I watched Boyhood recently and it unfolded in a way that I did not expect and frightened me in a way I never saw coming.
Patricia Arquette plays Olivia in writer/director Richard Linklater’s film that took over 12 years to film. Olivia is the single mom to Mason, the boy in Boyhood. While the journey is his, much of the story belongs to her. Olivia ends up navigating several difficult romantic relationships in the film and watching her do that completely terrified me.
Just days before watching Boyhood, I had decided finally to take that leap and set up an online dating profile. It has taken me years to get to this place where I feel like I might be ready to meet someone. I’m nervous about the entire process and completely overwhelmed.
My immediate takeaway from watching Boyhood was that I needed to delete my online dating profile ASAP. Single moms should never date. Nope. Just don’t do it. Close up your heart and lock it away. That is the only way to keep your family safe.
How else can you absolutely guarantee to keep scary guys out of your home? How else can you know for certain that your kids will be out of harm’s way? As someone who is only a risk-taker after analyzing all of the variables, I calculated that online dating was just too uncertain and unknown for me.
Luckily I have friends who are familiar with my absolute proclamations. “Don’t delete your profile! Give it a chance and see what you think!” Hmph … But then one of my closest friends said something that changed everything. “[In Boyhood] her kids were strong because their mom took risks and got hurt.”
So often we hear how mindful we should be as parents because our kids are watching. Eat a great diet and your kid will follow. Treat people with kindness and your child will do the same. Lock away your heart and throw away the key and say no to ever meeting someone or falling in love and … oh.
Sure I may think I am protecting my son from an abstract bad guy by avoiding romance, but there is a huge ripple consequence to that.
This weekend Patricia Arquette was honored with a Golden Globe® award for best supporting actress for her role in Boyhood. In her moving acceptance speech, she praised Linklater by saying, “You placed in my hands the part of Olivia, an under-appreciated single mother. Thank you for shining a light on this woman and the millions of women like her and for allowing me to honor my own mother with this beautiful character.”
Seeing Arquette win and listening to her speech was a beautiful moment. Single moms are complex and we sometimes have to grapple with some unconventional moments. You know, moments like deciding to leave the online dating profile up. For now.
Image source: Golden Globes® InstagramMore On