I am single.
Yes, I have a child and am in a, generally loving, mainly stable, relationship with her father. We live together and share a Tesco clubcard. I wash his dirty clothes and he kisses my make-up-free-face goodnight at 8.32pm when I tire of small talk and head off to my clearly defined side of our shared bed.
But give me a form to complete and (married/single/divorced) I can’t argue with the facts. I’m single. Miss.
And, most of the time, I am fine with this. I see the escalating costs of the average wedding and rattle off a list of everything I could do or buy if I had that sort of money. I remind myself of how utterly useless I am at parties; how I wouldn’t know how to talk or behave, would get drunk, do something I would undoubtedly regret, make a complete fool of myself, remember nothing of it the next day and spend at least a fortnight berating myself for everything I had ever said or done. I tell myself that it is just a meaningless bit of paper. I laugh when joint post arrives with my would be married name printed proudly next to his. And, most of the time, I am fine.
Most of the time.
At Christmas my brother got married. And almost every day since my daughter has insisted on watching the video of their first dance. Mariah Carey warbles those opening lines as the photographer clicks away in the background and the happy couple launch in to some very dubious moves. Then, the other day, as the video froze to a still screen, she looked down at her white muslin draped across her chest and asked me the question:
Mummy, where’s your princess dress?
And the words sounded like they had travelled straight from my distant heart.
For a second I froze before finding my smile. From there I explained how Mummy doesn’t have a dress like that. How Mummy doesn’t need one. How one dress and one day aren’t important. How Mummy is special anyway.
Too much information for someone not quite two.
And then she turned and headed towards the wardrobe to pull skirts from their hangers and climb amongst high heels.
And I’m fine with these too.
Most of the time.