As a teenager, feeling the weight of peer pressure, I spent a lot of time trying to fit in. I would go to the football games when I’d rather have stayed home with a book. I showed up to parties that I hated and waited by the phone for boys I didn’t even really like to call. After those four completely confused years and a couple of very bad hair perms, college felt like a revelation. I could do whatever I wanted. It became clear very quickly that what I wanted to do was skip every football game and stay home with a book and it felt like a whole new life.
But the pendulum made its way right past the middle and before I realized what was happening my twenties moved beyond doing just what I wanted to do and I discovered that I could also do all the things that I had been cautioned not to do as well. I thought it was self discovery or at least self expression, but so much of the time when I thought I was choosing freedom, I was really just opting for defiance, which came with a leash of its own.
Now that I’ve made into my thirties, I think I am finally in a place to figure out just who I really am.
This week at the preschool bus stop there has been discussion among all the married ladies about Valentine plans. I sat listening the other day, not having much to contribute myself, and I realized that I just felt relieved, which kind of surprised me.
My plans this weekend don’t include more than a bowl of this really simple dark chocolate pudding with raspberries, and a lot of glitter, glue, and pink paper as I join the kids in their Valentine crafting. I’ll probably throw in a good book (maybe this one?), but that’s it. No romance, but also, no heartbreak.
Turns out, I don’t really mind Valentine’s Day, even as a single person. It feels like a good excuse to whip up some pudding and get out the glitter. I also don’t mind admitting that while I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak, and maybe even a little more than my fair share at times, right now it feels so good to be alone.
When I was going through my first divorce, I never could have imagined that this place of contentment would ever exist for me. When I was being swept up in the possibility of love and romance just before I got married the second time around, I would never have guessed that a Valentine’s Day alone could feel so good. But here I am, facing a weekend with a bowl of dark chocolate pudding and my four little loves, and I think it’s going to be just fine. It’s a little like skipping the huge football game that everyone that’s anyone is going to, but I’m curled up under the bleachers with some Flannery O’Connor and a smile on my face. At least for now, that’s the kind of person that I am.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Have some pudding, and maybe a good book to go with it.
This stove top pudding is the absolute easiest pudding, not unlike the box mixes but so much tastier. It’s been on my list of favorites for over 8 years now. I don’t think a month has gone by since I discovered this dark chocolate pudding back in 2006 that I haven’t enjoyed a bowl of it at least once. Check out my original post sharing this recipe on Food Fanatic . . . and while you’re there, enjoy all the yummy recipes the fanatics are cooking up for Valentine Week!