I was finally going steady! Ring on the chain around my neck and ALL! I was the ripe old age of 13, and I had a boyfriend! His name was Sam!
I thought he was the most handsome boy in school, and he asked ME to go steady!
Going steady meant Sam would walk me to my classes at school, and then meet me after school to walk me home…all while holding hands of course! We were really in love!
A big surprise came after 3 weeks of blissful love. Sam’s BFF met me at our usual meeting spot after school to announce, “Sam doesn’t want to go steady with you anymore,” he said as he wiped his nose with his shirt sleeve.
Without saying a word, I turned towards home and began to run as fast as I could as tears were running down my face.
As I reached the house, I ran up the front porch stairs, sprinted down the hallway to my bedroom, threw my books and papers on the floor, and I flung myself on the bed. Finally...I could really let loose and cry my eyes out.
In that moment for me, there was a whole lot of NEVER going on. I felt I would NEVER find true love again. NEVER. There could NEVER be another person like Sam. My life was over!
I must have wailed on my bed for the next two hours, oblivious to time. The next thing I know, my mom entered my room with caution and sat carefully on the edge of my bed.
"What happened," she asked?
"Sam broke up with me today mom!" I wailed.
She began to stroke my hair with one hand and wiped the tears off my checks with the other.
"Tell me all about it," she insisted.
The floodgates opened again as I retold my heartbreaking experience.
“That is something," she replied while rubbing my back.
After a long pause, she stated with empathetic strength…
“So, listen. Here is what we are going to do. I am going to step out of your room for 20 minutes. While I am gone, I want you to cry your heart out. Throw the biggest fit about all of this that you can muster. Yell and scream if you’ve got to. When I come back, it will be time for you to get back to living! Understand?"
I remember thinking, "Obviously, you don’t realize how serious this is! I can’t get up to help make dinner!"
Looking back now, I recognize this is how my mom managed and navigated all life had thrown at her.
See, I was the youngest of 5 kids. My father died when I was 7 years old, and my mother found herself alone with all these kids to raise, and no life insurance, which meant no money! Not to mention she had been a stay at home mom for the prior 25 years.
It was the 70’s.
Although there had been some good beginnings around women’s rights, single parent households and women in the workplace were rare indeed. Basically, if you were one of those things, you were an outcast.
As I look back and now having been a single mom of 6 myself, I marvel at how my mom navigated all that was thrust upon her in those days. Not just the responsibility of caring for us kids, but the social scrutiny for being single.
Once when I was an adult, I asked her when she cried.
From my child eyes, she always seemed strong, confident, and ready to take on the world.
Her reply was, “To and from work. sometimes I would pull over because I needed more time to cry before arriving home. I was determined to continue on, and laugh when I could. Day in and day out, I kept insisting I live, and allowed myself to cry in between life when necessary. And so must YOU!"
Mom was both a teacher and demonstration of this life-giving, life-building skill. And I am now passing it along to you.
Yes, love sucks sometimes.
It can stretch you beyond what you feel you can endure. But you can, and you must get back to love and living!
You’ve got 20 minutes!
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