The Power of Belonging
This is a tangential story my ADHD brain couldn’t let go of. My hometown wasn’t perfect—it was boring. I always planned on moving, but when I was ready (I.E. for college). And “diversity” meant you weren’t blonde.
Time to Leave
And then it was time to leave. My dad’s clinic was closing and neither he nor my mom wanted to stay there and rebuild it. Would we move to suburban Philly near my sisters, Northern Florida, or Minneapolis? Regardless, the news devastated me. And then I was angry. I all but begged to live with my grandparents who had left the farm and moved to town a few years back. That anger simmered for years to my parents’ surprise.
In the same way I couldn’t emphasize with my mother’s dislike of my hometown, neither of them could see that I was no longer the odd duck anymore. You know the bookworm/teacher’s pet, and always the last kid picked for softball or football during gym (I’d played figure skated, swam a lot, and sailed up till then, but those weren’t part of the physical education curriculum.) At 15, I was still the nerdy kid that took 15 books to read for a week’s vacation and read the entire set of encyclopedias at home, but I could (and did) pass as a typical nail polish obsessed teen girl.
I fit in for the first time and I fiercely wanted that to continue. So while I knew on an intellectual level that my mom wasn’t happy (she felt that everyone she met was a patient of my fathers — he did a lot of marital counseling.) I really didn’t care. I just wanted a few more years there. I wanted that warm feeling of belonging to never end.
Always the Goose
In the land of sky blue waters and grey ducks, I was the goose. Angry, smart, vocal, hurt, and unforgiving are the nicer words I use describe high school self. I owe my mother so much for simply tolerating me until I was 21 and yet she continued to love me, share great advice (a B+ is not failing it’s fantastic), and welcome my friends for meals, holidays or just a place to crash. I could have done without the frequent pink and fuzzy wardrobe additions, though, I liked black (and still do). Now I laugh at my post exodus transformation, but that grace took a long time coming.
Duck, Duck, Grey Duck
Overcompensating as a Parent
As a parent, I vowed to never to move my kids anywhere — across the country or even to the next school district, once they hit a certain age. (However, if one were bullied, I’d do anything to fix that.) Most parents overcompensate for the things they disliked the most about their own parents. I’m no different. My kids aren’t baptized, we don’t attend church, I refuse to eat or cook chicken, we’ve not moved since our eldest finished third grade, and when they feel strongly about something, we listen and do our best to accommodate their desires.
There are a lot of stories to unpack in that last sentence! All for a few more blog posts!