Friday, February 14, 2014

From Me to You on Valentine's Day

I believe that one of the most beautiful sentences ever spoken is "I see you."

Dear reader, I see you.  I see your struggles, your fears, your hopes.  I see your anger that life has not worked out the way you'd planned.  I see you when you're lonely.  I see you.  And I embrace you.  You are worthy of love, and this is my Valentine for you.


I have been in a terrible slump.  "Slump" is a word that doesn't convey just what it feels like to feel the doubts that I've been feeling lately.  Doubts that I have done anything right.  Doubts that I will ever get what I really want.  Doubts that I will ever be seen.  Doubts about my own worth.  Doubts that I will ever be held in love the way I wish to be held.

It's tough to find a metaphor around all that doubt that even touches on it.  I thought, "lost in a dark cave, too dark to see, damp and cold," but that doesn't sound right.  I thought "lost at sea, clinging to a log, fearful of the sharks that could come, almost too tired to hold on," but that's not it.  "Lost" is a common theme of the metaphors that I've come up with.

I'm lost, but I don't quite know where and I can't describe my surroundings because my mind is a blur of confusion, and the only thing I know for sure are the questions: Why?  When?  How?  What?  Where barely matters.


It is not easy to be a divorcee' in a world of intact families.  Today, my parents celebrate their forty-fifth wedding anniversary, and I mentioned getting together with them, but I was turned down because my dad told me that he was excited to go away for the weekend with his "bride."  He said, "Your mom bought lingerie!" and I had to nearly shout at him to stop talking - of course, because no child, no matter how old, wants to imagine what her mother does with her father when lingerie is involved (ack! please bleach my brain!), but also because it's hard to think about how I am surrounded by couples who really adore each other, marriages that maintain a spark for decades, and I am quite utterly, truly alone.


What is a girl to do?  What is a PollyAnna to do?  What should *I* do?

Misery is not my style, though it chases me sometimes.  I keep running away from misery, looking back over my shoulder to yell "GET LOST!" sometimes.  In a slump, I feel like stopping and just hanging out with misery, giving up...

But I won't.


This morning I greeted Katherine with a gift bag that was covered in hearts, and a cheerful "Happy Valentine's Day, sweetheart!"  She received her trinkets with a smile - the obligatory chocolate heart box, a little stuffed animal, a necklace with hearts on it purchased at Forever21.  I put a maple syrup heart on her oatmeal, sent her to school in her Valentine's outfit (heart necklace and earrings, and a t-shirt with a heart on it; she carried a bag of Valentine's, each with a Valentine's wrapped chocolate taped to it, to hand out to her classmates and teachers.

The table is set for six with a red tablecloth and my everyday white dishes; on each dinner plate there is a red heart box of chocolates, the cheap drugstore kind, wrapped in cellophane.  In the center of the table there are heart dishes filled with heart chocolates, and a dessert platter filled with pink frosted heart cookies; soon I'll make chocolate covered strawberries and a heart shaped chocolate cake to go with them.  Above the table, sparkly red hearts hang in a garland draped over the chandelier.  For dinner, another single mom and her daughter, plus two of Katherine's friends (whose parents are going out on dates, happy for my free babysitting on a day when babysitters are hard to find) are coming over for simple food - home made pizza (red and white) and salad.

I'll wear my red silk tank top over my skinny jeans, in a color tribute to the day.  (I'll have to wear a sweater too - it's not tank top weather!)


I can not control my loneliness.  I can not control my lack of understanding about my path.  I can not control the fear that if I am not in a loving relationship I must be turning into a crazy cat lady.  (We only have ONE cat, and she technically belongs to Katherine.)  My Valentine preparations feel a bit forced, because it would certainly be easier to curl up in a ball and sob.

But I won't, and that's why I'm PollyAnna.

I invited Katherine's friends over because I want their parents to celebrate love, glad as I am to have marriages around me that are still filled with love.  I invited a single friend so that she would not be alone, and so nor would I.  I made the house look festive because I want to feel festive, and "fake it 'til you make it" works a lot of the time.  I made the day special for Katherine, because I want her to grow up solid in the knowledge that I think that love is worth celebrating


Love is worth celebrating. 

Dear readers, if you are madly in love, I celebrate that with you today.  Your love for your beloved is proof to me that it is possible to find such a love, and I am grateful to you for modeling it.  Hold your beloved in your arms, close your eyes, and allow the joy of it to wash over you.  Whether you are a hearts and flowers kind of Valentine, or a "this is a Hallmark holiday" person, please take a moment to fully appreciate your beloved's existence today.

And dear readers, if you, like me, are alone, then I celebrate you today.  I celebrate your strength, your struggle, and your future.  As I look around my table this evening, with chattering children and all that dessert, I'll raise my glass of red wine to toast you.  We'll get through this, and I celebrate your courage - as well as my own - in moving forward.


Just think of all of the firsts that we have before us.  I believe that our loves await, and we have the joy of all of those firsts floating out there, waiting for us.  There will be the day we first meet; there will be a moment when we think, "Oh! Could it be...?"  There will be first intimacies, from shy glances to smoldering ones; from tentative first kisses to tangled sheets.  There will be the first argument, and the make up that comes afterwards; there will be deep talks as well as playful ones.  There will be challenges miraculously navigated, and joys that are hundredfold because shares.  There will be tears in life's challenges, but there will be someone to dry them, too.

We will be so appreciative, because we will not take one second for granted.

There will be a look exchanged that says, "I see you.  I really, really see you."  We will melt.  We will see our beloved, too, and know our fortune.


Happy Valentine's Day, dear reader.  Don your red and pink.  Call a single friend and invite them over, call a married friend and congratulate her (and bite her tongue when she complains about her husband's lack of Valentine attentiveness!).  Make paper hearts with a child.  Listen to love songs, even the sad ones.  Eat chocolate, drink red wine.  Go to the beach and look for heart shaped rocks, or go to happy hour with a friend and drink a Valentine's cocktail.

Tomorrow we can breathe a bit easier, with a bit less focus on how we live in a world designed for pairs.  But today, let's just fake it the best we can.

And know this: I see you.  And I appreciate you.  Thank you for sharing your journey with me, and for letting me share mine with you.  Today, as always, I send you my love, and my wish that your burdens will feel light.



  1. Hey PollyAnna,

    Thank you, for this. So you know. Had I been closer to you geographically, I would have been round in a shot and we would have had a right laugh! Maybe next time; Maybe not, but at least we know we have one another. Far,distant, or out of reach, but, heartly close and 'seeing' one another.

    Lots of Love


  2. I've been thinking about you.