Recently, for the first time in my life, I had the misfortune of experiencing an inner ear infection. Even after the antibiotics kicked in, for a full week I felt like there was a vicious alien boring into my brain. Sharp pains exploded in my ears every time I turned my head, I had no appetite because of the nausea, and I wanted to crawl into bed until the infection was done wreaking havoc with my life. I almost collapsed during a trip to the supermarket.
I wouldn’t have wished this on my worst enemy.
I am a single mother living in Jerusalem, with no family in the country or emergency babysitters to assist. When I am ill, I plod on because if I don’t take care of my daughter, no one else will. And when my beautiful girl says something so sweet or funny or intelligent, there is no other grown-up in the vicinity who will appreciate her as much as I do.
With the arrival of Valentine’s Day, even in the Middle East the stores are overflowing with gooey love paraphernalia. Instead of sulking this year, I have resolved to dedicate this Hallmark-inspired holiday to all the currently unattached single moms and dads out there:
I wish for all of you at least one set of able grandparents living nearby, so they can spoil your kids and babysit them for the weekend, and you can enjoy time for yourself, instead of wondering when you last had a real vacation.
I wish for you a month in which you are not staring nervously at the utility bills, and even a little bit extra to splurge on something fun and totally impractical.
I wish for you a vast network of friends who bring you joy and unconditional support, the kind of good people around whom you can be totally vulnerable and unafraid.
I wish for you a healthy adult relationship, one that brings love, great sex, and long term stability for you and your children. I want you to have the privilege of waking up each day, knowing that you are not alone, and you do not have to carry the full responsibility of your little family by yourself.
I wish for you the cards and the flowers and the romantic dinners, and not just on Valentine’s Day. Let’s face it, deep down we all want the cheesy shows of affection, knowing that somewhere out there each day, you are the center of someone’s universe.
Because you deserve that and so much more. You are the most loving, brave, and deserving parents I know.