The world according to a 14-year-old is a Serengeti of possibility and dreams that have yet to be wilted by the trappings of real life. I am fully aware that Girl Child’s opinions on certain things are forged in you-have-no-idea-what-you’re-talking-about idealism. It’s part of the innocence of being a kid and, as her mama, I have protected that innocence as much as I possibly could. Then it came back to bite me square in the hindparts.
It happened during one of those random mother-daughter conversations that I’ll mentally earmark to remind her about when she gets old enough to understand how reckless she sounded.
Her: Mommy, how come you and Aunt Keisha and Aunt Gretchen didn’t marry someone you met in college?
Me (after a long, high-pitched scream in my mind): Oh, I don’t know. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.
To that, she tossed her locs back, tooted her nose up in the air and said, “Welllll, I’m gonna have a house by the time I’m 25, get married by the time I’m 27 and have my first kid by the time I’m 30. If I’m not married when I turn 27, I’m not getting married at all.”
Basically, she doesn’t want to end up like me and my crew of 30-something singleistas. Touché. I ain’t even mad at her.
I understand why she’s perplexed that almost all of my friends, these wonderful women she’s grown up loving and admiring, are still on this side of holy matrimony. I’m confused my own self. I don’t have one homegirl who’s not magnificent in her own right. For reasons known only to the good Lord himself, they’re all fantastic yet they’re all still waiting.
But let’s not look at that waiting as a curse of lost time. Let’s call it an opportunity to perfect the vision of the individual men who will step in and bless their individual hearts and compliment their individual lives. My hope for each of them—for all of y’all who don’t anticipate spending the remainder of your days sleeping with laptops and magazines stacked in the empty side of the bed—is to experience crazy, stomach-fluttering, unshakeable love that feels just as pretty from the inside out as it looks from the outside in.
I pray you have the kind of relationship that makes your children and grandchildren proud to tell your story. I pray your man seeks his guidance and solace from God and leads your family with fierce protectiveness, compassion and open-heartedness. I pray he’s a man who sows into your personal dreams and aspirations with praise, encouragement and support. I pray he thinks you’re the epitome of beauty and reminds you of it on a regular basis.
I pray he’s healthy and happy and whole by himself, and full of personality that will compliment and draw the best out of yours. I pray he’ll value you as a friend as much as he does as his woman, that he’ll respect your personal opinions and honor the decisions you make together. I pray he’s equipped to not only balance but bolster you in the places where you’re not as gifted or certain. I pray he recognizes the greatness in you and does his best to feed and nurture it.
I pray he’ll honor his commitment to you and, even more importantly, to God to be faithful and put your feelings—and safety—above his impulses. I pray you have fun together daily and laugh those deep, sincere laughs that make your eyes tear up. I pray that he prays for your family: the one you come with and the one you two build together. I pray grudges will be impossible to keep because passion and adoration will override them.
I pray he’ll think about you, be considerate of you, want the best for you and work to make you happy, not just when things are easy, but when the irritants of life flare up. I pray you two will never stop flirting and enjoying sexual chemistry so intense your fireworks will still be sparking when you’re collecting social security checks (if, in fact, we have the privilege of getting those). I pray a single day without you in it seems 52 hours long to him.
And I pray that, whenever you meet him, he will be thankful to know you and eventually call you his wife.
This is for Marica and Camille, VaNatta and Apryl, Toya and Yedea, Rochelle and Ajshay, Kendra and Ericka, Tiffani, Shameka and Nichole, of course Keisha and Gretchen, and every other single girlfriend-in-my-head and single sistergirl reading this waiting for the magic of meeting The One.
And for Skylar, my ambitious baby girl, in the hopes that her search will be short and that her sense of self will continue to blossom into her own special kind of amazing.
Janelle Harris is a writer, blogger and editor, and the owner of The Write or Die Chick , a boutique editorial services agency. She’s also a single mother, a proud Washington, DC girl and a longsuffering Kanye West fan. Chat her up on Facebook or Twitter.