08 January, 2009

On Being Alone

My daughter does not want to marry despite the fact that she dresses up as a bride from time to time.  She just doesn't want, at this point in her life, to marry.  When the opportunity arose, I asked her why. 

 "Because being alone is fine.  You like being alone, so I think I will like it too."

 "Being alone is nice sometimes," I commented, "but it is nice not to be alone too."

 And then I was stuck.  My daughter sees me happy and content with my life, which I am.  For her this means that one is happy and content without being married, which I am.  She doesn't see that I would be happy and content in a committed relationship as well.  She doesn't see that there are times when I really would like to share the experience of parenting and living, not to mention those times when I crave male companionship and intimacy in all its forms.

There is something that comes with a relationship that is intangible.  It is the intimacy that one can't explain, especially to a child.  Being on my own is great.  I have a house to myself, do my own scheduling, do not divide my attention too much, and have lots of energy and time to give to her.  This is what she knows; this is what she likes.  For her, my not being in a relationship or married is wonderful as it is for me most of the time. 

But not all the time. 

There are times, especially over the last year, when I have noted the drawbacks of not having that companion; when I have observed that life seems that much more challenging or more… isolated… without a person with whom I can share it. 

As my daughter has watched me enjoying life and making everything work, I have craved a warm embrace at the end of two medical situations.  As she skips and dances and plays, I wonder how I will get through the possible deaths of my grandparents in the near future.  I will get through it, but how much easier that might be were I able to lean on someone during the process.  While she spins, walks on Pointe, and dreams, my heart fills with love and the knowledge that I would love to share it with someone.  The Diva notes that sometimes she feels like a parent to me – and I wonder if that isn’t partially because there is no other adult to parent her?  Our house and lives run like a well oiled machine most of the time, a machine that depends a lot on team work – hers and mine!

For the most part, I am fine without that other adult in the house.  I like my life as it is despite cravings now and again… and the desire to be held or even just to feel that body in the bed next to me.  I miss the enrichment that comes from another adult; a differing perspective; a sense of silliness and life that varies from mine.  

It is important, to me, that the Diva realize that she can be happy without a relationship.  She can be happy doing her own thing.  It is also important that she learn that there is much a solid relationship has to offer.  The challenge is how to teach her that?  How do I teach her or show her the wonders of having a man in the house and in our lives when, well, there really isn’t one around that often?


I believe I am teaching her, in a round about way, to be confident and self sufficient.  I am teaching her to love her life regardless of where the path leads… and I am probably teaching her that men are wonderful – they live somewhere else and visit.


Mike said...

Well that's probably a load off your mind that you don't have to go shopping for wedding dresses this year. Our kids learn what they see. It will never be all encompassing, but it will be the best we can do.

mama llama said...

Ah dahling, you are inheriting my sighs. Don't start...they say that each time you sigh takes a minute off your life! :)

I have honestly never felt more alone than when married. Perhaps my ideal of marriage was too high. Who knows. What I do know was that I *felt* alone, no matter what He says he felt he did, during many crucial, painful turning points in my life when I thought a partner was supposed to be so much more...

What exactly? I don't know. But not what I had.

We do learn what we see.

Nice reflections. Be well, TE.

dadshouse said...

What a wonderful post! I think you are teaching your daughter a great thing in being happy alone. She can carry that with her into a relationship. As long as she sees relationships modeled somewhere, I think she'll be fine.

No then, go find a man! (kidding. Find one if you want one.)

T said...

I do agree with Dads that you are teaching her wholeness. A whole person entering into a relationship is much better than one seeking a relationship to complete her.

You are giving her a wonderful life and self-esteem. Neither of you may need a man but perhaps both of you may want one at some point to share your lives with. I wouldn't worry about it at this point. Celebrate her independence! And yours too!

single mom seeking said...

"T" commented about how often I sighed when she visited... uh oh.

This post really resonated with me. Wow.

I'm working on something about relationships now... and my daughter, too, thinks our life is perfect as it is: mother-daughter, all that one-on-one attention and love. What could be better?