No, as a matter of fact, I am not. I probably shouldn’t be offended, but I am, a little. To most people, there are two statuses: single or married. Divorced and widowed each connotes the lack of a spouse, but that doesn’t have to mean one is single. In fact, when I was divorced, I had three children at home, ages 7-15, and the youngest was still at home (age 17) when I remarried. Sure, I dated in those 10 years, but I was only unmarried, not single. No one with children at home is single, IMHO. I was most definitely in a relationship with them, and if you don’t know, raising teenagers is a time-consuming and highly prioritized activity, not to mention financially challenging. I did it willingly than, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but really? No, I was most definitely NOT single.
My actual singlehood up until now was short-lived and lacking inexperience. I graduated high school at the end of May of 1976 and was off to US Army Basic Training in early August that same year. Uncle Sam took over where my parents left off. But even if you consider that I was unattached and otherwise available for a romantic relationship, by February of 1977 I was pregnant, and in April I was married.
So marriage #1, three babies, divorce, parenting, and then remarriage in 2002 until his death in 2014. It’s only the past almost-3 years I would consider myself single again, although I still have those 3 kids and a handful of grandchildren. And the dogs. It’s been 41 years since I was so footloose and fancy-free.
But an interesting lunch conversation today with someone who I had not met before had me even rethinking that. She asked me about my life these days, and there was I was again, tearing up over my salad. Two years and 10 months, and I’m still prone to crying. Here’s the thing she said, though, that made so much sense to me. She said that I was still in a relationship with my husband. Which is completely right; I am. I talk to him all the time. I feel his presence every now and then, sometimes stronger than others. I’m mostly okay about this, but I do have times when I very much miss him being physically present, and it is those times when I get angry at him.
You might remember when I couldn’t get the BBQ grill hooked up because the valve was overtightened. Well, a similar thing happened last Saturday, and I’m still feeling these feelings. I decided rather spontaneously (yay, Me!) to go camping. I made a reservation, started packing, made arrangements for mail pick up, watered the house plants, and headed off to the hitch up the camper. But no-can-do. No power on the tongue jack to raise the camper to set it on the ball hitch. I assumed it was a battery issue, even though I had connected the electrical cord to the car. I left the car run for about 15 minutes, thinking I would at least get a flicker of juice. Nada. So plan A didn’t work; I was on to Plan B: YouTube it. I learned where the manual override was, and I tried that. Except I didn’t have the physical strength (nor the desire) to do this up, down (to hook it up), then up, down (at the campground), then up, down (hook it up to come home), and up, down to store it again at the RV lot. And I wasn’t even sure it was the battery that was the problem.
Plan C was to catch one of my neighbors (the male kind) to verify it was a battery issue and help me figure out if I should replace the battery. Neither one I would be comfortable asking were home. So Plan D was a call to a local friend to see if I could borrow her husband, but I got voicemail. On to Plan E, call my brother and cry. Usually, when we talk and I have a problem, I tell him he is not supposed to fix my problem; he is supposed to agree with and commiserate with me. This time in between tears, I asked for advice. But as we got started talking, a friend with a husband called back, so I hung up on my brother and called the husband, who willingly agreed to come over. Then I called back my brother to tell him I thought I had a work-around for now. He gave me a few options to consider, including going to his shed to get another battery. The problem with that is he lives about 1200 miles away, give or take a few hundred miles.
Tom came over, he zippity-do-dah twirled the manual override thingy, and I was hooked up in a few minutes. By which time the damn electric tongue jack was powered up..enough! He agreed it was probably a battery issue, and since I have a battery charger, suggested I bring it along on my trip and hook up the battery before I prepare to leave again to go home.
Once he left, I cried again, mad that I couldn’t do it myself, and therefore must be weak and inadequate and incompetent, and mad that Kevin wasn’t here to take care of this. If he was here, the battery probably would have been already in the garage being trickle-charged until needed anyway, thus avoiding this kind of problem in the first place.
So yes, when I was describing this scenario to Marilen today, and she said I was still in a relationship with Kevin, she was absolutely right. Do you ever feel that way? I guess that’s why “breaking up is hard to do.” At least then the person is probably still around somewhere so you can choose to call him or not when the car dies and you need it pushed off the street or have a flat tire (yes, been there, done that with ex-husband; now I am a AAA member).
The reality is that I may have been standing alone in the RV lot for a while, fuming while watching the guy on You Tube show me where the manual override was), but I did have neighbors I was willing to ask if they had been home, I have a friend whose husband was willing to help, I have a brother who was only a phone call away, and I have a friend who met me at the campground to set up the camper in case the jack (and/or battery) failed again. We are only as alone as we want to be, and only as unmarried as we feel. I may have wanted someone else to be all those people at once, but he’s not of the physical world any longer. And I suppose I could have asked him to use his energy to power that battery for me so I could just hit the retract/extract switch on the jack, but I didn’t think of that. That he maybe could have done. Even if I did not know anyone else to ask, there are people I could have asked that I just didn’t know yet.
Bottom line, I’m Solowingnow….solo, widowed, single, all mixed up, for now. I’m actually okay with that status; I wish it was an official option on government forms. And when it stops raining, I’m going to disconnect the battery and put it on the charger for a while….