Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Tuesday Slice: Half lives

 

Did my mother stop and ponder, that March at forty-two?

Maybe she was too busy preparing for her last trans-Atlantic move, figuring out which household items to pack, already missing the German landscape she'd be trading in for El Paso tumbleweeds once more in May.  Maybe she was looking forward to my college graduation--or worried because it was one more event to attend during that transition.  

My mother, at twenty-one:  married, living in Paris with my Army father, navigating her first time overseas.  Giving birth without her own mother nearby.  She would have to pack up and move just six months later.  My mother is so young, in those black-and-white photos stored in the cabinet.  Did she think about this, that March of my twenty-first birthday?

Me, at twenty-one:  barely surviving student teaching.  Worried about getting a job after that May graduation.  Happy to be "legal" again (the law changed when I was nineteen).  Boyfriend, yes, but thoughts of marriage and children were only lightly discussed, certainly not planned.

Life's path has a way of twisting in unseen directions.  In three years I would be married (not to the boyfriend of twenty-one).  In three more, I became a mother.

That was a half-life ago.

Me, at twenty-seven:  considering leaving the teaching profession that March, that intention set in stone when I found out I was pregnant.  Thankful for that decision when my baby was born at twenty-six weeks in September.  Worried about her health, her future.

My daughter, at twenty-seven:  married, beginning her last year as a JET-ALT in Japan, preparing for another trans-Pacific move next summer.  Trying to make the most of the time she has left overseas, even as she prepares for life back in the U.S. She has the gumption of her grandmother, her birthday-mate. 

Me, at fifty-four:  grateful for unplanned blessings, for what I've experienced and learned these last twenty-seven years. 

7 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading your glimpses of the women in your family as different stages of their lives. So many similarities and differences wraped in love of the one who went before and the one who follows. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Sally! My daughter was born on my mother's birthday, but sadly, they only shared two of the following years together before my mother's passing. I see so much of her in my daughter!

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  2. I love this! I considered my son at the age I was when I had him at 28 last year (and my mom had been 21 and her mom even younger with her first). It is amazing to reflect on how much is different and the same in this half life!

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    1. It's an interesting mathematical consideration, isn't it? I think it's worth talking about, especially with our children--if for no other reason than to emphasize the uniqueness of everyone's path, even with familial bonds.

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  3. This is such an interesting format for a slice, Chris. I love the way we can see your ponderings about three generations of women through time.

    I know it’s a ways off, but I’d like to know if I can use this as a “be inspired” piece during the 14th Annual March SOLSC. If so, would you mind emailing me your permission along with the permalink (so I don’t lose track of this)?

    THANKS!

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    1. I am flattered by the offer, Stacey! I will email my permission and link this evening. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post!

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  4. I once read a book about a young woman preparing for the holidays and thinking of the generations before her who did the same - and sensing that all these women were there with her. I get a sense of it with your post. The fluidity of time - flowing back and forth - adds a unique appeal here. We are all the ages we ever were and inextricably linked to those who went before and those who come after (oh, the power of stories and KNOWING them!). I love knowing yours. And yes, "life's path does have a way of twisting in unseen directions." I have learned to be grateful for it ... past experiences bolstering one for the twists to come. I enjoyed this bench that you've provided here, Chris - a resting place along the path to stop awhile and count the blessings.

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