The Trouble With Rhubarb


I take these kids from a private school to London and around from time to time. They’re great fun, and we have a laugh. On the way there is this old rhubarb stall down one of the country lanes. It sells rhubarb and just rhubarb for £1 a bunch. You take the stuff and leave your pound. No-one mans it, and it appears to be open 24/7.

I have often joked with the kids that no-one could possibly need emergency rhubarb. I have a picture of a cook in a manor house screaming at the kitchen maid that someone has taken the last rhubarb, and now the master will have none for his tea! After all Rhubarb, for all those that have never tried it, is not the nicest vegetable in the world. Its sweet like a fruit, but more like grapefruit that strawberries, it’s coarse and tough and has to be boiled over til it goes squidgy. Its stringy like celery, and its leaves are poisonous. It has practically no cooking use except for being a perfect accompaniment for apples in a crumble.

Anyway, so todays trip went fine, and on the way back, I did what my online friend told me to do recently. I was driving down the M3, the same place where my ex fiance told me just 4 weeks ago she didnt want to be with me and I listened to my conscience. Then, the thought of this emergency rhubarb came back to me. The whole idea of the old cook, trying to think of what to stick in her crumble instead of rhubarb.

My ex as you probably now know, has a now 3 yr old daughter. She’s adorable, cute, funny. A great kid, and I miss her desperately.

As a mother, my ex has a different agenda to some women. She has to think about her daughter too when picking a partner, so its really important that the daughter likes the new guy. She needs to know that the new guy is capable of looking after both of them, wont hurt them in any way, and specifically, that he loves both her and her young one.

Now, I was up for that. I had fallen for both of them in a big way. I expected it to be much harder than a normal relationship, but I was totally prepared to bring up another mans daughter as my own, even though I knew that in later rebellious years she would tell me over and over that I’m not her dad, even though I knew that people would always wonder what I was up to with a teenage girl that wasn’t mine, even though her real father would eventually start sniffing around as soon as we married as he wouldnt have to pay maintenence anymore, even though my ex didnt want me to adopt her, but just to change her name, which meant I had no rights in a divorce.

Despite all that, and always being in second place, the second concern in the heart of the one I love, I was happy, delighted for that chance.

I was changing careers for them, moving to a place I couldn’t afford for them, studying and working all the time, so I could take them out and buy them things. I liked it, I was happy doing it. And no-one would tell me I was taking a chance, or trying too hard because they knew I was in love, and they couldnt stop me

The thing is, that even though I was happy to be second best to her daughter, I wasnt happy ever to be third best or even fourth best sometimes. I realised that her family, or work, or sometimes her friends were more important to please. I was jealous of this. I hated thinking of myself as so unimportant, so unrequired.

I have since realised that I am selfish, that I do demand attention, and it was this attention she didnt have the time for. I need to be needed, and I was not needed. That was my problem. Obviously, there were other things that went wrong too, but in the end, if I didnt care about myself so much, I could have gotten over the minor problems.

She understood this much better than me, probably because her responsibilities were so much greater. She knew that in the end, I needed more than she was prepared to give, and that we had been living on borrowed time. She hoped that I would find a way to change, adjust or make do, but I didnt, I couldn’t, it just wasn’t me. I needed something else, something more exclusive. Something unique and individual to me. I needed Rhubarb.

Dating a single parent is very very hard.

So, I’m taking a stand with this blog, once and for all. I’m listening to my conscience and admitting my mistakes. I was not the right man for her, I know that now. I dont hold any grudges, she chose correctly. She chose for her daughter. She chose for her future. She chose something else, and thats fine.

There will always be a part of me that loves her, but I have learnt to let her go and to hang on to my sanity. I have a new life ahead of me now, with a new place to live, and soon a new job. And if my online keep fit buddy keeps pushing me, a new body shape soon…lol.

I am moving on, to something different. I will never forget her, but know if I had the chance to live the last 16months exactly the same, despite all the misery and heartache at the end, I would do so. And I would love it all over again.

I really genuinely hope she finds what she is looking for, and that she will be happy. I know it will be hard for me to see her around with someone else, but my life must go on.

For my part, I now know one of my weaknesses, and so know another thing I should be looking for.

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~ by eggplantinspace on May 30, 2008.

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