It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m single. I can't actually remember the last Valentine's Day I spent as part of a couple. But don’t expect me to rail against "Hallmark holidays", tell you that I feel a giant hole in my life, or otherwise exhibit self-pity on this day. Instead I am shouting with gratitude for love, for a dream I made come true in my own life.
Solo motherhood is a bold life choice deeply rooted in love. I feel deeply loved and I know that my love makes a difference to a very special person in my life... and I take neither for granted.
I didn't always feel this way.
Much has been written of the unconditional love of a mother for her child. Knowing this love was a possibility but not yet in my life was heartbreaking in those years when I dreamed of and was trying to conceive my child. For me it was more heartbreaking than being unpartnered. Yet it kept me focused on what I wanted; it fueled the formidable force that kept me on the journey to create my family.
Of course this is different than romantic love. Still, I believe love is inclusive so I’m choosing to celebrate it today by sharing a few sweet snapshots of mine:
“We will always be connected in our hearts,” my then-3-year-old son proclaimed one night as we snuggled at bedtime. I could feel my heart warming and squeezing from the tenderness of that moment. This is a catch-phrase that we have maintained to this day. With each use I am brought back to that tender moment.
“Mom, I think you are going to become famous for your warmness in my heart!” My then-5-year-old son delivered this love bomb to me just before Valentine’s Day last year. It was recognition that my love reaches its target in my son’s heart, where I hope he will feel it until the end of his days, long after I am gone.
“I sure do love you,” my 6-year-old son said out of the blue last month when I thought he was deep in thought about Pokémon. It’s becoming a pattern - I cannot predict when he’s about to drop a love bomb. And I like it that way!
My son's name means “full of goodness” which is very fitting, much of the time. He’s also flawed and challenging and sometimes deeply selfish - like the rest of us! And I love him unconditionally. In fact, he has changed my understanding of love. It is beyond what I could have imagined before I became a mom. Maybe partnered adults learn this through their relationships, but I learned it from my child: That I am capable of loving someone absolutely along with their flaws, not in spite of them. And that I am loved along with my flaws as well.
So, while chocolates and roses on Valentine’s Day can be lovely, I am not pining away for them. Nor romantic love; not this year. I expect no card (uh... last week I had to remind my son to wish me a happy birthday) and I buy sweets and flowers for myself when the mood strikes. On Valentine’s Day I am simply grateful for the love I have - with my son, many dear friends and my extended family.
“Money can’t buy love” (as my son assured me this morning), so I’ll choose the love bombs every time! Connection, warmth, love. Out of the mouths of babes.
May you see the love in your life, whatever form it takes.
What love do you celebrate on this day?
What do you struggle with?
I am sending a little extra support to get you rooted in love: a Valentine's Day special offer:
In love and gratitude,
P.S. Looking for a children’s book portraying this kind of love? Among my favorites is I Love You Because You’re You, by Liza Baker. We've read it a gazillion times.