A week ago, Carmen of Mom to the Screaming Masses wrote a lovely post about paths in life--expected and unexpected--and what takes us there. Her post has been rattling around in my head since I read it, particularly because of how my own path has so vastly diverged from what I expected. And I've spent more time writing this post than I've taken for posts in a long time because of the nature of the post. In fact, I've come thisclose to deleting it several times.
This time last year I was quite pregnant with my daughter, Tink, living in Florida as a work-at-home wife and mother. I thought that this was the path my life was meant to take, and that I would always be a Floridian wife and mother. In fact, this idea wasn't challenged until this past October. Since then, though, everything has changed.
In October, for a lot of reasons, my husband (who I'll call Monty) and I decided to move to Illinois. My father and I drove to Florida and packed the household, then drove back up. It was...an adventure. Of course, I was glad to be near my family in the midst of some of the struggles we were facing, but I was also sad to be leaving Florida behind for that time. (Monty and I had talked about going back to Florida after a time.) It was my home. It was were the children were born. It was...Florida. But it was a necessary move, and being with my family after being away for four and a half years certainly made the move easier.
My daughter, who turns one in a week and a half, has been going to a variety of doctor's appointments to try and find out why she's not growing like she should be. This has been going on since February. Out of a sense of privacy for her, as well as to keep Monty's privacy, I won't go into details about it. She is healthy and happy, we just have to figure a few things out.
In January, Monty left Illinois and went back to Florida. Initially, it was just a visit to his family, but it was decided that he would not be coming back to live with me. At the beginning of February, he filed for divorce.
There are a lot of reasons my marriage is over. I'm not going to be one of those women who complains about her ex-husband. I don't hate Monty. I really don't. I hate that things have happened the way they did. I hate that it's so complicated, especially right now. And, as crazy as it may sound to people, I hope that when the difficult and complicated parts are over, things will be be better between us, and I don't mean only for the sake of the children. (But that's another post for a different type of blog.)
There is one aspect of what's happening that I can talk about, and that's really the focus of this post because it has a lot to do with why I am where I am in my life right now.
I am a lesbian.
For those who know me, this likely comes as a surprise. Yeah, I know. Me, too. I don't want to talk much about the specifics of that, though if you're dying to know more, I'm happy to talk to you via email.
Obviously, this is a vastly different place than I expected even six months ago. But things have unfolded the way they have, and that's what I have been basing decisions and actions on every step of the way. And while I thought I was on a gravel garden path, I found myself--somehow--in the thick of the Hundred Acre Wood. And I'm not scared to be here. Because I know the path was taken carefully, step by step. To me, the path that got me to where I am made sense along the way. I couldn't always see what was coming, so I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other, watching just the next step. Then, when I looked up, this is where I was. And when I look over my shoulder to see how I got here, I'm okay with it.
See, the thing is, there is no "road less traveled" when it comes to how our lives are lived. The only path for you is the path you are traveling right now. It doesn't matter where anyone else is on their life path because they're on a different path. Their garden or wood or whatever is a vastly different one from mine. I can't see them. So I try not to compare myself to others in that respect. It doesn't matter where I am vs. where they are because we've had different rocks and fallen branches encountered on the way. (Is this metaphor still working?)
Sure, I don't know where I'd have ended up if things had gone differently. But I'm happy where I am, for the most part. I try to remind myself that, yes, the garden could have been lovely, but it could have easily been the creepy labyrinth/maze from The Shining. So I'll take the Hundred Acre Wood.