Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Tradition of the Unexpected

My first blog... what will I say that will be of any worth to anyone but myself...maybe nothing. That's okay I hear. Someone told me to "blog, it's all the rage." I've got some knives in my back, some patterns to unravel...maybe this will be a small start before I fully commit myself to a professional therapist. I laugh at myself in a blog? I hope so.

My dad built us a playhouse once, out in one end of a shed behind our house. That cinder block shed was musty and smelled of rotting paint cans and lawnmower blades. The playhouse had a little dutch door that actually locked. The door was perfect for playing "restaurant" and the lock was for my brother. I imagine that the entire space was only about 10 feet by 10 feet, but at the time, it seemed so big. It had two little beds, a table, two chairs and an Easy-bake oven. It had a little bookshelf and a nearby rocking chair. My mom made hung wall paper and made matching curtains and bedspreads for it. My sister and I spent hours and days playing "house." In addition to feeding, changing and burping our dolls non-stop, we would make cakes, can fruit (rocks) in mason jars and sweep incessantly. I remember, with an embarrassing smile, that we would also dialogue all day long to imaginary husbands named "Donny and Jimmy" (Osmond). We mimicked the life of our mom. We knew, without question, that we would be doing all those things "for real" someday.

My mom raised 7 kids. It's what you do around these parts. I was first. When I was young I tended to look at my endless stream of brothers and sisters as taking me further and further away from my parents. Would I change that now? Never. But as a result, there wasn't a lot of one on one time I got to have with my mom that I remember. But I hung on to the things I had seen my mother do. Actions. Example. I knew how much she was revered by my dad and by everyone that knew her and I figured, if I stayed on that track...I could be as perfect as she was.

I'm not sure if she ever regretted the fact that she didn't finish college, but I know that she considered bringing seven children into the world a very serious contract with the world and HUGE in every way. It was because of her example, that I have always wanted to own my own "business."

So you can imagine my surprise when I found myself to be 40 years old and I had not been given the opportunity to start my own business. I had followed the rules, I had learned to do everything. I was still going to church.... they told me.... everyone told me that if I stayed faithful, I would be given the chance to be a mother.... and at 40 I had not even procured a sperm donor.

Instead, I was raising other people kids. I have done this since 1990. I have no children of my own, but every night, instead of tucking my students in, I send them home on the bus. Other people get to make dinner for them. Other people get to listen to their to triumphs and trials. Other people get to say goodnight to them. I am still listening to them all day, teaching them how to work at something, be self-sufficient, take education seriously, but at 3:00 every day, they go home to their real parents.

So when do I get to do it for real?

That's what's on my mind. That's what I should write about. Maybe there are others that feel like me. But it's not exciting. It needs an inciting incident. Hmmmm... should come here, or soon. Pretty boring childhood. Perfect parents, warm and fuzzy grandparents, church every Sunday, garden for working, maple tree for climbing, playhouse for dreaming, books for reading... more books for reading... more books... ah there it is. Inciting incident is about to happen.

When I was 14, my mom and dad decided that I should probably lift my eyes from the Little House on the Prairie series and get some social skills. I wasn't a pretty girl. More "Laura" than "Mary" if you know what I mean and if you don't, that's okay, but if you do...don't you just love those books? I was thick through the middle and very creative from all the reading. So because of the "in-house" training I had received, taking Home Economics in high school seemed kind of redundant. My parents thought it would be better if I got involved in drama and debate. Both classes lifted me to a place I can't fully describe. It was as if God had used his master key and had opened a gate for me that lead down a path clearly marked "GO THIS WAY."

So I did.