In the months leading up to my thirtieth birthday I struck a deal with my divorced, single mama self. Those two elements of my social status struck years apart, and even though I was generally easy on myself about it, my ego still liked to kick me about that detail whenever I was down. So, the deal I struck was this: in celebration of my thirty years I’d countdown my dwindling days of twenty nine by recounting thirty successes, large, small, and in between. I subjected my Facebook friends to updates that told my tale strictly by the highlights. In focusing on the glory, I somehow managed to change the entire story.
With my fresh perspective leading the way, I opened myself to new possibilities. Two months into my thirties I said yes to a date with one of those new possibilities. I’d only been involved with one person in between my son’s father and turning thirty. He was a younger, unreliably magnificent someone. He loved me, I knew… but we were forever on different frequencies with only the occasional overlap. This new possibility someone, though – a handsome police officer – seemed to be on the same frequency. He was divorcing… a single dad to a daughter near my son’s age. He was someone my parents would have liked. A hard working man who was handy and smart and who seemed crazy about me. He seemed it, until he didn’t. Turns out, he would be crazier about an old sweetheart than he’d been about me. Pause for a moment to stomp feet in frustration and vent to willing listeners… and then resume play. C’est la single vie.
I’ve said it before that each love increases your capacity for love from then on. My police officer definitely increased my capacity, but not in the way you’d think. He reminded me of the most significant love I’ve ever known. That love – in turn – led me to the other side of single. The side where I trust that God has this path for me… this path that includes an incredible, humbling, challenging in all the right ways role of mom – this path of a manager who gives bits and pieces of herself to a company that gives bits and pieces of itself in return – this path of a daughter and a sister who is ever more convinced of the value that family holds – this path that includes friendships that ebb and flow and leave sweet deposits and sometimes erode away parts we don’t need. It led me to this side of single that embraces my place. That finds joy in every moment where it’s just my son and our dogs…where it’s just me working on a project… where it’s just me connecting with a friend or with my family. I trust completely that I am having every experience I am meant to have, and that I am taking every hint – catching every clue – that will get me exactly where I am meant to go. I pray a lot. I give thanks frequently. I love this single life… but I love it most because it’s never really me, singular. It’s me – and my God – and my loves, and my challenges, and all the rest that lies ahead.