Thursday, August 4, 2011

Back to the blog

So, last I blogged, I was preggers. Now my fetus has exited my womb and is 14 months old. Lazy blogger, huh?

Today I'm feeling a need to talk about the exciting/frustrating aspects of life. Growing, adaptation, change, more adaptation. Things evolve, people grow up, kids move on, people come in your life, people leave your life, it's all very impermanent which is one of the reasons it's very important to stay in the moment and enjoy it while it's here. But it can be frustrating to stay in the moment sometimes, especially when the moment you are currently experiencing isn't a particularly enjoyable one.

I've always been a tribal person. The more the merrier, many hands make light work, it takes a village to raise a child-- you get the gist. I grew up around a ton of people, my childhood religion and my family taught me that families were Numero UNO on the list of priorities and I wholeheartedly agreed. Everything I did was heavily influenced by the reaction my family would have to my choices. I would break out whenever I could, but for all my "alternative living" I was still deeply, deeply rooted in my family. As the oldest of 6 children and the very oldest of 64 grandchildren and still counting (when you count both sides) I always felt like I needed to stay close to the pack because if I broke away permanently then all the other kids would follow suit and our family would crumble. Pretty self-centered, I realize now, but that's how I thought.

Anyhow--BIG JUMP-- my youngest sister recently became a mother. Even though she's been married over a year and a half, the beautiful daughter she brought into this world really cemented her to her new family, the one she created with her husband. It's not a new concept to me, (hell, I was the first one to be married out of my siblings) but I can't really say that I was the first one to break off and completely create my own family. It wasn't until I watched my baby sister in her hospital room asleep with her newborn child while her husband lightly snoozed on the couch that I realized she didn't need me there anymore. Not like she has in the past as her 2nd mom. She's now a mom. That man on the couch is her man. And this newborn niece of mine was, is the beautiful product of their union, the beginning of their progeny. So, I realized there, at that moment, without any words or knowing glances, that it was time for me to exit the hospital room and let that little family be their own little family. It was lovely. As I exited the hospital I felt.... Free? Relieved? Relaxed? I don't know. I just know that watching my baby sister remove the "baby" part from her title and just become my sister wasn't as sad as I thought it'd be. It was exciting. Exciting for the both of us. Exciting for me because I felt that I could now completely focus on my own little family now that each of my siblings had their place in their own new pods.

On the road trip back home with my husband and 3 kids in the car this feeling I'd just experienced kept running around in my mind and I got to thinking about who my own true family is. I mean, who I'm truly willing to change everything for. It really took me down some odd roads, with a few surprising turns. I'd always identified the Curt and Alberta Casey pod as my pod. When Bill and I got married, he was just an appendage of me and my place in the Casey pod, we didn't really strike out and start our own. He was fine with that, as he also wanted to belong to the Casey pod at that time. But as my siblings all paired off and started their own pods, not all of them had the same desire to keep the Casey pod as their default 1st family. As a young married I just incorporated my husband into our existing family instead of striking out and creating our own. It seemed like the right thing to do, and maybe it was at the time, but as the years went by I yearned to strike out and start our own. Which is the main reason we moved out of state. I just needed the actual physical separation to do it. Now we have firmly established our own home, our own pod, our own 1st family.

And now something else has happened that makes me question it all again.

My dad is engaged. I like her and I'm happy for them, there's no issue in the coupling or the union. It's just the realization that not only are my parents divorced now, but my father is engaged and will be creating a new pod. She has no kids and they won't be having any together, but his fiancee will still be his first priority and rightfully so. It's just made me think about my new little pod more. My kids will grow up, fall in love and couple off to start their own families one day. And then my core family will only be me and Bill. But what if Bill leaves me/I leave him/he dies/etc.? That means that I will be alone. My kids will all have their own lives that they're leading and I might have no one person to share my life with. It dawned on me at that moment, looking through the glass of the passenger window that *I* am my own family. My limbs, organs, cells and I are my true 1st family. Everyone else in my life is impermanent, though I love it when they're here. I need to be true to myself. So I am embarking on a new path, a new method of decision making. My household is the most important to me and where my work as a mother/wife is done. But I also need to make decisions that are strictly for myself, because one day that's all that there will be, and I need to be okay with that. I'll only be okay with that if I truly like myself and what I'm doing with and for myself and if I'm as proud of myself as I am of my children. So I'm starting down a path of self-interest so that I'm not a miserable empty-nester. Nothing too stringent or demanding and nothing radical because I still want to enjoy the moment I'm currently inhabiting, which is "Mother of Three Young Kids". But, I'm also going to keep an eye out for that lady in the mirror. Not the freaky one that I'm sure will jump out in the middle of the night to steal my soul, that bitch can stay hidden! LOL! I'm talking about the pretty 33 year old with long, dark hair and big, brown eyes.