I pick up the book and open the cover. I love the smell of books, and even more I love feeling them in my hands. The pages of this book are dusty, the corners folded.
It’s an impossible standard because the more I learn about something, the more I realize I don’t know about another. But still, I wonder often how much shorter that list would be had I never allowed my life to be derailed by men. During high school, college and the career that followed I always had a boyfriend or a man I was dating. The relationships, all failing, ultimately took time away from other pursuits.
Why have I always been so vulnerable to being completely and absolutely distracted, often to my detriment, by the men who enter my life? Do I have self-esteem issues? And what does that say about me as a mother? I had been dating the wrong men my entire adult life. I vowed to never choose a man again for the wrong reasons.
I have felt ever since that my choices and subsequent relationships have improved dramatically–but, here I am, still single. Nothing wrong with that and I’m not kicking myself with regret. Here, where I am now, is a very good place to be. But, I am still feeling little echos of need. Of needing someone just to have someone, to feel wanted. And that scares the s&*t out of me, because that feeling of need, that feeling of filling some void inside of me that no man can ever really fill is what always gets me into trouble.
I want it to go away and I can’t afford the therapy bills, so I start reading, hoping this book has some answers.
She has me within a few seconds, gripped by a quote from her own Mother that “Children don’t belong to us. They are litle strangers who arrive in our lives and give us the pleasure and duty of caring for them–but we don’t own them. We help them become who they are.”
Jaden, my little stranger. “I love you more than anything and no matter what.”
I had always assumed he knew that I loved him no matter what, but it was my dad who enlightened me to the fact that I had to say it out loud. That with children that young, as Steinem explores, unconditional love is the only thing that matters.
I feel drained enough with just Jaden, constantly keeping my temper at bay. It’s hard; modern motherhood and it’s a wonder half of us are as sane as we are.
His eyes seem to sparkle, the bright hazel brown eyes jumping right out and into my heart where I’m smiling back. Forever connected, and it all starts in the beginning of a child’s life.