Thursday, June 3, 2010
Me: "You know what your problem is? You never think outside the box!" Hubby: "Well, you know what your problem is? You HATE the box! You're nowhere near the box! The box doesn't even EXIST as far as you're concerned! THAT'S what YOUR problem is!" It’s true, I’ve never been good with the box. I don’t think in it, and I don’t fit in it. Being unconventional is just who I am, so it doesn’t bother me much, but it can be heart breakingly lonely at times. Most of my life I’ve been blessed to have a few kindred spirits around to make life more full of joy, and far from lonely. Unfortunately, when I took a more unconventional path to motherhood, loneliness really struck. Most women have babies. Cute, adorable little bottle sucking babies. They meet other moms-to-be and new moms and join mommy groups, and end up with an amazing support systems. Being a new mommy to a 6 1/2-year-old is without such opportunities. You’re definitely far outside the new mommy box, and no one knows what to do with you. You’re tired, emotionally worn out, dealing with a host of issues as you bond as a family, and there is virtually no one to lean on. New Mommies are dealing with breastfeeding, colic, and diapers. They’re looking for other mothers dealing with the same issues. Mother’s of school age children are already tightly part of cliques formed when their wee ones were born. They don’t know what to do with a woman who is facing motherhood for the first time in her life--to a school aged child at that. Somehow I knew. Before I ever became a mother, I would see Mommy groups advertised in our church bulletin, see face book groups come together and find times to meet, watch groups of moms at the park, and I longed to be a part of them. But even then, even before children, a small voice reminded me that probably would never be me. I’ve wasted a lot of time in my life wishing I were more conventional. Wishing I could get in the box with everyone else (even though I’m a little claustrophobic at the very thought!) Sometimes you just want to belong. I guess the upside of this experience, is that I’ve learned to be more considerate of people who don’t belong. It’s made my heart ache for orphans who have no one permanent in their lives. It has filled me with admiration for single mothers. It has given me sympathy for single people in churches where the congregation is mostly neatly paired off into couples. The occasional experiences where I have been included where I don’t belong have meant so much to me. The people who have taken the time to ask me to dinner over the years when my husband has been deployed have a special place in my heart. Inviting half of a couple to a dinner party isn’t really the norm. You really have to think outside the box to reach out to someone dissimilar to you. We like to surround ourselves with the familiar. Couples without children hang out with other couples who don’t have children. Singles hang out with singles. Couples with young children spend times with couples with young children. Empty nesters tend to veer to other empty nesters. It’s comfortable and familiar. I imagine though, that our experiences would be so much richer if we branched out to include those who “don’t belong” in our circles. To enjoy conversation and spending time with people from all walks of life is an adventure, and broadens our perspectives and thoughts. So what holds us back? Comfort? I love mac and cheese (well, mac and vegan cheese substitute at any rate) it’s a great comfort, but I don’t eat it every night of the week. Variety is good …and healthy!