At Home, Arlington, Massachusetts
We just returned to Boston from Prince Edward Island. I fell deeply in love with the place, though I think somehow I already was through my childhood love of Anne of Green Gables. On the long drive home, we listened to an audiobook of the first Anne book. So many memories of my girlish self came back. I have always resonated on a profound level with the Anne stories and it doesn't seem to wane with age.
I'm not quite sure how, but these got me thinking tonight about my own future family and the many fears and sorrows I harbor concerning them. I think it might have started with the way the Anne stories have always stirred up my longings for "place." As a child who struggled terribly with identity and a sense of home, and as an adult who spent almost an entire decade on the move, Montgomery’s sense of belonging to a place and a people has always struck a deep nerve with me – tonight I've once again been pondering my own inability to claim a "home."
As I think about my siblings, my parents, and myself and the unlikelihood of us all living in the same place again in life, and as I contemplate the general roaming, caravanning way of life among my generation, the more I long for the certainty of the location of life past generations enjoyed. I often feel like it will be necessary for my children to know stability.
But really, wherever we are and whatever degree of locational sameness we give our children, they are only with us for a short time. All we can provide them is the proverbial wing to shelter under, and then they are gone, whether it is to the other side of the world, or the next street over. They will leave us, and they must leave us, and geographic proximity can't reduce the process.
Vacationing with my parents earlier this summer, and Daniel and Bethany just this past week, has really caused me to think about the next "level" of adulthood that it seems God is pushing me into. I've been on my own throughout my twenties, sometimes very much so. But it seems like my thirties will really be the time in which I will not just be figuring how to live and operate on my own, but also come fully into womanhood. It's time for me to "become my own man." Doing so is not and will not be a severing of familial ties; but, it will change them. It will reduce my fear of disapproval and disagreement. It will empower me to imagine the life I believe in and strive after it. It will reduce my unconscious attempts to placate and replicate my parents, letting go of things I truly disagree with and embracing those that I wholeheartedly embrace.
For me, geography and independence are inexplicably intertwined. My guilt for leaving often resurfaces in my attempts to keep things exactly the same. But it is not good for children to stay under the wing prolongedly, whether physically or metaphorically. My children will do the same to me wherever I raise them. They will be with me for a time, and then they will leave, and then they will change. Life will go on.
The important thing is that I have a life that will go on.
About the Project
This is a very personal project. It tracks my growth and development as I journeyed toward motherhood over the recent years. It doesn't document every experience I had, and probably neglects my more joyful and peaceful moments in the frenzy of trying to communicate my fears, anxieties, and doubts. If you are a friend or loved one, please do not let anything you read here overshadow what you know of me personally. If you are a stranger, please remember that a living and flawed person stands behind these words. To all my guests here, please understand these are not political statements and try to extend me grace, even as I share my failures and foibles - I have repented of much of what I share. I don't share this journal as an exemplar, but rather out of the desire to share my hope that entrance to motherhood does not need to be a fearful thing - despite the very real fears I have fought against. Motherhood is simply a part of life and one through which I am discovering more of myself and my God.