She looked at me and said, “Aren’t you worried that you won’t meet someone special? Now that you’re alone, that you will die without ever feeling like you truly loved?”
To my single and divorced readers: Unclench your fist. I did not clock her, tempted as I was. Instead, I gave myself a moment.
I thought of being met at an airport with eyes that were only for me, despite the willowy model type who sashayed off the airplane before me. And of the night that ensued, with champagne under a calm Southern sky filled with stars.
I remembered staying up for most of the night with my youngest when, in his early years, he had repeated staph infections. I thought of rubbing his back and holding his hand when it was hard for him to sleep, singing him back into slumber.
I recalled walking with my head held high, next to my eldest, even after he had done a really stupid thing. I remember thinking that if I could not stand by him in this moment, when his classmates certainly couldn’t be expected to, then no one could. And I thought, this is what unconditional love feels like—and who knew it could be so mixed with fury and disappointment?
I thought of picnics on the floor in the middle of winter. An anniversary dinner at a French restaurant that would wow even the most discerning foodie. And yet another anniversary evening at my kitchen island with McDonald’s strewn between us as the children giggled and talked loudly.
I thought of multiple friends at multiple times in our lives–exchanging the hugs, words of support, tears and laughter necessary to get us through whatever trial or adventure we were facing. Friends rock those 1 a.m. talks like no other.
I thought of arriving at my hotel at the beginning of a business trip, with—surprise–flowers awaiting me in my hotel room. I recalled whispered pillow talk and arguments where I wondered if one of us walked out the door, what would happen next.
But most of all, and this may sound odd, I thought of my own steadfast love. I thought of how far I have come over the past six years since my divorce. I thought of chasms crossed on what at times felt like a wobbly rope bridge–with no one’s hand to hold onto, just my own inner strength and a whispered prayer.
I have known and shown true love in so many ways in my lifetime. But she—my questioner–did not need to know all that. I looked at her, smiled, and answered a simple no. “No. No, I do not worry about feeling like I never truly loved.”
It was really all she needed to know.
The rest is mine.
55 Comments Add yours
That was so beautiful and the part about you walking next to your boy at a tough time was priceless. That’s motherhood.
Thank you! And yes, that is part and parcel of motherhood. The part no one really explains to us, right? Trial by fire, I guess. A seasoned mom is worth her weight in gold:).
As usual, I love your post. Isn’t this life amazing. I love the wonderful recognition of true loves and loving moments you share. Sometimes we get so caught up in what have been told true love is, and other times our fear and competitive nature sneak up and come out in our words. The truth is I think your friend was envious and wondering how can you be so free to live life on your terms. In her own way she may have been asking for guidance while still trying to feel and pretend like she has it all. Thank you for the wonderful post.
Thank you, Craig 🙏🏻. Kind words. Funny, the envy part was brought up as a theory by another friend when I was stymied trying to talk this through. I do think there is safety and some comfort in taking the more traditional route in life. And I wouldn’t be being honest if I sometimes didn’t wish for that. But then, in the next second, I realize that was never really meant to be my path. And that it wouldn’t have worked anyway :-). Thanks again for reading and adding your insight. It’s always appreciated.
Wonderful post and it certainly resonates with me. I have had deeper connections with other people since my divorce and have connected with myself in a way that I never knew was possible. I would find it difficult to give that up …
you are able to mind-read my thoughts.
I think The pain of divorce carvers us out for deeper emotions. While I would never wish it on anyone, I sometimes wish that those who have a ringside seat could bring the same wisdom to our conversations. Thank you for the kind words🙏🏻
It will never cease to amaze me how and what some people choose to say to others. In what world would that ever be an appropriate thing to say to someone?! Your response was perfect. Love it. And I love the various loves you chronicled. Life can be full of all kinds of love as long as our hearts are open.
I have learned not to be surprised by what people say anymore. This woman wasn’t trying to be malicious–she just runs on at the mouth often. Her filters are a bit skewed:).
Yes–I didn’t think malicious–but that skewed filter can make for some headscratching. My mom is in her 90s, and she and many of her cronies have no filter at all…but at least by then it is less confounding.
I’m laughing. Because our filters seem to disappear as we age. And I’m thinking of some very funny stories I’ve heard about that:)
100%. You have truly loved. And will continue to…Miracle upon miracle.
Thank you! I love the future focus of that comment:).
Thank you! Every once in a while I get it right🙂
I so love this!!!
Thank you! Glad this one struck you🙂
Very powerful. That last line pulled it all together, nobody knows how we have loved and that’s just as it should be.
Thank you:). So very true, right? The older I get, the less wasted breath.
I LOVE this post. Even though I can’t relate, I can understand your message to her. I’ve said this before; you have a way of putting into words what so many think and can’t seem to express to the very point or heart of the matter. I would have loved to have been a fly on that wall.
Thanks, George:). Years of practice and more than one misstep! But there are times I nail it:). Those feel good.
She doesn’t know you very well does she! And she doesn’t sound like a close friend either.. hugs from me
Hugs right back! And you pegged it—not close. I’ll take someone who lays cards on the table over passive aggressive any day.
I think your friend’s question was more of a statement of what she fears than a question meant for you to answer. You answered the question beautifully. What a joy it was to read about the countless ways love has graced your days. A lovely post, my friend. xxx
I completely agree. I think she was stating her own fear aloud, without even knowing it. Thank you for your kind words, as always :-).
This post made me cry but in a good way. What a powerful statement. I love every word you wrote, every single one. My thoughts are that perhaps it is her who has never truly loved.
I wondered the same. If her version of love is what it sounds like:). And thank you, as always, for reading and for the kind words. ❤️
It’s true. She didnt need to know 😊
Right:). I’m sure she didn’t mean it in the way it sounded . . .
Beautifully said! Warrior Woman.
Thank you! Right back ‘atcha!
How I wish there was a “love” button for this post instead of just a “like”! As always, you got it just right.
Thank you, Lee! Means a lot:). I hope you read this while still on your adventure✈️
I love this…I too always tell people “ there are worse things then being single”. Then people are caught off guard and you see realization wash over them.
It’s putting a different lens in for them👍🏻. Love that:).
I’ve been asked more times than I care to remember, mostly by people I barely know. They only ever ask once. My reply, “There are worse things than being single.”
And if you really want to cut the conversation short, you could start to list those awful things :-). 😉😉
Funnily enough, I’ve never had to; without exception, every person has agreed.
makes me want to buy my kid fast food. 🙂
That’s your takeaway???
Of course, I am also very much in league with you regarding your central message. 🙂 Just responding to the happy picture you painted of the Mc Donald’s meal around the table.
Lol. I believe the boys were fighting over Happy Meal toys:). Now, they just fight over bigger toys:).
Right on, sister. And write on.
Thanks, you:). You bet!
She sounds very young & naive….
Sadly, no. She is middle-aged, but married quite young and divorced after many, many years. The difference in my experience with dating, etc. in my twenties–and her lack of it–well, it could fill the Grand Canyon:). And I’ll admit to having lots to learn . . .
Why anyone would say that to another human is beyond me. You were more graceful than I would have been. But then again, you always are 🙂
I’m not sure about that! At times, I am very direct:). But, I saw where she was coming from–a place of wanting me to seek and search and date like she was. I’m not opposed to meeting someone–I’m just not a typical woman looking for a typical man:). I think I have accepted that–she obviously hasn’t.
Gotta love the rope bridge, right?
I’m not sure I’m any more graceful on it than I was when I started🤔
Still, some great memories you’re making with the boys. 👍
Right! They’re still being made—memories of all sorts.
So well said!
Thank you! Appreciate the virtual visit🙂
There are so many assumptions people make, Kay. You know the water that’s flowed past and can best gauge what lies ahead from here.
Right! Oh, Mark, you get it. It is the generalizations and assumptions that can be so very annoying :-).