My friend, Umā, was heading to New Mexico on a big adventure.
I met her on the internet a few years ago only to discover she lives near me (we haven't met in real life yet). As I followed along on her blog as she prepared for her trip, I was kind of jealous. Lucky enough myself to have had a wonderful cross country journey this past summer with my two daughters, I still wanted more.
Facing mornings here with struggles to get sleepy girls to school, and afternoon games of the fox, the chicken, and the grain figuring out how to get the girls where they need to be while I'm teaching after school art classes, the call of the open road is too loud to ignore. I pacified that hunger for adventure with the promise that Umā would be sharing her journey with us. She is a thoughtful writer and a wonderful photographer, and while I enjoy seeing her pictures of our shared hills and valleys, I couldn't wait to see what caught her eye in New Mexico.
She and her partner drove out to New Mexico, but after he left to return home to Massachusetts for eight months of living apart, Umā decided that where she belongs is back home with him.
Selfishly, I was disappointed to hear this.
It's embarrassing to admit it. Of course, I wanted that adventure and experience for her. But I also wanted the eye candy for myself and the chance to imagine myself on my own in New Mexico, that distraction from the numbing routines I find myself living. Not only am I living them, but I am the one in charge of making sure my daughters live them. Yuck, right?
We all try to figure out our paths. Going to New Mexico to study for eight months seemed like the answer to Umā until she was there alone. Now it feels to her like the answer is to return home. My path is unclear to me now because so much of my life is filled with the dailiness of living: the key doesn't turn in the ignition (I didn't mean this as a metaphor, but it certainly works as one!); the 11yo broke her glasses, and her spare pair (another metaphor!); the 8yo suddenly hates school; teaching art doesn't earn me enough money to support my family; and on and on into the night.
Looking for some clarity in my own life, I guess I was drawn by Umā's definitive big step of heading west. With her changing her mind, I am thinking a lot about the methods we all use to make choices. Unbound confine. And really, it all makes a life.
I wish Umā an easy and speedy journey home to J.