Table For One

Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
~Veronica A. Shoffstall
When you’re single and female, certain holidays pose specific challenges. There’s New Year’s Eve, when everyone else is kissing their sweetheart at midnight and all you can do is watch Ryan Seacrest in Times Square; Halloween when you want to dress up as Wilma Flintstone but it won’t make sense unless Fred is at your side; and your birthday which, depending on your age, serves as only a reminder either that your biological clock is ticking or confirmation that you’re destined to be old and alone.
It’s taken me ten years of single hood to make peace with all of this. Last year, for example, I threw myself a fabulous birthday party. I invited all my besties and their significant others, where applicable, to join me for dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant and to my house for cake and ice cream afterwards. It was a happy birthday, indeed. On Halloween, I turned off the front porch lights, poured myself a bowl of candy corn, and watched It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. I felt like I was seven again. And I brought in 2012 with my brother and his wife and my kids. We listened to 80’s music and played board games and drank champagne. I hugged my dog at midnight and went to bed feeling nothing but joy and optimism.
But now it’s Valentine’s Day, and I can’t even go grocery shopping in peace. I am forced to swim through an ocean of beribboned balloons just to find a loaf of bread. The gargantuan assortment of floral displays makes it difficult to find the chicken noodle soup. And as I approach the checkout line, it is impossible to avoid the cheerful displays of stuffed animals and heart shaped candy boxes, none of which have my name on them.
Finally, though, I understand that being single is not a punishment for evil doing in a past life, a consequence of any shortcoming of mine, or even a state of lacking something. It simply is what it is. I am complete whether or not I am in a relationship.
So this year, I am going to be my own valentine. The last time I went to Kroger, I tossed a perfect pink rose into my shopping cart to enjoy all weekend. And at the end of the day, I’m going to light a candle and say a prayer for each of the men I have ever loved as well as for the man I still believe is out there for me.
Whether you’re happily married, unabashedly single, or somewhere in between, I wish you and yours the happiest Valentine’s Day ever!
Note: This post first appeared at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales on February 10, 2012