Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Where's the Abba?

Yesterday, on the way home from Gan, Raphaela was talking about the other childrens' fathers, and she asked in Hebrew, "Where's my Abba?"

The question didn't surprise me.  When we play with her dolls, there is always a mother and father and a baby.  She has playdates with friends who have two parents in the home.  Raphaela observes both fathers and mothers picking up their children at the end of the nursery day.  I have never tried to ignore the concept.

I answered her with the explanation that has been my standard response for at least the last year:  "There are many different kinds of families.  Some children like you live with their Mommy.  Some children live with Daddy.  Some live with two parents and some live with grandparents."  I then continue, "We are all special families, and I love you as big as space.  I will always love you and I will always be your Mommy."

She accepted my statement and we moved on without incident.

A phone call later that evening renewed thoughts about the traditional father-mother paradign.  A 51 year old divorced man had gotten my number from a matchmaker,  he wanted to speak and possibly set up a date.  He has three children who are relatively older, and he is apparently a very involved father, sharing custody with his ex-wife here in Israel.  He also travels a lot for business, and therefore we were unable to find a time that I did not have plans, and when he was in the country in the near future.

He sounded normal enough, and though 51 feels a bit old for me, (sperm quality, generational gap and all that) I am certainly willing to give him a chance; I find that I cannot truly asses another person unless we meet face-to-face.  I despise what I call "interview dates" on the phone, my experience with Israeli men has been that they use communication media to ask brusque business-like questions, in order to decide if I am even worth the cup of coffee.

We actually ended the conversation because Raphaela started crying in her sleep, and I needed to take care of my daughter.

After we hung up, I experienced an explosion of trepidations that ran the gammut:  Was I ready for dating and intimacy?  Could I love and accept someone else's children from a previous marriage?  Could he love and accept my daughter as much his own?   How do I really know if a man will make the right fit for me and my 'special family'?

I should be grateful and open to the idea, at the age of eight a wonderful man embraced me and my brother as part of the package when he married my mother.  I simply don't know if I am capable of the same generosity and virtue.


Marni said...

Ok, you aren't marrying him, you "might" meet for coffee. There is no reason to go though the plethora of "what-ifs" in your head before you have even formally met. Furthermore, 8 years is really not that much of an age gap, especially at your ages (You aren't 13 to his 21 afterall), and although you did not disclose the age of his children, judging by his age, they are presumably more or less adults, and out of the house, which means if you did marry this man, you would probably be viewed by his children more on par as their father's wife, rather than step-mom. Also, and not be be rude, but judging a 51 year old man on his "sperm quality" is equal to him judging your fecundity or lack thereof, on the fact you are 43. It is way too subjective and most people in their 40s and especially 50s probably don't want to be new parents anyways.

Doc said...

Marni, I agree with you in certain respects, and I know that thinking about the sperm quality of a 51 year old sounds really rude, but consider this: I actually would want to have another child, with a partner, a brother or sister for Raphaela. G-d Forbid we should have to deal with the knowledge of possible birth defects and such, and while I have not yet been on a date with him, I am not 21 (as you point out), and am dating for more serious and long term reasons. So I think about these things.

Marni said...

I understand, as I also tend to overanalyze. But if he sounds nice - just meet him. You can worry about the other stuff later. But I would also venture to guess he may not be interested in having more children in general, just judging by his age. He might just be seeking companionship, as men in their 40s and 50s who do decide they want children, tend to pursue women in their 30s.

koshergourmetmart said...

Give him a chance and disregard the sperm issue. Realistically, the chances you might have another baby are small. You are nearly 43.5 now. Let's say you dated for 6 months, were engaged for 3 months you would be appx 45. As you say you should be looking to the long term - companionship.

koshergourmetmart said...

you might want to talk over your fears with your mom and stepdad. Perhaps your mom had the same thoughts you are having and she may be able to relay some insights to you that will allay your fears. Your stepdad will be able to talk to you about it from his perspective.