It came...and it went. It wasn't bad, we went camping for the weekend at a nice little state park not far from where we live. I came away with a few bug bites, a new gnome for my flowers, and a cute wine glass to replace my favored one that I accidentally broke.
For some weird reason I dreaded that holiday this year. I wasn't looking forward to it...at all. The topic of growing older/aging/maturing has come up in a couple different conversations with different people lately. As you start moving up in years you begin to look backwards at either what you've done or what you've witnessed. Our examples of who to be usually start with whomever had a hand in raising us. I know that I'm like my mother. I don't trust easily, I don't allow myself to get close to people, I'm very very cautious. One of the biggest differences between us is how my relationship is with my own child. We are nothing like my mother and I were at this same moment in time. Then again, my child is nothing like I was then. I'm not raising her the way I was raised either.
That dread hasn't come over me in several years. That..."holy crap all I've done is be a mom"... Yes, I worry that's all I'll ever be. Honey and I had this chat for a bit last night. The two noteworthy things I've done in my life so far are the military and having a bright child. There are people who would be over the moon about those, who would relish them and hold on to them for dear life. I find them common...there are thousands of people who go into the military. I didn't do anything spectacular while I was in....I didn't save anyone, I didn't do anything of note. Actually, I pissed off my squadron XO, lost some rank and got shipped off to a foreign country where I could only call my child once every few days. Not exactly what an ideal mother does. Producing a child is also easy. Raising one, eh. Some people say it's difficult...they way I look at it is: if my flawed self can keep one alive and not completely ruin it, anyone can.
A young friendly acquaintance of mine has had her first baby this year. She's mentioned that she feels not herself. Happy to have a pretty little new life, happy to have created something so perfect, but not happy with the fact that people believe her to be "better" now that she's a mother. As if there was something drastically wrong with being a wild young woman living her life the way she chose. I understood immediately what she meant. You can be happy to have a bright, healthy, happy child...and still mourn who you were. Not everyone relishes the idea of getting older, more mature, and settling down. Not everyone wants that to happen. My former mother in law is one who wanted that settled life. When I met her she was still active, working, had teenage boys at home demolishing stuff. She could not wait to have gray hair and grandchildren. She saw it all as the ultimate in life.
I've never been one of those women. For a brief moment in my early childhood I did the wedding fantasy thing, because all the other little girls were doing it. It didn't take long before I was daydreaming about living alone, traveling and making my own way. I never said "when" I had a child, it was always "if"...and I had very specific parameters on that occurrence. I was sterilized at 26, thankfully the military didn't have any reservations on such a thing at what many doctors consider a young age. As I mentioned before, I'm weird. I have never gone with the flow, never really been a follower. I've always wanted to be great, leave something behind that meant something. It's not about the recognition...it's about contributing to the world around me. I really don't care if I don't grow to be very old, I'd rather have a short life with quality than a long life that most of which is uneventful.
Please do not take this to mean I look down on anyone with a different view. I don't. Everyone's journey is their own, and they're all different. What works for someone else isn't going to work for me and vice versa. How anyone finds their bliss is their personal business. All I know is that my bliss is not having the cookie cutter, white picket fence life.