Happy Love Day, readers.
So many times in this stretch of the year, I think I will look back and see how far I’ve come. My “this time last year” reflections are moving from when I was attached to when I was newly single. They are showing how much I’ve changed, no doubt.
Last Valentine’s Day found me at a car dealership trading in what was once the most expensive gift I’ve ever been given but soon became a financial burden I didn’t want anymore. It was also the first time my kids would meet their new step-mom, though my divorce papers were sitting on an attorney’s desk with wet ink.
I can remember flipping the pages of an outdated magazine as I waited on the financing to be approved in the used car dealership, knowing that my kids were out of my control and confused in that moment. I texted a close friend while feeling exhausted and sad, asking when my chance would come – when I would feel some sense of happiness and reward instead of just heartbreak.
I was happy to drive home in my own car, one I’d signed for and chosen myself. But I remember crawling in my big empty bed in the vast house that no longer felt like home, feeling like I might have taken one small step on my own, but it was still a long way from becoming my own life. My future seemed like a distant idea that I couldn’t quite see making shape on the horizon. Something I wanted but didn’t know how to grasp.
Today felt so much stronger, so much better.
Jude picked out a gift for me with my mom recently, but I didn’t know about this at all until he begged me to open it last night – not wanting me to wait until the morning. It was a set of small pots and seeds: parsley, chives, and basil. We planted them this weekend and placed them in the windowsill in the kitchen.
Waiting, watching, knowing something is emerging soon. I feel like this so often in my life lately.
I haven’t given up on love. I am broken and wiser, but I’m not bitter. I know far more about how to judge one’s character. I am not scared to pass on what’s in front of me if it doesn’t feel exactly right or if I think it has had its time and run its course … because I know what’s in my own core. I know much more about my own value.
I ran across an Instagram caption that made me nod today. “I make sure to reflect on how wonderful it feels to live my life on my own terms, and how grateful I am for that time I had sans partnership to figure out what these terms actually meant to me without the influence of someone else. The times we have to ourselves are precious. We have our entire lives to be surrounded by other people in whatever capacity we choose, whether a passing romance or a fleeting fling. .. It’s a liberating feeling when you realize the one constant in your life – yourself – is someone you’ve grown to love more than you thought was possible.”
Jude wished me “Happy Valentime’s Day” at least five times this weekend with his missing front teeth and his excited grin. He made me a picture yesterday that included tiny lettering, drawn as small as he could manage and spelled phonetically, and he handed it to me with a plastic magnifying glass we have. He told me it was a “secret code message” for my eyes only.
I’m grateful for every bit of it – for the time alone, the messages hidden along the way, the space to breathe and experiment and ponder what is next, the love in front of me, and what is yet to be.