The Day My Mother Stopped Looking for Love

Not my Mother, but she was just as beautiful!

Not my Mother, but she was just as beautiful!




My mother was a stunningly beautiful woman. The oldest of nine children of first generation landowners, she grew up on a tobacco farm in the deep South. Unlike my sweet grandchildren, my mother never knew what childhood felt like. She told me stories about standing on a stool on cold winter mornings well before the sun came up making biscuits alongside her mother, warmed only by the wood-fired stove. When she shared the stories, she never smiled. She wore her anger and sadness all over that beautiful body.

What she wanted, second only to her freedom from taking care of her siblings, was to be a model. Tall, stately with the most beautiful long legs and perfect lips, she was something to behold. At 18 she was out the door. Working as a telephone operator to earn a living, she began to do some modeling at local department stores. She was finally on her way! Until, that is, a very handsome man showed up with enough charm to sweep Ava Gardner off her feet. Every woman loves a man in uniform and those Coast Guard whites must have done her in. Before she knew it she was married with three children soon to follow. That scene wasn’t in her dream, but then again, women’s dreams rarely came true in the 1940’s.


My Daddy died young and left a beautiful widow with three children to raise, but my mother never missed having her “hair done” and as they used to say, “always looked just like she stepped out of the band box”. Though we had very little money, she always looked beautiful, even when “nobody was coming”. And, she never lost her interest in a good-looking man.


Over the years, she dated men, many of whom were truly a mess. But, she kept that spark for love until she was about 60. That was the day I remember seeing her in a jogging suit and a pair of Keds. In the days that followed, she bought more jogging suits to wear and the dresses disappeared except when she went to work. The sparkle in her eyes seemed to dull and my beautiful mother seemed to grow older every day. Years later, I realized this was when she “gave up on men”.


This is how it goes for some people, and they don’t even have to be 60. The feeling that love isn’t worth the trouble, that they always choose the wrong people, that sense of hopelessness about ever finding love. Like my mother, they just put on those jogging suits and never take them off.


The search for love takes effort and it’s easy to feel it isn’t worth it. Perhaps it isn’t for some people. But, I’m here to tell you that finding love again is so worth all the effort it takes. Just because you’ve not yet found the person that makes your heart sing, because you think he/she isn’t out there or that you are too old, or your “chooser” is defective…making the decision to do whatever it takes and asking someone to walk with you while you open your heart to love can mean a sweeter, longer, more beautiful life. Companionship, touch, sharing your joys and sorrows…who doesn’t want that?


Before you settle into your jogging suit, ask yourself if you wouldn’t rather have a glass of wine or watch a sunrise with a handsome man or a beautiful, charming woman with dreams and passion that might just be yours too!

If you know someone who’s about to put on their jogging suit, please send them the link to this post. It may just be the thing that inspires them to keep their dresses rather than shipping them  off to Goodwill!


If you are tired of watching sunsets alone and are willing to do whatever it takes to find a special someone to share this next amazing chapter of your life, I’ll show you how and be there to hold your hand.

Email me at donna@donnasbigredchair.love or call 510-817-4242 to set up a time for a Complimentary Strategy Session with me. Let’s see what the NEW YEAR can bring to you!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big Red Chair

donna@donnasbigredchair.love    510-817-4242



Big Red Chair

Forget Jerry Maguire!


She drove 25 miles to meet me for lunch, and somehow though that’s what we do here in the Midwest, it still made me feel treasured. Not a friend yet, we’d only met once when I was still unpacking my things and the snow still sneaked up on us some mornings. It was a Meet-Up group, six women walking on a sunny day telling our stories as only women do when they hike.


I’ll admit complete ignorance really. About this area of the country that I’ve only seen out the windows of airplanes as I crisscrossed from California to Maine and back. Being a lifetime coastal dweller, looking down I’d try to imagine what it must be like to live down there in that flat land only bordered by each other in wide open spaces that go on forever.

I think of the Dust Bowl, of Steinbeck and those election years when whoever lived there seemed to pick our next President.


I didn’t remember much about Gayle except how sweet she was and her beautiful shiny face that looked as if it had never seen makeup. Blue eyes given by the Swedes, they smiled at me when she came through the door. Seems she’d not been to my little town “in years”. Well before this Thai restaurant was on the River.


Right away she wanted to continue the conversation we’d had on the hiking trail. Fascinated by my work with people who are looking for love, she’d told me about her daughter, who at age 30 had given up. About being a widow for nine years, her husband a hard working man who was an alcoholic. It hadn’t really occurred to her that she might want to love again until that morning we met.


The Pad Thai came and I had to pace myself. All I wanted to do was savor it and stop myself from choking from shoveling it down. Gayle was still on her Spring Rolls.


“At first, I was so lonely and I wanted someone really badly but not any more…well, not like that, anyway”, she said. “I’m happy with my life. My kids are near me, I do things I love to do and I’m pretty happy most days with life.” Then she said something that really hit home…”I used to feel as if I had to have someone or I wouldn’t be happy. You know, it was kind of desperate feeling. Now, I feel like I’m OK being alone, but that having a companion would just add to my happiness.” I knew exactly what she meant and that it is a crossroads for many of us who have loved and lost someone, whether by death, divorce or wisdom that it wasn’t the right person for us. That growth from living the movie line, “You complete me.” to the sweetness of saying to someone new that we’re coming to love, “I’m happy you’re in my life. It’s so much more fun to do this with someone.”


This transition from needing someone to make us whole to wanting someone to add to our pretty darned OK life is not a straight line, nor is it easy at times. It takes time and a path that is unique for all of us. Some of us will need another go-round to find that place of serenity. That’s OK.


If you’re feeling like life is pretty darned good, that you’re happy most days and yet, feel that big space in your bed would sure be better with someone there, it might be time to gently move towards that. But remember, much like finding a job, you gotta be clear about what and who you’re looking for to make life richer and more fun. Today, just start opening to the possibility and I can help you find the way to love!


Your First  30-minute Session is On Me

Call me at 510-817-4242 or email me at donna@donnasbigredchair.love  and let’s set it up!


Donna Bailey, MS

Coaching, Speaking, Writing and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big Red Chair




Dreams are Sexy Things!



What’s life without dreams? Not the kind we have at night, but the ones we have when we’re sitting by a river or watching a movie about India and know we need to go there “one day”.





Some of us have carried our dreams like a suitcase all our lives while others realize late in life, gazing into our bucket where the list is kept, that life is short and the list, long. One of those dreams might be finding someone to love again or for the fortunate, having  found someone so special, they think they might have to give up their dreams to make it work.


In my practice I often see people who don’t open their hearts to love because they think it will mean giving things up. Their belief is that she or he won’t want to (fill in the blanks)…sail on the weekends, travel to Australia, RV across the country. They go it alone because it’s the only choice they feel they have. And then there are those who have been living their dreams, who are vibrant and want more of what life has to offer. They fall in love and whether a partner asks it of them or not, they feel the dream must be relegated to the dust bin so they can “focus on the relationship now”. They sacrifice out of what they see as love, and a little part of them begins to wither.


Dreams, even the musty ones we’ve carried in that suitcase, are the language of the soul. They are a North star to the essence of who we are, what matters, our juice of life. Do you know what both men and women find most attractive about a partner, or even a date? Vibrancy. Aliveness. Curiosity. DREAMS! People who live their lives, act on their dreams or have an intention to fulfill them bring life and excitement to their relationships. But there’s a hitch…when we meet each other or are getting to know each other it’s essential to talk with each other about those dreams. If we’re already living them as writers, musicians, volunteers, artists, change agents, politicians;etc. we want to be sure that our partners know these things are who we are and that they will support us in growing our dreams as life goes on.


You don’t have to stop living the life of your dreams to be in love with another. In fact, we all need someone to share our lives and bring with them dreams of their own. Added to ours, they make for a really juicy life!


Are you a hopeless romantic who’s tired of watching sunsets alone?  Ready to do whatever it takes to find someone to share this next amazing chapter of your life?  I can show you how to navigate the waters and find that dream.


Donna Bailey, MS

Donna’s Big RED Chair

Dating and Relationship Coaching for Grown-ups

510-817-4242  donna@donnasbigredchair.love


Big Red Chair



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