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There are days when I wake up and I think, wouldn’t it be nice to not be single, find a guy, fall in love, marry, and settle down (or as will probably happen in the arranged marriage scenario…marry, fall in love, and settle down)?
Yet most days, I wake up and think that a world where I didn’t have to deal with the Y chromosome in that way isn’t an entirely bad alternative either. Unfortunately that’s not an option.
Every year, Valentine’s Day isn’t so much a dagger to my heart as it is a splinter in my side. Valentine’s Day…bah humbug. Here’s how I see it (at least from my albeit biased perspective).
I wasn’t really raised to look forward to Valentine’s Day. I guess that’s the price of living in a family that is geared towards arranged marriage. So I never found the holiday particularly exciting for a long time. Valentine’s Day, for the longest time, was something I celebrated in elementary school, where we would exchange cards because the teacher told us to do so. It was probably when I got to college that I started to take notice of the holiday.
Yet seeing the stores now with all the pink and red, the streamers, the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, and the sappy cards makes me want to retch a little. Everyone who has a significant other is just dripping with diabetes-inducing, sugary sweetness in every syllable of conversation and every action, especially those in the early stages of a relationship. Even those who have been dating or married for years will take that day, if not that whole week, and inject it with as much romance (perceived or valid) that they can muster. For those who are single, there is always a sense of gloom that descends during Valentine’s Day, and the days leading up to it.
Valentine’s Day, like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July, is another holiday gone rogue and commercialized. Everyone, in their celebration of the holiday, tries to live up to the idea of Valentine’s Day, not so much the idea of their own, unique romance with their significant other.
That being said, allow me one sappy, possibly cliché moment when I say that everyday should be Valentine’s Day for couples. If two people in a relationship need a holiday to remind them to be loving and romantic…I’m not sure what to say to them.
I will (grudgingly) admit that this could be partly a case of sour grapes. I have been single for every Valentine’s Day for my whole life. However, I will also admit that the holiday itself has gotten so incredibly commercialized to the point of tears. Do we really need to buy special Valentine’s Day, brand-name things to feel some sense of purpose? I don’t think so. Do we absolutely need to buy the other person something expensive or take them out to the best restaurants or romantic spots to celebrate? It would be nice, but I’d be just as happy at home. There seems to be so much pressure on both people in a relationship to do something amazing on Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t need to be that way.
But this year (as in recent years) I won’t be sad during Valentine’s Day. I will be celebrating Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D.). Sure I want a relationship, but being single is much more fun. Really, I swear it’s true. Keep in mind, being single for me means (for the most part) keeping the marriage proposals away, at least for the time being. Can’t exactly dive into a dating scene that is still ambiguous, vague, and sometimes a little taboo by Indian standards.
Being in a relationship, at least in the early stages, means having to be with that person all the time. I don’t mean that you’re forced into spending every waking moment with them, it just ends up that way. Blame a combination of neurotransmitters and hormones that produce good, old-fashioned infatuation. In some (slightly unhealthy) scenarios, relationships can overwhelm your life and supplant other things like studying, other relationships (family and friends), and work in terms of importance.
Yet being single means keeping your options wide open, being unfettered, and being able to keep all your other relationships intact. What this translates to is a) having a license to be flirty (to be used as much or as little as needed), b) having more time to bitch about how it sucks to be single to all your friends while not-so-secretly enjoying your independence. You don’t have to include your significant other in all of your activities, or cloister yourself away with only him or her. You can just do what you need to do, see who you need to see, and not answer to anyone.
Sometimes when someone is in a relationship, they forget how to exist on their own two feet. As a couple, you become a unit. Person A becomes inextricably linked with person B, to the point that sometimes they’re treated as one and the same. Independence is important, and sometimes it’s something that you have to relearn when you are single. You can’t form healthy relationships without some sense of self apart from your significant other. We do crave relationships and forming bonds with other people, but ultimately we have to know how to live and think independently.
Being single, most importantly, also means having time to do soul-searching, to figure out what exactly you want out of a relationship. I think that a lot of people (myself included) shortchange ourselves this little luxury while we, instead, moan about how we’re single. If we don’t really know what we want out of a relationship, can we ever have a successful one?
So yes, I do want to have my Valentine’s Day one day. I want it to be thoughtful and I want it to be romantic, but I don’t want it limited to one frigid day in February. Until I can find someone who can be like that every day of the year, I will fill my days with my other relationships with my family and my friends. I will allow myself to grow and mature as a person. I will be single, and I will be happy.
Happy S.A.D.! :p
First, congratulations on the recent birth of your children.
I get that you love children. I can’t think of many people who don’t love children. I get that you wanted to be a mother. That is the dream of most girls. Didn’t you achieve that dream after the first two or three children?
I don’t know what mental force drove you towards having fourteen children, that too, all by in-vitro fertilization. Each treatment involves a whole series of hormones that can cause dramatic mood swings, weight gain, and the very real risk of future infertility. There is certainly nothing wrong with in-vitro fertilization as an option for having children. However, as a patient who has suffered from depression, how could you subject yourself to that after already giving birth to the first few children?
Did you even consider what a house of fourteen children–ranging from the days-old octuplets to a seven-year old–would actually be like? Babies are a handful as it is, requiring round-the-clock care. Multiply that by eight, then add a few toddlers and young children who will all be vying for your attention. There will be screaming, there will be crying, there will be tantrums, messes, homework, trips to and from school, the doctor, and then just the day-to-day chores and errands.
You are a single mother, collecting disability payments as your only source of income. You were on the way to getting your masters, but dropped that part of the way to have more children. Your parents have taken care of your children thus far, but they can’t handle eight more. Even with a nanny, it is still a formidable task. There is nothing wrong with being a single mother–something that our society definitely understands, though you claim otherwise–but a single mother with fourteen children is a cause for concern. Even a mother with a strong support system with that many children raises a few red flags.
Have you considered how much it will cost to raise all of them to adulthood? It has been calculated to be around $200,000 per child. Multiply that by 14. Have you considered that they may go to college? The cost of tuition is only going up. Throw in at least another $10,000 per year, per child. You get the idea.
What were you thinking?
You may want to be a mother, but I think you are more in love with the idea of being a mother than the actual task of motherhood, with all its bells and whistles. You are probably in love with the idea of having children, which is in some ways, you may view as a validation of your femininity, especially after suffering previous miscarriages. Yes, you claim you will be at the disposal of all of your children, that you will give them your attention, and your love. Yet I’m not totally convinced that you know that motherhood involves a lot more than just unconditional love. Motherhood is not easy. It is something to love, but it is certainly not easy even with one child, let alone fourteen.
Please consider the gargantuan task ahead of you, and do what you need to do to ensure the best future for your children. We’re all rooting for you.