Grayson and I had a great day on Sunday. A relaxing morning of pancakes and hanging out around the house, followed by a crawfish boil and dinner at my mom's. As I tucked him in for the night, I hugged him tight and said the words: "thank you for being you". He asked me what I meant and I told him how much I love him for being just the way he is and how special he is to me. His little face lit up, and he said the words back to me, smiling a sweet little smile.
As I walked back downstairs, I remembered that Daniel used to say those words to me all the time. The realization made my heart hurt. He'd say it in so many contexts: when hearing about someone else's troubled marriage, after a fun night out just the two of us, after I had said something way too blunt and slightly embarrassing, or I'd told a joke that was more than slightly over the line of decency...... he liked me for who I was. He appreciated me, warts and all. Although I'm sure I had some habits that were annoying to him, and life wasn't always hearts and flowers, overall he felt like he'd won the lottery when he married me, and the feeling was very mutual.
Hearing Grayson say those words made me realize how much I miss hearing them from Daniel. It's been a long time since I've felt so loved and so accepted. No one knows me the way he did. He could see into my soul. I miss it so much, and I miss knowing him in the same way. It's much lonelier being me without him, that is for damned sure.
I had a strength and confidence as "Daniel's Wife" that I have had to re-learn. I've had to learn to value myself and know that not everyone will get me, or understand what I do. I have to be okay with me. It has been harder to do as a team of one. It was much easier when Daniel had my back. Now, I have my own back (with the support of some wonderful friends!).
It has been a difficult process, but I'm finally at the point when I truly feel comfortable in my new skin. In the words of Popeye the Sailor - "I am what I am." That is good enough for me. Hey me: "thanks for being you."