I spent the morning watching my sweet preschoolers answer the question, “what does love mean to you?” Most of them write things like hugs, and little things, like packing a lunch or going for a walk. It made me think of a lovely phrase a terrible man gave me. He said, “to love is to stay with.” I took that to mean that to love is to simply be present, to be reliable, to look at someone with eyes of soft curiosity and fascination, to actively care in the moment about what they offer to you and to the world.
Valentine’s Day for the divorced can bring up all kinds of grief. Carmen Spagnola wrote, “Abandonment is the gap between what you need and what you get.” When what you need is very basic, and you’ve been treated like gum on the bottom of a shoe, seeing people be treated with kindness, respect, and being placed in a position of importance in someone’s heart can be fraught with reminders of the dreams you had and what you do not have now.
I read somewhere that longing is the healthy attachment system “waking up.” Discontentment is a waking up, no matter how painful. I must say, I have had some really sweet men who have celebrated me. Last year, he asked me where I wanted to go out to eat and set it up and bought me chocolate and a flower. One year I received a dozen roses from another lover. It felt good to be celebrated and feel wanted. And sad that those relationships could not last.
So why I have ended up with a track that runs through my mind is, “he doesn’t care” and, “he doesn’t know I exist” is not beyond me. These are voices from childhood. These are the voices of my neglect. They are also the voices of now because it’s true. I’m allowing my past childhood pain to continue through a person in the present. Once again, I’ve allowed the familiar feelings of worthlessness and doubt define my path. It is impossible to feel loved in the situation I’m in- repeating a pattern. A part of me is even embarrassed.