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.