Maybe it’s not a Crush. Maybe You’ve Just Figured Out what You’re Looking for.

“You make my heart beat like the rain

Surround me

Hold me deep beneath your weight

And every night my mind is running around her

Then it’s getting louder and louder and louder

Baby you’re like lightning in a bottle”—BØRNS “Electric Love”

I’ve been back out there in the dating world for a about a month now. I’ve gone on a variety of lack luster dates with a variety of men. I’m casually dating someone I will never seriously date. But for me, the real story is that I have developed a crush on someone. It’s been two decades since I’ve had a crush. I don’t know what to do with myself.

Our first meeting was at an event for the business he and my brother run. He’s become one of my brother’s best friends over the last year or so. Recently, they even became roommates.

Initially I found him attractive, funny, and genuinely nice. I certainly took more care with my hair, makeup, and clothes if I knew he’d be around. I wouldn’t have said no to a date, but it wasn’t more than a passing interest. The first time I saw him interact with my kids, however, my feelings became more focused.

My kids and I were visiting my brother at his apartment. I was very nervous about how things would go with the roommates. I never know how hard things will be for my son, who is neurodivergent, or how intolerant other people will be.

My crush was not bothered by my kids at all. On the contrary, he went out of his way to be kind to them. He bought pizza for everyone, including a special pizza for my son, who has food allergies. At one point he went to the store to pick up something and came back with gummy bears. He offered them to my kids and was not at all phased when my son asked for red ones only. He just picked the red ones out of the pile like it was the most normal thing ever.

As nice as that was, it is pale against the moment that changed my casual interest into a crush. He was doing dishes when my son asked to helped. I watched from across the room as a man I hardly knew carefully handed my son one dish at a time, showing him where to put each one in the dishwasher.

Tears were perched on the edges of my eyes. I willed them not to fall, afraid someone might notice my emotions. My son’s father could never have been so patient and kind. I could feel my heart change.

Every interaction between my crush and my kids has been that way. After my daughter dyed her hair, her dad’s first comment was that he thought the new color made her look sick. My crush’s first comment was, “How’d the kids at school like your hair? I bet they thought it was awesome!” That was exactly what she needed to hear.

When my kids called their dad to wish him happy Easter, my ex-husband played an April Fool’s Day joke on them which consisted of telling them he took a job in Alaska and would be moving away. When my son wanted to know if the Easter bunny left any presents or eggs at his house, my ex-husband’s response was that the Easter Bunny left some chocolates for him, not the kids.

My crush brought my kids candy. He sat on the floor and played trains with my son after Easter dinner. He ran around the back yard, played games, and blew bubbles with my kids. They all had a blast. I took pictures. Looking at them makes me cry.

I’ve never been able to imagine that any man could treat my kids that way.

I dream about him.

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