I am definitely back. The only teen I have seen in 24hours is my own. He is crabby and overtired and he doesn't joyously shout "Becca!" when he sees me. Nor does he want any hugs. The younger two are showing me how much they missed me by fighting and arguing over who should be in charge of which toy. N, who has bent over backwards shuffling G & B back and forth from school, as well as being the task manager of the house and his job, has disappeared to catch up on the projects, ideas and things that were pushed to the side while I was playing in the snow. I can hear the dim force of the freeway towering in the distance as I sort and start the backloads of laundry. There is no snow to see for miles around and it is raining muddy puddles that help the pups track in muddy goo from the backyard. The house is a mess. I am definitely back.
This morning I showered and scrubbed off the last of the dirt, the last of the sticky bus ride home. I would have loved to go for a run but B woke up too early and I needed to sit with him for a minute so he could fall back asleep. Really I did. And, as I mentioned, it is raining. Rain is not necessarily prohibitive for me, but today, in the early morning dark, with a restless B and a busy husband, it just doesn't quite feel quite right to head out. Finding excuses to put off exercise means I am back, definitely back to my routine and my ways.
* * * *
When I gave birth to E, I forgo (temporarily, so I thought) getting any sort of advanced degree. I had just gotten my B.A. in French and Humanities, but I was so inwardly focused on the little creature I brought into the world I had a hard time gaining perspective about my options. However I wanted options. I wanted the dream of options. I wanted to know that my life didn't end and begin with creatures #1, #2, & #3. For the past 13 years, despite my odd assortment of jobs here and there outside the home, I have often laid awake at night wondering where my path lay for me: how can I be Mom, which is so fundamental to the core of my being, and create a simultaneously successful and fulfilling corner for me? A separate corner, for me, apart from the label "Mom."
I did not notice it at first, but the intensity of my mother's illness and her subsequent death HAS been a catalyst for inviting a bit more into my life. I am not quite as shy as I have been in the past about taking on projects, volunteering at the boys school or speaking my mind. I have seen, over the course of the last year, even in the last few months, a small bit of my corner shining through. Last night N said that my path is slowly emerging, opening up, blooming, maybe even a little. I wish, though, I trusted that something was happening. I worry if I forsake the dream of the advanced degree there will be less stability in our long term life. Less security. Less Hope.
Then the worry really kicks in: Maybe this 'just for me' corner is a fantasy novel I have fashioned for myself over the years. I have envisioned SO many different worlds in which I emerge perfectly triumphant after obtaining the ever elusive Masters Degree: lawyer, therapist, teacher, professor, scientist, nurse, mid-wife that perhaps none of these paths are a reality. And the truth is I always have shied away from my artistic self in lieu of the fantasy of a stable job with a stable income that will allow us to live a moderately stable life with all those middle class values I cling to: save for college for the boys, save for retirement for us, a mini-van, a Prius, vacations and the latest gadgets and wear. And I shy away still from my art, because quite frankly, I have never thought I was really any good at any of it anyhow.
I don't know whether it is the worry that holds me back or the reality of life. Maybe it is both. I don't know. I do know I am definitely back. I am definitely home, back here to this street and this house and the grumpy, whiny and often sweet ways of my boys. I am stumbling over the pups, listening to the roar of the freeway in the distance and the pitiful mews of my cat begging for more food. I am back to reality of the day to day. Hoping to forge a path to live and create in.
I just ask, that today when you are out there, living your life, if you stumble across my path, would you please let me know? If you can see the forest through the trees and the path climbing though them, I would love to know where it is. It would be so much easier if someone could just point the way.