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My friend Jason came over last night around 9:30pm to bring me a post-Christmas gift, a tin of his famous fudge – chocolate, peanut butter and butterscotch. He returned Sunday night from his family’s residence in Cincinnati and indicated on my voice mail he was quite board until we returned from Indiana. Jason and I have a knack for being able to sit and talk about any subject for hours on end. If one of us brings up a topic that is not as familiar, we race to the computer to research, and then discuss the new topic in depth. Like Jeff Carter from Ball State, Jason is very well-read, knowledgeable, and interested in many things. We sat and visited for an hour or so last night, and the topic turned to our new year resolutions. Jason indicated that since he was settled in a lovely house (mansion), had a great job, it was time to meet someone and begin building a family. I reminded him that he could adopt as a single parent, but that just does not seem to be something he wants. Finally he asked, “Aren’t you afraid of spending the rest of your life all alone?”

Before I got my piano, I would drive over to UD’s school of music and play in the practice rooms.One evening in February 1991, I walked out of my practice room and this young blond guy, sitting on the floor in the hallway, began applauding. He had left the library for his apartment and decided to cut through the music building to get out of the snow storm. Jason heard me playing some classical literature and stopped to listen – for well over an hour. We began chatting and decided to walk in the falling snow to Denny’s on Main Street. That evening, I learned Jason, then 21, grew up in an affluent Cincinnati suburb, was finishing up a business degree, and was a young man of many interests from sports to high culture. We spent several hours at Denny’s, chatting about all sorts of things, and it was clear that we had a good deal in common and would become friends.

Before Jason graduated from UD he had already secured a great position at NCR, one of Dayton’s largest corporations right next to the UD campus. Within a few years, Jason had worked his way up the corporate latter. I went on several excursions with him to search for a home in Oakwood, and helped him decorate and arrange the furniture and art work in his home. We flew to NYC several times to see shows and of course, it always involved shopping for his home. In 1999, I stepped back into my once very successful role as “the matchmaker” and introduced Jason to a fellow music teacher, Mark Reynolds. They hit it off and the nice thing was that Jason did not abandon our friendship as often happens in new relationships. The fall of 2001, Jason received a major promotion and agreed to head up one of the satellite companies in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Mark decided to move to Toronto, too, but neither Mark nor Jason seemed truly ready for the new move to a strange city and sharing a house together. Their relationship waned, Mark returned to Seattle to teach and conduct, and Jason returned to Oakwood, resuming his former position.

One evening in 2003, Jason had joined Matthew and myself for dinner (pre-Jose era), and Matthew mentioned that he was afraid I would be left all alone once he graduated from high school. I indicated that I hoped to have more sons to raise, and once that was completed, would probably return to work in or around New York. He seemed temporarily appeased until Jason began hammering away at my isolation. Both Jason and Matthew teamed up that evening, insisting that I should begin dating. We ran into Patricia Hill, the executive director of ACTION Adoption Agency, and she too voiced her opinion – in fact, she had attempted to play matchmaker within the year of Matt’s arrival. Pat, Matt and Jason seemed to have a great argument for each of my reasons to simply enjoy my life as a single father.

Tonight, after returning from seeing Narnia and eating at Burger King with Monte and Adam Stevens, a former student, now teaching mathematics here in the Dayton area, stopped by for a visit. After catching up on career-chat, Ben asked a lot of questions about my new life as a father. The question arose again – “Are you planning on spending the rest of your life alone?”

I explained that I have no plans for anything at the moment but raising my sons and continuing with my career. My professional and personal life changed drastically when I became a father, yet, I really do not miss it. My new role as director/producer for the individual productions of Matthew and Jose are more important than anything I have ever, or will ever produce. By the time I was 30 or 35, I had pretty much accomplished all I desired as far as my career and at age 35 it was time to begin planning my family. As I explained to Jason last night, and Ben tonight, there are many who can juggle raising children and dating/relationships, and I know, without a doubt, I could do both equally well. However, I only get one shot at being a good father for each son. Pat Hill insists that I should not deny my personal life – but I don’t feel as though I am.

Since beginning a new life as a single person and moving to Ohio in 1990, I have been in three substantial relationships – one cheated, one moved away and one did not like the fact I was receiving more attention at the adoption agency where we were both adopting separately. Over the years I have gone on a number of dates arranged by friends – dates that were both good and not so good – one, however, was so bad I wanted to fake my own death before the salads arrived! Both Jason and Ben, and even other friends, believe I have completely become immune to romantic feelings! LOL! I still read the menu, I just don’t order. I guess I have always been a loner for the most part, and finding someone special with whom to share my life is just not a crucial item on my life’s agenda. Of course, when I do discover I have become interested in someone, they are already taken, married, live over an hour away, or not interested in children.

Jason and Ben both seem to have a fear of being alone. Jason is almost 36, Ben is 24, and both seem urgent in their quest for a life partner. As I explained to Jason, being a dad is a priority, and with the great investments required for a healthy relationship, it would dig into my time with my sons.

I guess I am peculiar to many who know me, as I tend to get these questions often. I see my students, former students, friends and even members of my family yearning or searching for the “right person” and sometimes, I just do not understand the urgent investment applied in the search for the “right person.” I had one friend who seemed driven by his posted internet personal which seemed to border on an obsession. Although I readily supported his quest, I was curious by his need to fill the vacancy. I have known both family and friends who end one relationship and/or marriage, and immediately begin searching for the next. I am in no way criticizing anyone – I am merely attempting to understand why some individuals have certain needs in this particular arena.

When friends insist that I am denying myself companionship and love, I almost have to laugh for I feel that I am lacking in neither department. Perhaps I am missing the boat by not having someone with whom to plod through life, hand in hand, facing the plethora of life’s offerings, but I certainly do not feel as though I am missing out on anything… at the moment.

So, to answer Jason’s question (I know he will be reading this at 5:30am when he wakes to head to the gym before work), “Aren’t you afraid of spending the rest of your life all alone?”

No. I am not. I am not afraid of spending the rest of my life with someone, and I am not afraid of spending it alone. Life takes care of itself, often times, much better without us attempting to shape it. The future will be exactly what it is meant to be… hmmm… “que serra, serra?”

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December 2005
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