My youngest son, A., asked me if I would be attending the prom photo extravaganza this Saturday, with parents taking 200 shots of their teens before the dance. There was a question in his voice as he asked me this because he knows going to these events by my lonesome is not something I like to do. He even asked if Sam could come with me so I would not be alone. I will be meeting his girlfriend's parents for the first time. I assured him that I will be nice and not do any weird widow stuff.
It is unsettling for me to go to these things always facing off with couples. Something about being the underdog... It is awkward and uncomfortable. I go because I want to be there but am so relieved when the whole hour-long thing is over. I grin and bear it.
There is such an emotionally draining aspect of always having to go in and out of situations alone, meet new people who are part of a couple, constantly have the courage or faked confidence to walk into a place without someone familiar to lean on - to feel vulnerable and alone in new situations and circumstances.
I thought of the word unity and how for me it means togetherness and joining two or more into a supportive unit. When I looked the word up in the dictionary I was surprised to see that it means the state of being one. And here I am, alone and one, wanting to be part of a unit.
Remember all the "United We Stand" slogans that were bantered around after 9/11? There was such an emphasis on joining together and becoming unified. The emphasis is on a group acting as a unified front and therefore, the unit is stronger than the individual. I do feel that two are stronger than one. That there is a weakness in standing on my own two feet all the time. Of course I am a strong woman, who has done her best over the years to get on by myself and raise two boys on my own. But on Saturday I will be severely reminded that a lone duck on a pond is more at risk, less safe than those ducks within the safety of a group.
People think that facing challenges makes us stronger. That we grow used to our circumstances and more accepting or tolerant of them. Swimming in that pond on Saturday I will be the stray duck on the outskirts of the flock left behind as the others swim off together without a glance behind them, secure, safe and together in unity.