This is the third in a series of reflective essays I’ve chosen to share with you, my favorite reader. This one digs a little deeper, reflects a little more, and puts me in that place I’ve come to love, the vulnerable spot. Please tuck your thoughts into the little comment section at the bottom, I always welcome your perspective. Share the link if you feel compelled, but more importantly, do give time for pause; sometimes a little stop and think, is a good thing.
Stop and think. Two actions not routinely practiced in the first half of my life. If I stopped, then I’d surely have to think; and if I thought, I might find myself in that patch of uncomfortableness you find only when you’re still. Keep moving, my inner mantra for coping with the chaos swirling around me during Phase One of this so-called life.
Two things I never paused long enough to really consider, marriage and procreation. Turns out, marriage takes a lot of hard work and parenting is tough, I mean, really tough. That’s not by any means, new news. I’m in my, gulp, twenty-second year of parenting for the love of Pete, you’d think I’d have earned some sort of collection of patches to sew on my jacket by now. You know, to wear with my mom jeans. But this is parenting, there are no patches; only battle wounds, and an overflowing heart that’s been pulled, tugged on, broken, and pieced back together with up-cycled love. I’ve got the poor sleep habits, justifiable eyes in the back of my head, a heart that can expand and contract as needed, and an obscene addiction to coffee to prove it. Yup, I’m in deep.
When the sperm met the egg for the first of three rounds, five months after exchanging vows with a dapper man in his Air Force Dress Blues, I certainly wasn’t about to start any of that stopping and thinking business; I was twenty-one when I married, and I knew it all, or so I thought. Looking back, I do think it would have been interesting to have seen what a fortune-teller would have predicted, but that would have been classified as stopping and thinking, I wasn’t up for that then. Real life, as far as I was concerned, was about waking up and dealing with the days events, good and bad; I didn’t know then that I actually had any control of my destiny. At nearly twenty-two, I certainly wasn’t prepared to stop and pause and think long enough to foresee that on that early September day in the backyard of my mother’s house, the marriage I sometimes let myself pause and fantasize about, would never really take flight. That the three children I’d go on to create with my husband, would eventually become statistics, always and forever, children of divorce. There are more statistics that could be tallied, within the five lives of what became my family; more than I ever could have even begun to imagine, if I’d stopped and been still. Still just long enough to really consider what my gut tried a handful of times, to tell me. I thought I was invincible, as young adults and teenagers do; I thought it would all change after were married, after we had a baby. Sound familiar?