Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Flyin’ Solo When Everyone Is Coupled Up...Dang It

Dear Single People,

I know what you're thinking. It's Valentine's Day and you have no "person" in your life to shower you with affection, send roses to you at work and generally make you feel like you are worth it. You're surrounded by people with their disgusting stories of surprises from their significant others, commercials for engagement rings, and general acts of love from all those love-smitten idiots out there. And... as much as you can't stand to admit it... you want to be one of them. Dammit. 

Trust me, gentle reader, I have been there. I distinctly remember my first February 14th not being someone's Valentine. It was 2001, and my then-husband and I were in the early months of a separation. Valentine's had never been an especially *great* holiday for me, even when I had a significant other. He maintained he was not a good gift giver, and proved that every chance he was given. My hopes of what I'd receive were never matched in reality, but every year I remained optimistic and knew one year, one year...he would let his true feelings show. And...he did...but that's a whole 'nother story, now, isn't it?

So there I was, a now-single mom to four kiddos ages six, four, two and seven months. And it was Valentine's Day. And I was alone. I started the day having a good 'ole fashioned pity party, thinking about how awful it was for me that I didn't have anyone in my life to give me flowers or make me feel special. That pity party was pretty satisfying for oh, about 60 seconds. It really didn't make me feel any better, it made me feel worse! I started running errands and it occurred to me, I would be my own Valentine. I bought myself a beautiful arrangement of flowers, because I knew *just* what to get me. I got myself a little sumpin' special, because I knew what would make me feel good. I bought a delicious Valentine's Day cake for me and the kids... and surprised them at dinner with a treat we all enjoyed. And the day was great. Did I forget I didn't have a man in my life? No. Did I stop wishing I had someone who could hug me and hold me and love on me? Of course not. I still wanted those things, but you know what? I didn't *need* those things. I didn't mourn those things that day, because I took care of myself.

That night a friend called to check on me and see if I was okay on this first solo Valentine's Day, and I filled her in on my day. She shocked me by telling me I'd helped her, "I've been feeling sorry for myself because my husband is stuck out of town and can't make it home for our celebration! Thank you!" Who'd of thought, eh?

That day I learned a valuable lesson; you have to be happy alone, happy with yourself...and know how to take care of yourself enough to be okay so you can let someone else do it, too. That first Valentine's day without being someone else's sweetheart could be a terribly lonely and desperate memory, but it's not. It marks the beginning of me learning to be what I needed to be...for me. It's not for nothings that a few weeks ;later I met someone and we dated for the next several months. I'd love to tell you it turned in to a wonderful relationship and we got married and lived happily every after, but of course that's not the case since this isn't a cheesy Hallmark movie. It wasn't my first solo Valentin's Day, and it wasn't my last...but I'll tell you what: it wasn't my worst, and that's the important thing. As it turns out, my worst Valentine's Day happened when I gave my hopes and dreams and expectations over to someone who wasn't appreciative or deserving. I learned that lesson, for sure. I still trust, I still love and know how to give myself wholeheartedly to another person. I also, very importantly, know how to be my own best cheerleader and to vie to myself in the absence of someone else doing it. I am so thankful for that lesson, and appreciative of the times I don't need it. 

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you out there. Even if you're flying solo on this day...no...especially if you're flying solo on this day - remember to be extra sweet to yourself and spoil yourself the way you deserve to be spoiled. Tell 'em Missy said it was okay.