I attract a lot of single moms. Not so much with my intelligence, witty sense of humour or how my ass looks in leggings, but because we relate to each other. There’s loss. Heartbreak. Dysfunction, weird twitchy eyes and stress diarrhea.
We find each other everywhere. I’ll be standing in line at the grocery store with my sullen teenager wearing death metal rock shirts while his baby brother reaches for the box of tampons in the cart because he thinks it’s a tasty snack. We’ll spin an imaginary ring on our ring finger and give each other an empathetic nod, and if we’re feeling really social, we will highly suggest the new seasonal ice cream and how it pairs so nicely with an oaky cab sav.
But right before all that shit goes down, we’re in the heat. The place where we feel the fire of a crappy marriage and the struggle to breathe through the smoke of its effects. Do we stick it out? Or throw in the towel? We make our lists of pros and cons, and then budget how much more counseling we can afford before we have to start skipping meals and eating cat food.
My sister Tracey doesn’t tell me what to do and she doesn’t judge me when I choose shit she hates. But she will offer this one piece of advice, my go-to point that I use for myself and offer to others in the grocery line. She says, “Suzy? Do whatever you need to do, because whatever you decide to do, at the end of the day when you lay your head down on your pillow and close your eyes, you need to be at peace with it. People will give their advice and tell you ‘do this,’ or ‘do that,’ but they (hopefully!) won’t be with you at the end of the day when you’re closing your eyes to sleep.”
Sometimes I want to curl up into the arms of a stronger version of myself (I know she’s in there) and ask her to take over and tell me what to do. She eventually shows up though, and you’ll know when she does. She will smell like lavender essential oil, taste like sleepytime tea and her feet will be dry and worn from years in the desert. Follow her to the end of the day, close your eyes, and let her in.