle son was running around playing and was as happy as he could be and my youngest had contentedly fallen asleep. When he woke up the next morning, my youngest son wanted only one thing: Bachelor #5.
Bachelor #5 had all 8 children (he has four, I have four) and their guests to his home for dinner so they could meet. He prepared the entire meal himself, for 14, while tending his granddaughter, my two youngest children and keeping an eye on his youngest son and his friends. I couldn’t believe it when I walked in the door for dinner; the kids were happily playing, he had everything under control, the meal was ready, and he was calm.
The question for me was, could Bachelor #5 REALLY be everything he seemed to be?
I consulted a trusted friend who always had a wise perspective and had given solid counsel many times in the past. She had some great thoughts and advice.
I consulted my sister. She said (more than once), “Andrea, you need to open your eyes and LOOK at this man. He is everything you need. He is everything you’ve ever wanted and you won’t let yourself see it. Marry him or not, but you HAVE to give him credit for being who HE is.” She told me to quit punishing him for the behavior of my former spouse.
She explained, “I think you are afraid, and I don’t blame you. I’ve been so worried about you, afraid you’d never dare love or trust anyone ever again after all you’ve been through. I’m so relieved that you seem to be open to attempting that. But you can’t hold what your first husband did against this man. I think you thought your first husband was so many things, and then he turned out to be none of them, so you won’t even let yourself see what THIS man actually IS.”
I struggled with that, yet I knew my sister was right. I tried to give Bachelor #5 credit for all he appeared to be, but it was not easy.
I didn’t really trust my opinion. Every person I introduced him to received the same plea from me, “Tell me honestly what you think. I HAVE to be missing something. Don’t tell me what you think I want to hear, tell me what terrible thing–fault, flaw, lie, problem–am I not seeing?” (You see, I had missed lies and flaws of epic proportions in my first husband and was terrified to be so blind, and not see such important things that would lead to making that same mistake, again.)
But how do you get past something like that? How do you get past…the past?