Loneliness is dangerous. When everyone you know is part of a couple it can leave you feeling really low. I know that no relationship is perfect but sometimes being single – the loneliness can feel so real; like a physical entity I carry around with me. I am a really lucky person because I have five kids and two grandkids that I love with my whole heart. Many people do not get to experience the unconditional love and joyous responsibility of having children. I was lucky enough to get them all to myself because I made wrong choices about my choice of fathers but there was nothing wrong about my choice to have them, love them and raise them on my own. I would never have wanted my life to go any other way. I do not know what I would do if I did not have them.
Children however, get to a point where they don’t need you so much and they have to get on with their own lives. Of my five kids my two oldest daughters have made that transition. They are still very much in my life and the relationship between the three of us is very good. My youngest baby is now at school so they have all now entered that stage where they don’t need me as much. He is forming new relationships at school and learning about the world. Everyday is a learning experience for them and me. I am continually reminded that life is hard but life can also be tremendously good. I look at my son with wonder in the same way he looks at the world. I am memorizing every curve on his face, every delighted expression, that smile that chases away all the heartache involved in raising him alone. My other kids also mesmerize me. I produced all these little people. I did that. I did that magnificently.
There comes a time when this dependence on me will stop. I do not want to get rid of them any time soon. I do however want them to be independent, capable and be able to express themselves in whatever way they choose. When my daughters left I did think am I such a terrible mother that my kids can’t wait to get away from me but then once the shock of it all subsided I realised they were ready. Ready to carve out a life for themselves, make their own decisions and live life the way they see fit. I had fulfilled my role as their mother and they were ready to fly on their own.
I digress a little from the point I was trying to make.
Now that my kids have moved out and moved into school I now have some decisions to make. I can keep on doing as I have done (looking after them, putting most of my energy into them) or I can look after them but start to look after myself better. I have decided to follow my dreams, try to do what I always thought was unachievable. I have decided that I need to give myself the life I want to live after they have left. I don’t want to be one of those mothers that just lays down and gives up once their children leave.
What I need to beware of is the dangerous loneliness that can throw my decision-making process off. Most of my relationships with men in my life have occurred because of loneliness. Sometimes being on your own for so long can make you forget about standards; a way you want to be treated; respect in a relationship. Right now life is difficult, stressful, interesting and rewarding all at once. I do feel lonely. When my kids are in bed I speak to no-one. I watch tv programmes like x-factor because it makes me feel part of something bigger than my own little world. It helps me feel less alone. I constantly have my iPod on because it distracts me from the emptiness in my house at night. The cold weather reminds me that I sleep in a big bed on my own. It would be nice to snuggle, have someone to hug me after a particularly hard day. Twitter, Facebook and WordPress are attempts at connecting with like-minded people.
As a direct result of this tremendous aching loneliness I look at the dad of my three youngest kids and think is he really that bad? This is the danger. With this guy I had three lovely kids but that is the only link we have. He is small-minded whilst I am very open-minded. He is incredibly judgemental whilst I am tolerant. We were never a good match. I have over the years kept diaries and when I read back some of the things he put us through I was horrified that I stayed with him for so long.
When the loneliness seeps in however I forget that life was so bad with him. I only think of the human touch, the knowledge that someone is there for you (or should be there for you) and the not being alone. Since we split up I have spent years clawing back the bits of me that I lost. I have held on to the kids and let them cry when he let them down time after time. When my mum was dying he told me he didn’t want to know; that he just wanted me to let him know when it was all over. Why would I ever want someone like that?
The point of this post is as a reminder for me that no matter how lonely I get, how alone I feel that going back is never a good option. I am not the person I was. I have learned from my mistakes, I deserve better than he could ever give me. Being alone is momentously better than being in that relationship. I am superwoman – I can do this on my own. I have proven this for twenty odd years.
I embrace my life, I try to bring my kids up to know right from wrong. I am interested in everything. I soak up information, I love to spend time with the people who I love. But for those nights when things seem bleak, when loneliness seems too much to bear then I will read this and see how lucky I am.
W (the luckiest woman in the world)