This morning I woke up alone, sunshine sneaking across my face on the breeze through the blinds. The emptiness of the house is palpable. The usual Elvish murmurings of Dylan waking in the next room are absent (he is with his grandparents). And the gorgeous sleepy smile of a man that was here yesterday is long gone. No one is here to need me. I don’t have to make breakfast or conversation.
Both the nature of my work and that of motherhood require constant giving. Everyone needs or wants something from me. It is my job to deliver, to exceed expectations, to satisfy on demand. I’m good at it, I am, and I like it, and yes, a slightly codependent nature may even welcome it.
My personal relationships bear witness. In fact, I spent almost four years of my life in a relationship (emphasis on the word spent) predicated upon the understanding that I was not to ask for nor expect anything. Willingly I participated in the execution of this contract. Hindsight may be 20/20, but love is blind. My Disney ideals dictate that to love is its own reward. It’s simple. If I care about you, I want you to be happy.
But today, sprawled alone across the puddle of sunshine that collects in silence on my sheets, I say to hell with that. I’m tired of giving. I want something.
But the thing is, you can’t expect anything from anyone. An expectation is, as a wise man once said, nothing but a premeditated resentment. Luckily, we don’t need other people to fulfill our needs, we are each designed with the capacity to love and cherish ourselves. So, at the end of the day, the Disney ideal holds up: love is its own reward. Give and give freely, just love yourself enough to know when to walk away.