Monday, March 17, 2008

The Last Page

I just started reading this book called Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler; the basic premise of the book is this woman who, for reasons I haven't yet discovered (I literally just started reading this, on my lunch hour), decides to just walk away from her family while on vacation. Like, she just leaves, and keeps going until she finds a new town and life in which to live. I picked up this book at the used book store yesterday (I joined BooksFree, which is really neat BUT slow, slow, slow) and chose it for the basic story line.

I have been there; maybe even as recently as Friday, when I was outrageously flirted with by a handsome man in the grocery store; he made some comment about me coming to live with him (the details leading up the THAT comment are not nearly as titillating as they surely sound, believe me), and in an instant I could actually picture myself calling the kids' various father's-including Owen's dad-and saying something along the lines of, "Okay, it has been 15, 14, 8, and two years (respectively), it is your turn, I am leaving." In that instant, I could see the life ahead of me, rife with possibilities.

This is not what I thought my life was supposed to look like; this is not how I pictured it in any way, shape or form, and believe me, it is totally NOT in my nature to be where and who I am today. For one thing, it is not in my nature to be a parent, or at least not the kind of parent I am. It was never my intention (as it never is) to be raising four kids from three different fathers on my own. I mean, for God's sake, I know how that SOUNDS, and I am not like that at all. I thought I would have this big family, sure, but a family where the dad was still around and made enough money that I didn't have to work unless I wanted to. The other course I thought I would take was going to college to be a doctor; I was registered for college in the pre-med program, for heaven's sake. So yeah, I understand sometimes the appeal of just leaving, of walking away and starting over. I can sometimes see myself just getting in the car and taking all of my money and just leaving, driving until I find a place that feels like home, and staying.

I know it wouldn't be all it was cracked up to be, though; those things about my life and myself that don't look like what I thought they would, well, they are what makes my life. I know there are times when I think I could gladly leave my kids behind and be happy, but the reality is far different. Part of that which makes me long to escape is also the same part of me that knows I have to stay. Not for my kids, though of course they DO need me, but for me. So that I can continue to be the person I am NOT by nature, but the person I want to be; the person I CHOOSE to be. So much of my life is committed to doing things differently than my parents did, treating my children the way I wanted to be treated, loving them enough to listen and care and try to help, even if that means being tough and making the deal with their own consequences. I don't know what I am doing a good percentage of the time, because I certainly don't have a decent model to work form, but it seems to be working. And no matter how great the appeal, am I not committed to seeing it through, for teaching my kids the value of hard work and perseverance and faith? Not even faith in a religious sense, though I do believe in God, but in a much greater sense; that in the long run, we CAN make a difference, and that we just have to see it through.

I read the last page of the book before I left the house; of course, she ended back home with her husband and family. I don't yet know how it happened, and maybe I don't need to know. Maybe it doesn't matter what happened in between but that she found what she thought she was missing, and it was home all along. I think maybe of the two of us, I am the lucky one-because I don't have to leave in order to find out that my life and problems will follow, one way or another, and that where I am is where I am supposed to be.


LunaNik said...

Wow. This post is intense. So many brutally honest emotions and statements here. **applause**

Not many people can admit having these feelings to THEMSELVES yet you are here saying them to the world. Bravo. We should all follow your lead and do some serious examination of our own raw thoughts and emotions.

April said...

I also love you, of course, for saying what no one else will say. The dream of an alternative life only lasts about 2 minutes for me; wonder how long it lasts in the book!

Huckdoll said...

That was amazing, raw and so very honest. I loved every word.

You are the sort of blogger I am fascinated don't hold back, fearing people's opinions. Much respect and props to you, girl. Writing and emotion of this caliber is hard to find in the mommy blog world.

PS. Thanks for adding me to your blogroll ~ much appreciated <3

FreedomFirst said...

You are so right. So many people think they have to experience something to know whether or not it is right for them; and that really isn't true. It may be true for something, something that differs with each individual; but as a whole, we can learn from the past and from the mistakes of others, and just from plain old common sense.

Kate said...

There are moments of everyday that I look around at my life and the wanderlust part of me goes "What the? How the Hell did this happen? How could I let this happen?" and the I realize that the last question is the truest in the fact that I LET this happen so on a very deep level I wanted it all and that is why I haven't run yet.

And hey, at least it isn't 3 kids from 4 different fathers. LOL

2writehands said...

This post really hooked me. It really reveals a lot about your character and integrity--that you see your own choices for what they are. Your children will no doubt benefit from a mom like that!

Thanks so much from stopping in and commenting at Two Write Hands.


Groovy Mom said...

I think a lot of moms fantasize occasionally about leaving and starting over. Maybe it's not just moms, probably not. You're right, though, it's unlikely that leaving would make us happier. The book sounds like a thought provoking read. Heck, look what you came up with and you just started it.