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I don’t think this is quite the right title for this post, but I’m struggling with how to express myself this time.

I am lonely for my daughter.

I am not generally lonely. I have a wonderful fiance. My niece is a great roommate. Thunder Cat is a good snuggle companion.  I have friends (if I ever reached out to them). But the loneliness of a parent for a child is a unique animal.  And the sense of missing a family unit is sometimes quite poignant – another kind of loneliness.

I have always been the one in the family who worked.  My ex was always the stay-at-home parent, even when I didn’t want it to be that way.  I missed a lot of Kelsea’s day-to-day growing up. I tried to make up for it by spending as much time as I could with her when I wasn’t working – except for the solo vacations to try to save my own sanity.

Now Kelsea is a teenager. We are going through the to-be-expected separation period. She spends most of her time with her friends. We still  have some small time together, but she stays at her Dad’s most of the time, because he’s closer to school, and getting her there doesn’t work very well with my getting to work. Some people say I should push to have her stay with me more, but that’s just not how we operate. We talk and text every day. She will be driving in a few months, and is so looking forward the her freedom. I remember that from my own teenage years.

But I miss the kid stuff. I miss our dedicated play time together. I miss our “famous chats” and our reading and snuggles and watching trashy TV and talking about anything and everything. I guess this separateion from the parent is a normal thing – just what happens when teenagers grow up. It must be preparing everyone for that day when they leave home and forge their own life, the one that you as a parent have been readying them for since the moment they were born.

Once you are divorced, and one parent is not with the child as much any more, the sense of a family unit dissipates like a wisp of fog. Gone also are those dreams you had, of being the proud parents seeing your child off to various milestone events, or attending school plays hand-in-hand. I am wise enough to realize that those visions, like many others I had, were more fantasy than lost reality – I know that by looking at the reality of my life within my marriage for almost 20 years.

Maybe I miss dreams that I never had a chance of fulfilling. Then again, I was always trying to fulfill those dreams on my own, even in my marriage, and not as part of a team. My ex and I, in hindsight, were never a team, never partners. That feels sad.

The tragic events that have happened recently in Colorado have made me all the more sensitive about how precious my daughter is, and how quickly someone dearer to you than the moon can be snatched away forever. In the blink of an eye.

I know Kelsea misses me sometimes. I know I miss her often. I know she sees the texts and Facebook messages I send her daily, even if she doesn’t respond, so she knows that I’m thinking of her always. We still have our mother-daughter traditions (she loves traditions) and we still carve out time for special things. But the days of being her best playmate, of her sitting on my foot and clutching my leg when I had to leave the house, those days are gone. And I miss them.

I loved spending what time I could with her in her childhood. It was like having my own childhood all over again.

I guess we all have to grow up. Eventually.

Kelsea with the whole world before her.

I spend some time alone these days, and that’s a good thing. I think everyone should spend some time alone.

Alone being a positive is so different from where I was one year ago, eighteen months ago.  Back then, in those dark days, I was lonely and heartbroken.  Being alone reminded me of how I’d been rejected, dumped, forsaken, cast aside. And now I know that I was lied to as well, lied to for a long time. I was delusional about my present and my future. Those days were horrible, and I forced myself to make huge changes, to restart my life, although I felt like a zombie.

Now, all is different. It is as if I am living under a new sun. A new love is a huge part of this, but there are other parts as well.  A willingness to look closer at the choices I made, to let go of the things that were holding me back like silken tethers. A good therapist.  A way of looking at the world through eyes of gratefulness and beauty, noticing the small moments in life that make me smile and feel joy and peace.

Alone time now is a mishmash of a blessing. When I am not with MKL, I miss him. But missing him can make being with him that much sweeter. And being alone with myself, my words, my thoughts, my cat, my house, ensures that I remain the me that he fell in love with – and that I fell in love with as I prepared myself to meet him.

I do not think that I will “end up” alone. In fact, my increased faith in myself, the power of the love of the universe have convinced me that none of us end up alone, even if we pass through periods of this life by ourselves. Alone now is not a bad thing.  Lonely is a little different, but both are states that can change with strength, desire, and intention.

Disclaimer: I feel this way right now. Right now, I am not in the throes of my depression. When I am again in its vile, lying, loathsome clutches, remind me that I said this. During those bouts, hope and faith are both elusive and seeming illusions.

I went searching for a synonym for alone the other day, and do you know what I found? There are barely two or three synonyms for alone that do not imply a state of sadness, emotional/spiritual poverty, depression, or abandonment. I thought that was fascinating.

Most of these synonyms flowed along the lines of isolated, lonesome, discarded, cut off, friendless. You get the picture, I’m sure. But like a miniature lighthouse, one synonym stood out as a beacon: free.

Free.

What a wonderful concept to associate with being alone. Free to choose the company of others. Unburdened by baggage. That is how I feel now.

Beautifully together, and beautifully alone.

I am lonely in a strange way tonight. 

I had a long, hard day.  I’ve had about 9 hours of sleep in the last 72 hours and I’m pooped.  But I accomplished what I set out to accomplish at work today – well, not quite, but I did the absolute best that I could, having only been there 7 days. 

I had cocktails with a nice guy, the same guy I went dancing with last Friday.  It was pleasant.  I was happy and sleepy when I took the late bus home.  I’m really sleepy now, watching some old Lana Turner/Ricardo Montalban movie on the Bonnet Channel.  Who can NOT watch Ricardo Montalban?  I’ve eaten, called Kelsea (like 5 times because I kept remembering things I meant to tell her).  I have some cautiously good news that I’ll share later, just to keep you reading and in suspense.

I was lonely though, when I got home. It’s interesting. Sometimes, when I’m slightly smugly happy, I feel REALLY alone.  I want to share that slice of joy I feel with someone else, and strangers just won’t do.  That’s why I sent an “I miss you” message tonight.  And why I came home and checked my incredibly bizarre E-Harmony matches.  I’m not ready to be in a relationship.  In fact, I am totally dedicated to being on my own and manless (and, yes, womanless, not that I had considered that as a viable option).   This is the time for me to learn, to ache, to grow, to gather my own power, so perhaps later I can be invaluablely precious to myself and to someone else.

And so now, it’s 10:00.  Kelsea and I have a really “cool” day planned tomorrow (with her really cool friend Will) but it’s one more thing I’ll leave you in suspense about (gasp – did I really end that sentence with a preposition?)  Suffice it to say, after last weekend’s auctions and alpacas, this coming weekend will be another thrill!

Sleep well – or if it’s already Saturday – have a lovely day, my friends.

I’m really struggling with these two concepts: alone and lonely. 

My friends have always thought of me as a loner.  Fortunately, not the kind of loner that goes on some rampage and then has neighbors saying, “Oh, she always kept to herself, you know, kind of strange and quiet.”  But the kind of loner who never minds going places alone, who prefers living alone to having roommates, that sort of loner.

Movies alone?  No problem.  I started going to the movies alone when I was 14 – I was in love with Star Wars and saw it over and over again.  It spoke to my wanderlust and romantic, adventurous nature.

Restaurants alone?  Sure!  That probably started when I was 16 – as soon as I could drive, I was out the door.  I was always comfortable hanging out reading and writing at cafes.

Bars/pool halls? Naturally.  If I was old enough to get in (or almost old enough to get in), I was old enough to hang out and to kick some pool-table-pattootie.

I travelled alone a lot for work in the old days, and so I had to get used to being on my own wherever I was.  I did.  When I started going to the Caribbean, I went alone, and loved it.  I inspired other women to try travelling alone.  It was a time for me to truly come back into myself from all the pressures of my life.

But after being in a relationship, and traveling with someone for a while, and learning to love and trust, being alone has taken on a different quality for me, and I can’t seem to reconcile with it.  As I’ve said before, I used to crave and cherish my alone time.  Now, perhaps I have too much of it, or perhaps I felt so loved in my relationship that now, when I am alone, I just feel lonely.

When I go to bed, I realize that I am facing the prospect of going to bed alone for a long time.  When I wake up, I am aware of the same thing.  I refuse to compromise for less than love.  Will I someday become comfortable with this?  I suppose I will adjust to it.  But I do not think that anyone who is capable of great love is meant to be alone.  That’s where I’m struggling.  I thought I could love well.  I felt well loved.  If either of those things were true, then why am I alone now?

I had spent so much time protecting myself from being hurt, because I was being hurt all the time in my marriage.  My last relationship taught me that it was okay to trust someone, to let that guard down, and really let someone in.  Now that that relationship has ended, I feel as if I was wrong.  Wouldn’t I have been better off keeping that sheer wall up, protecting my heart?  I can’t decide if I want to put it back up again or not.  It was certainly less painful.  I was comfortable in that space.  There were some areas where I was floundering, but I’d figured out what they were and how I wanted to handle them. 

Then my heart was captured and convinced.  And even though I know all the reasons that this relationship ended, it’s been over a month, and I cannot seem to accept it.  I cannot seem to come to terms with being alone now. 

Now I am lonely, not alone.

I know I have whined about this before, and a lot of cyberfriends have provided words of comfort and encouragement.  I appreciate that and I don’t forget those words.  Don’t feel like you need to provide me with more comfort.  Just bear with my whining, because it’s probably going to continue for a while.  At least at this point, I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, train or otherwise.

Just like last night felt odd, tonight feels odd.  Not bad-odd, just odd-odd.  Know what I mean?

I had a busy and interesting day today.  Went and worked out.  Got some positive indicators that I have a remote chance of getting the house I’d like to buy.  Talked to a former boss who said she’d push along my resume at the company where she currently works, where I’m considering an interesting but demanding job.  Took a few hours to write a fantastic cover letter for a meeting facilitator/consultant job that is perfect for me.  Wrote a new poem.  Washed dishes.  Made plans with a couple of friends for different dates.  Had a good talk with a bloggy friend.  Am now watching “An Affair To Remember” (the Cary Grant-Deborah Kerr version).  The wind is blowing hard outside.

(And let me say that just because I’m looking for gainful employment doesn’t mean I’m giving up on the writing.  It’s just that if I buy the house, it would help to have some solid income for a bit.)

As the day wound down, I wanted to talk to my former guy.  It was an interesting feeling.  I miss him.  Obviously.  And he reads this, so I’m not telling him anything new.  (Hi there.)  But I was thinking about that being one of the things I miss the most about us.  We used to talk in the morning – he was my alarm clock.  We would talk at lunch about how the morning went.  We would text periodically.  We would talk on the way home from work about the rest of the day.  And we would Skype before bed.  It’s what you do when your relationship is long-ish-distance. 

It’s those going home talks that I miss the most.  That winding down of the day is the time I miss talking to him most.  I miss sharing the little (and sometimes larger) doings of the day.  I liked that.  It had a cozy intimacy to it that was special somehow.

I’m being more social and reaching out to friends and family more and it feels nice.  I’m at home alone (as of last night) and will be until Sunday, which is also fine.  I’m fine being alone, much moreso than I was a month ago.  In fact, I’m kind of happy tonight.  (So, in response to AO1’s comment, don’t feel bad for me.)

But that little conversation.  That’s the thing I miss.  I hope I’ll have that sort of thing again someday.

 Still and Surely

We can sit at any table in any tavern in the world
And I will still hold your heart gently between my two hands.
I do not want to love you, but I cannot seem to help myself.
The spirit that shines through you, cloud shrouded though it may be
in these tired days
Speaks to mine in a language only we two can know.

I can sit alone, buried beneath sorrows and dreams
And still feel you as surely as I feel the wind blowing off the winter sea
As surely as the birds dip and plunge off imaginary coastal cliffs,
As surely as the sun creeps lower and lower into the blue-consuming darkness.

Your tender heart matches mine beat for beat despite miles of land and longing.
I wish I could not feel it
but I do.

But if I didn’t
if I didn’t

There is no choice in it – there is no if I didn’t.
Love is not a choice, it is a fate, it is a fable,
It is a tale reserved for candlelit darknesses at rough wooden tables
with the sound of the ocean singing distant in our ears.

(Submitted for Thursday Poet’s Rally – Week 36)

October 2019
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