Juggling Balls in the Air

Mother, wife, daughter, auntie, sister, cousin, niece, friend, teacher, college professor, home owner, pet owner…these are some of the hats I wear every waking second, and sleeping ones as well.  Each one in and of itself is a full-time commitment and it is only at the quiet times (yes, I try to find some periodically somehow) that I can reflect and realize how overwhelming my life really is.  For the most part, it is overwhelmingly amazing and wonderful. But by definition and sheer quantity, overwhelming is a pretty good description.

As I was growing up, I was a cussedly independent young lady.  I never hurt anyone, but I did as I wanted. Luckily for me, I was also cussedly driven and smart enough to know that school was a priority and was, in fact, my ticket to get what I wanted-  even though I will admit that I had no idea then what it was that I wanted in the long run. Still, it was enough to keep me in mostly forward progression towards a productive, constructive life.

I was still in high school when I met my husband, a handsome Navy sailor, and he almost got run over by the train that I was then.  Luckily for me he was cussedly persistent.   He followed me out to Arizona after I graduated, and we became engaged that week.  At eighteen, my idea of “forever” was not well-developed, but I knew I had a good man and shouldn’t let him slip away.

What I also did not know at eighteen, was that “wife” would challenge “independent” to a duel.  I wish I could say who won that duel, but it is still being fought in small ways thirty two years later.  This might not be a bad thing; I am not one to give up something as near and dear to me as my personality easily.

We were married eight years before the children came along, and in the meantime, I had become a teacher.  It was hard work and a huge adjustment to make room in my heart and head for the time and energy these major undertakings required.  The thing is, I don’t do anything halfway.  If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing with every cell in my body.  The law of physics would say, if it applied to bodies, that this is impossible.   I see it as a challenge.

Family became the most important thing in my life, the nectar to this hummingbird.  From my family I drew the strength to take on everything else.  Don’t let me lead you into thinking it was easy, or that I put on my superwoman cape each morning to face the world. It would be more accurate to say I dragged myself out of the house with a huge sigh and worry wrinkles on my brow, wondering how I would live through another of these intense days.  There have been times when I am not sure I would actually live through it; it is only when coming through fire I look back and say, “well that only burned a little.”  In Spanish there is a saying, “Lo que no te mata, te engorda.” What doesn’t kill you, makes you fatter, is the literal translation.  I think they mean fatter is a good thing, as in enriches you; at least I hope that is what it means since that is how I take it.

My other life roles take thought and effort as well, and being the reflective person that I am, I realize that each of these roles has give and take.  The thing is to try to balance these as much as possible- not so easy.   Somewhere in the mix is the same independent young woman, a bit bruised and battered but still in charge. She has learned a few key tricks such as prioritizing, not taking everything personally,  and how to say “no” as politely as possible.  All good stuff that will keep me moving in a good direction for my second half-century.

Here is a link to an article about another wife finding balance: http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/inspiration-motivation/cathi-hanauer-00100000081866/index.html

About ordinarywomanextraordinarylife

I began writing at seven years old. My first rejection was from my mother who would not come off a nickel for a hand-published and self-illustrated scary story. Over thirty-seven years of teaching writing to elementary age children, I honed my skills in storytelling; which led to the completion of my first novel, Woven.
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2 Responses to Juggling Balls in the Air

  1. Maureen, You are every bit the same young woman I knew back then. 🙂

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