Folding, Unfolding



Over the last handful of years, the dynamics of our family have come to rest on the dependence of me as the emotional and physical center. My husband travels a lot, my kids are very active, we still have a younger child at home…it is a perfect storm of circumstances that relies on there being one solid axle to keep our whole lives spinning. {that axle being me}

I have come to feel that my main function in life is to make sure everyone else has a life. To be here so my husband can travel, advance in his career, be free for whatever opportunities and leadership roles come his way. To be here so the kids can get to practices, rehearsals, meets, competitions, any social functions that get thrown into the mix, and for chatting and conversing for any length and at any time. To be here so our youngest can have this last year of growth and freedom and play before starting school.

I’m here, so they can all be there, wherever “there” is.

And it makes me feel small, like I’ve had to fold my life up to fit into the tiny spaces left between their needs.

But no one has asked me to feel this way, to limit myself so severely. It’s something I’ve expected of myself more than anyone else has, though if we could dig clear down into their psyches, I’m guessing my family draws great security from knowing Mom Is Always There. It is an expectation, even if unspoken or unexpressed. And that’s what keeps me from disrupting our status quo right now. That’s what keeps me from unfolding and making space of my own – the knowledge that it would change everyone else’s world if I did.

Not that changing everyone else’s world would end it. I’m not so melodramatic to think everything would come crushing down.

But I struggle to understand what push for my own space and independence would be worth it. I struggle to see far enough ahead to where the ripples end. I also struggle to get it all into perspective, to remind myself that my son starts school in seven months, that life will likely be different then. I’ve been parenting young children for 19 years, perhaps I will be able to take a deeper breath soon, and unfold a little as I exhale.