The Courage to be Alone


I saved this post for after Valentine's Day because it seemed out of place to talk about being alone on a holiday dedicated to coupledom. While I choose to keep this blog a positive space to record some of my favorite recipes, thoughts and memories, some of the most important lessons stem from the more difficult challenges in life. So this is a more somber post that was the ironic inspiration for my last post when I wrote about how lucky I am to have a such supportive husband. It's much easier to tell only half of the story, and while this is particularly hard for me to share, I thought it was important.


I know I have an incredible husband. A large part of why I know this to be true is because I've bore witness to the opposite end of the spectrum growing up. It hasn't been until I had to go through the motions, demands and vulnerabilities of pregnancy did I fully understand how important it is to have someone to lean on.  As questions have come up, I've sought my mother; she is after all the closest map I have to what my experience will be like. Lately, my mind wanders to what it must have been like for my mother, and I am overcome with sadness. My mother didn't have a supportive partner. She spent most of her married life living in fear. Decisions were made for her. I don't know that I need get into messy details other than to say that she was pushed around a lot. I think about that quite a bit these days as I step into the shoes of motherhood myself.


It's ironic, but the more support and care that I receive, the more I am reminded of the stark contrast to what my mother - and other women - must have experienced. These days I cry when I receive the most thoughtful of gestures from my husband because I am grateful and touched. But when I am in solitude, tears of a different kind well. I cry knowing that someone I love dearly didn't receive the most basic of affection and care that makes us all human.


My mother has been single for two decades, and I am happy for her freedom and autonomy. It has been inspiring to watch her liberalize and find her own voice.


So for this post-Valentine's Day, I wish for everyone the courage and confidence to be alone, to never settle, to love like you would want to be loved, and to be the strong partner that you would want at your side for the rest of your life. 

61 comments:

Ravenous Couple said...

this is such a touching post and well though out post, thanks for the courage to write about it

VeggieGirl said...

This post is absolutely incredible. Thank you so much for writing this.

Belinda @zomppa said...

Incredible piece and what an incredible mom you have. Beautifully said.

Kim said...

Christine - This is a beautiful post and one that I hope you share with your mother.

As a mother myself, we always wish the best for our children. I'm sure your mother takes great comfort in the fact that you have such a wonderful husband.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Beautifully said.

alison said...

your post is very touching,i remembered a period of my life when i was alone...it was sad,but not bad...:)i had all my family support!

Kate @ Diethood.com said...

WOW... goosebumps, tears, sadness, and lastly a smile because the message at the end is beautiful! It all reminded me of the life that my grandmother lived. :(
I hope that your message inspires those that are looking for a way out.
Amazing post...thank you for sharing!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

"So for this post-Valentine's Day, I wish for everyone the courage and confidence to be alone, to never settle, to love like you would want to be loved, and to be the strong partner that you would want at your side for the rest of your life." - Beautifully said.

Haddock said...

It takes a lot of guts and determination to go alone.
I really admire those who do it and face the world.

rosemary said...

Phew!! Boy, was I scared that you were going to talk about separation with your husband! Am so relieved! The title gave me so much tension, being aware that you are expecting. So happy for you and your mum. She is a brave woman and yes, that courage is needed! Well written.

Victoria said...

Christine, thanks for sharing this. I'm really glad that your mom is able to be independent now, and I definitely think it's best to be taking care of oneself rather than trying to depend on someone who is never there for you. It's one of the few reasons I'm okay with being single. Just haven't met that person I can lean on, you know? It's just not easy, but I'm glad that you aren't alone now, and I hope that all the other single people out there can be strong and learn to depend on themselves, and never settle for people who won't let them have a voice.

That's Ron said...

wow great post! thanks for sharing!

Deb in Hawaii said...

A very thoughtful post--kudos to your Mom for raising such a wonderful daughter and finding her independence.

Barbara said...

Your mother must be so proud of you, Christine. As you are of her. As we get older and experience more ourselves, we have a greater understanding of both our mothers and fathers. I find myself finally understanding so many things I never could figure out.
Great post.

Simply Life said...

oh what a thoughtful post - you and your mother are both very strong women.

Lori said...

Such beautiful words and an important reminder. I appreciate your thoughtful posts and the courage it takes to share these glipses with us.

bunkycooks said...

This was so well written and from the heart. I am sorry that your mom never had the type of husband that you have been lucky to find. There are so many women that live that way. You are so right to say that it is better to be alone sometimes.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Beautiful post. My feelings are that it is better to be alone than to be mistreated. My mother has been single for about 20 years too, and although she on her own, I know she is a happier person than when she was married. I do worry for her though. It is strange how as we get older, the tables turn. Instead of our parents worrying about us, we now worry about them.
I hope your Valentines day was filled with love, and I know your mom's was too, cause she has you.
*kisses* HH

From the Kitchen said...

Such a wonderful post to find that, beyond the pain and heartache, your mother has found liberation and joy.

Best,
Bonnie

Trix said...

Wow. I am so happy for your mom that she is free of that. I am really truly glad for her. I wish my mom had been able to find the courage to leave her husband and experience some of that sweet independence.

lostpastremembered said...

A good friend's dad just died. He was a tyrant. Now my friend's mother who is 90 has begun to blossom! After 70 years of being ridiculed and marginalized (and she is a bright woman) she can now do what she wants and surround herself with people that appreciate her.

Marriage can be heaven or hell, can't it? Women of previous generations often didn't have the choice to leave it when it was hell... so good your mother could.
Perhaps reading your wise words will comfort those who should... there is light out there!

La Table De Nana said...

This is such a tender post.
I cry too at thoughtfulness.
I was and am blessed with a great husband.I am glad you are also.
It must have been sad for you to witness your mom's life..But it is good that you can rejoice in her life now..And don't forget for one minute the pleasure of you she has had.
You're the end of the rainbow..you will see when you have your wee one..

5 Star Foodie said...

Such a thoughtful and inspiring post! I'm so glad that your mom was able to find independence and freedom.

Stella said...

Hey Christine! I think this is a very positive and real post. It's important to be able to express who you are through your blog. It's your blog after all...!
My mother had the same kind of life by the way, which causes me a lot of sadness and anger towards my father and others in my family. I became particularly sad one day when she saw Cauldron Boy not allow me to go outside in the dark and walk like I wanted to-she looked hurt in her eyes and I asked her why. Her response was simply that my father (nor her parents) would have cared if she went out in the dark or did dangerous things when she was young.
I know this is a strange example, but her life was lonely and without proper love and care for her and her children. Hence I feel for and love your mother very much!

Thanks for such a wonderful, real life post!

Claudia said...

A stunning, stark post - showing that being alone is also a cause to celebrate and be happy in your own skin. And not settling. Each generation seems to come with more choices - and I remain grateful for that. I loved reading at the end of the post that your mother is now finding her voice.

Andrea @ HighLowFoodDrink.com said...

Beautifully written post Christine! Your mom would be so proud (as you are of her).

A Year on the Grill said...

A wonderful post... your Mother would love to read this tribute.

People talk of the divorce rate as a bad thing. Sometimes, the escape clauses that we take for granted these days would have been a godsend just a few decades ago.

Well Done!

Denise said...

What a beautiful and thought provoking post! It is sad when others we love don't have what we ourselves have. I've really been enjoying your writing and your photos!!

Denise @ Creative Kitchen

tasteofbeirut said...

it is a touching post because I could feel the love and care for your mother; I am sure she has enjoyed her single years (as I have after a bad marriage) and like I always say "marriage is overrated!" only good if it is real good, otherwise give me freedom any day! I know a lot of women feel that way.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

This is such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your honesty.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

My stomach was in my throat when I first started reading your post because I also thought something had happened between the two of you!

Such a very poignant post, Christine, and so well written and so true. I too, am lucky like you but there are so many woman, like your mother, who are not.

Emily said...

an incredibly beautiful and heartfelt post, Christine. Thank you so much for sharing...and for the reminder of what love should be.

Megan said...

Thank you for sharing such a deep, thought-provoking, touching post.

Mary said...

This was a really lovely post. I hope your mother has found her own voice and is able to enjoy her life as a woman of substance. Happy Valentine's Day to you all. Blessings...Mary

Boulder Locavore said...

What a heartfelt post. I'm sure it was hard to watch your mother go through this as you described. What a blessing that your path is so different as well.

Joanne said...

What a beautiful post Christine. Thank you so much for sharing it with us even though it must have been hard. Your mother sounds like such a strong woman and I'm so happy that she has found liberation and happiness.

Velva said...

You are preparing to take an amazing journey, and your mom is going to be there, right next to you.

Cheers to your mother! Cheers to you Christine!

Velva

nancy at good food matters said...

Such a beautiful post, this homage to your courageous mother, and courageous of you to share, Christine. Really, the status of women, worldwide, has been historically Awful, and only in relative recent years has seen dramatic changes. In this country, we have been blessed by the courage of women before us, who paved a better way.

Beth said...

What a poignant and powerful post. You and your mother both sound like wonderful women. The ability to love yourself, and to believe that you deserve only the best, is an incredibly powerful emotion.

Gulmohar said...

Beautiful post Christine ! Your mother is so brave

Tia said...

Tweeted and will re-post on our Facebook page. This is so important - to love like you would want to be loved. Courage is such a necessity. I wish more people would have courage.

OysterCulture said...

What a wonderful and thoughtful post, and a great reminder to never take the special people in our lives for granted. I'm going to plant a big kiss on hubby when he gets home tonight

El said...

This is really an important post. It sounds like it took a lot of courage for your mom to move on but bravo to her for doing so. I'm so happy that you were able to find a loving, supportive partner and more importantly- I'm glad you value yourself.

Magic of Spice said...

A very touching post...but what I kept thinking as I read this...she has always had you!

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates said...

That is a wonderful post and your love for your mother is very obvious. I have to believe that you are the light in her life and that you always were and always will be!

The Glamorous Gourmet said...

Beautiful post, Christine! Your Mom sounds like an amazing and strong lady:)

Late Bloomers said...

Beautiful touching post. I wish your mom all the happiness in this world, my mom was a widow at 34 and raised us 2 children on her own, she has had her share of sadness and loneliness, but she is a beautiful lady of 87 now, enjoying life in he own stride. I am sure it takes a lot of discipline and courage - bless all the mothers!

lisaiscooking said...

So well said "be the strong partner that you would want at your side..."

ChefDruck said...

Christine,
what a beautiful post, with such haunting images. You are going to be such an incredible mother. And with each day of motherhood, you'll better appreciate (even more) all that your mother has done for you.

Vanessa

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Very touching Christine. Your mother is so fortunate to have a loving and supportive daughter such as yourself. I wish you both much happiness.
Sam

Lori Lynn said...

Dear Christine - I bet she is so proud of you...and I bet she is so excited for the birth of her grandchild.
It was a relief to read that she has finally found her peace. Best wishes for a bright future for all three generations of your family.
LL

Juliana said...

Christine, your post is very touching...thank you so much for sharing such a nice post.

Bridgett said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. Be there for your mother as she is for you and include her in your new baby. That will be one of her biggest life's joys, I guarantee you. Knowing you all are loved now will ease the sadness of what once was.

Chuzai Living said...

Your writing is beautiful and the words you used seeped into my heart like water into a sponge. It was very touching to read your story and your emotions that you go through your pregnancy. I'm happy for you that you have a supportive and caring husband and it is very thoughtful of you to think of others who were not in the same situation and give such strong encouraging words. Happy Belated Valentine's Day, Christine! Kaho

redmenace said...

You are very brave to be so raw and honest here. It's what makes your blog so lovely. Your mother sounds like a very brave person. You are lucky to have her in your life. I used to work with victims of domestic violence (verbal, emotional, physical) and I know how utterly hard it is to forge a new path. Cheers to your mother!

Nisrine, Dinners and Dreams said...

Christine, I admire the sincerity of your post. It's sad when us women prefer to settle sometimes out of fear of change. It takes courage to do what is right. Thanks for sharing this touching post that many women can relate to.

Asha @ FSK said...

I know exactly what you mean, having had exactly the same past to look back at and present to cherish..

I am so glad for where you are now and I can say, based on my experience, that your mom is just happy that you have what she could not :)

HUGS.. see you soon!! :)))))

Mari said...

I am there with you, Christine, I also have a wonderful, caring and loving husband who treats me like a princess and constantly wishes he could give me so much more. Although my mom was married to my dad until his death, she did not have all the love and affection I have, and yes I also feel a sense of sadness when I think about that. She been a widow and single for six years now. I pray she finds the love and affection in us, her kids and grandchildren, if a new love comes along my blessings to her.

Hugs to you and your Mom :)

Shanae Branham said...

What a wonderful post! I am glad that I stopped by today and noticed it. I have started a blog devoted to helping people see the good in their disappointments or so-called failures. I think your post would be right in line for the contest I have started. You should check it out! I think your words here are inspiring and more people should read them! By the way, I have a contest giveaway on my blog you might find fun. Take a look. triumphandtears.blogspot.com

Rachel said...

I never fully appreciated how difficult being a single parent must be until I became a mother. There is absolutely NO way I could do this without my husband.

My utmost respect to your mother. And what a great tribute you paid her and all single parents out there.

Rachel said...

I'm re-reading this post and should clarify my comment. Your mother had it harder than being single. I'm glad she found the courage to shine. :)