If I Were My One and Only

“Maybe for like a couple hours – just be like the light of their life for that moment.”

For the first time in my life, I am not anyone’s special someone.

I love teaI think my mother’s childhood gave her a need to have a child who would meet her unmet needs. As her firstborn, I became the one. I wasn’t her only child, but I felt as if she often viewed me as the one and only one who could make her happy. She’s been gone for two years now and I don’t miss that impossible task, but I do remember what it’s like to feel crucially important.

I am not my father’s one and only child or my sister’s one and only beloved – she treasures her husband and six children. She and I were once each other’s one and only sibling. I remember when she married and drove away with her new husband. I waved and waved but she didn’t look back. She was correct to cleave to her spouse.

I am separated from my second husband. I have isolated myself for the past five years while working on a company so I have no intimate friends with whom I have daily or frequent conversations. We’re all adults; they have friends and family and lives – and should.

I am sorry for things I have done and left undone.

Today is Christmas morning and I did wake up alone in bed wondering fleetingly if Santa, somehow – even though I have no chimney and an alarm system and, oh, right, he doesn’t exist – had left me presents.

That’s okay. It’s okay to have a child’s wistful heart.

O, the exhortations against self I have heard my whole life! Do not be selfish, vain, immodest! And yet, knowledge has reached popular media: we need self-love for emotional and physical health.

What if I broke all taboos and practiced self-love? What if I were my own one and only this Christmas Day? Knowing me as only I know me, what would I give myself as my own special someone?

What I would not plan on for myself:

  1. Anyone being anywhere, doing anything, or saying anything that might meet my needs or make my day. I love people but they, as I am, are human. I am alternately strong and weak, present and absent. I err. If I count on or expect others to be there for me, I risk grave disappointment. As my special someone, I wouldn’t set myself up for that possibility.
  2. My specific plans, no matter how carefully made or well-intentioned, working out. At 25, I thought hard thinking and hard work could make things happen and keep other things from happening. At almost 55? The universe, life in general, my own life in particular – terribly and wonderfully unpredictable. Again, as my one and only, I wouldn’t let myself believe that one and only one plan would please me.

Given those two no-nos, I open myself to whimsy. Would might give me a special day?

  • A big pot of tea with cream and milk
  • A hot breakfast with bacon and pancakes and maple syrup
  • Writing in a journal
  • Cat in a lap (in the astronomically unpredictable category but it’s okay for a wish list, not a must-have list)
  • Paging through a new book or magazine
  • Organizing a drawer or shelf to make room for something new
  • Reading something to learn something
  • Playing with cats
  • Taking a nap

I think I have spent many days lamenting what wasn’t or isn’t. Although I would readily and heartily give others the advice, “Love thyself!”, I find it odd and awkward to practice it myself. 

But it was fun. And I feel peaceful and happy.

And I’ve already received gifts from myself – a pot of tea, writing in a journal – and a gift from the terrible, wonderful universe – not just one, but a two cat lap!

My heart feels full of love and light.

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