I was mowing last night, and my neighbor was out pulling up her crabgrass. We don’t see each other very often, so I stopped to say hi.
As always, Betty asked about my children. I mentioned my daughter, who survived a divorce earlier this year, and her face grew sad. “You know,” she said. “you have to admire her strength. My husband had affairs for years, but I had no skills and I was never strong enough to leave.”
I was dumbstruck. Betty and her husband seem so happy! Certainly she can’t mean this husband. She must have been married before. Widowed maybe? I don’t know how old she is exactly, but she has adult grandchildren.
I do admire my daughter’s strength. I got married right out of college and although I worked and considered myself independent, I went straight from my father’s protection to that of my husband. I have never lived on my own, signed a lease, bought a car. I mean, I have done those things, but not when the final responsibility was mine and mine alone.
I am sure Betty has strengths that she doesn’t credit herself with, but she’s right. It is brave to face those things alone. And I admire my daughter for having made it.