Like a lot of single professional woman, I had a bit of apprehension about going home for the holidays this past Christmas. Returning to the Midwest from New York I always feel like I have to put on for the city. Despite living in NYC for nine years, I still find myself inundated with the same questions about life in the big (dirty/crowded/dangerous) city. And though I don't necessarily mind the fact that I'm single, I couldn't help but think how nice it would be to bring someone home with me who could answer those "I don't know how you live there" inquiries for a change while I caught up on all the shows I haven't been able to watch since I decided cable was one of many unnecessarily, extravagant, big city expenses I no longer needed to pay for .
Bringing someone home would also prevent the other line of questioning that was certain: What's up with my non-existent love life? I wasn't sure who, but I knew someone was going to ask me about the boyfriend I don't have and I was going to have to try not to have an attitude about it.
It turned out to be my grandmother who broke the single conversation ice while I washed dishes after Christmas dinner and she whipped up a quick glaze for the Devil's Food Cake she made.
"Do you have a boyfriend?" she asked in a voice that conveyed more curiosity than judgement.
"No," I answered flatly, as if that answer would be sufficient.
"It's hard," I added, cutting my grandmother off before she could utter what I assumed she was about to say -- You never bring anyone home.
"I know. Trust me, I know. Some women will take anything just 'cuz it's got on a pair of pants."
I laughed so hard my grandmother must've gotten the impression I thought she was just making a joke because she quickly backed up what she knew with tales of said women "running around" with sorry excuses for men just to say they had one. I didn't interrupt my grandmother and inform her that I'd been one of those women at one time, instead I soaked in the moment that, instead of criticizing my relationship status, my grandmother affirmed my singleness.
It was a small, but breakthrough moment for me. In past years I'd tried to tell close and extended family members marriage nor kids were probably going to happen for me just to stop questions such as this. That, of course, backfired and I ended up having to explain choices I wasn't really even sure I planned to make. Nevertheless, the front of being half-interested in a husband and kids was a lot easier than admitting that while I'm undecided on children, the desire for a husband has never left me, no matter how unlikely either may be.
Thankfully, my grandmother didn't make me explain why such things hadn't happened yet. She didn't even ask. Instead, in her own way, she supported my single status because it meant I wasn't settling, no matter what internal or external pressure exists to make me feel the contrary.
Funny enough, as me, my mom, and her husband got ready to leave, my grandfather joked, "I need a nephew." "Nephew" was Papa's way of letting me know he wants to see me married with a child, but that it's also not a matter of life or death if he doesn't. I appreciated my grandmother and papa in that moment. Before March of 2016 all of my grandparents were still alive and I'd often asked God to allow me to get married while all four could see me walk down the aisle. Unfortunately, that won't happen now that my father's mother has passed, but I know now my grandparents are proud of me either way.