I have been bellyaching for weeks about how much I don’t want to be single. I want to be married. Be with a person that loves me, and we are there for each other and have the security of commitment. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Then the other day I was playing at an outdoor concert close to the ocean, dancing to an Abba imitator with my little girls. The music swept me up into songs I’d never heard before but really liked. My girls were transfixed by the band, and they enthusiastically grabbed my hands, wanting to spin in circles with me. We were loving it and I felt some kind of reckless abandon.
Then this lady walked by, face streaked with stress lines and a front tooth biting down on her lip. She was wrestling a toddler who had tears sprouting from his face and a wail pouring from his mouth.
I looked at the grouchy baby and remembered all mine from a former marriage. I remembered staying home trapped in the house because I had too many children to go anywhere safely. I remember the husband who thought I should be a certain way—cook dinner, clean the house, be proper, and sacrifice myself always for the kids’ benefit.
I grabbed my five-year-old and twirled her dizzyingly around in circles until my head spun. I put her down and she stumbled and we laughed. We both turned to the music and started rocking out. My other daughter grabbed my hand and we danced together.
I was creating this moment with them with with no expectations. Nobody I had to hurry back to, and no worries that they were having a good time. I could let loose to the music, and it didn’t matter if anyone around me thought I was crazy. I was no longer that trapped housewife. I could hop on a plane tomorrow and travel to Europe if I really wanted to. I could hire a babysitter and go dancing. I could throw the kids in the car and go to the beach. I could lie out in the sun. I could listen to what I wanted, and I didn’t have to consult anyone but my calendar.
Zero bellyaching has occurred since that moment. Instead lots and lots of gratitude and wondering if secretly I was a free bird all along.