Saturday, March 05, 2011

Oak Park to Warrenville, Illinois and back

Yesterday was the seventh anniversary of my start date on the Appalachian Trail. I can hardly believe it. My life has changed profoundly since then, and I’m proud of myself for the journey that I’ve been on, the progress I’ve made. I’ve compromised since then, but not on fundamentals. Not on the kind of life I want to lead the most.

I’m still pushing forward, chasing the dream—despite obstacles thrown in my way. This week with my sister and my friends has been nourishing, constructive. I wrote in my journal that spending time with my sister feels like water in dry ground. We draw energy and connection from each other. We’ve had our challenges over the years but we’ve come to a place where both of us have grown as people and are able to accept each other as we are and not as we wish we’d be.

Also, we’ve been doing a lot of yoga. We’re making jokes that we’ve turned her 900-square-foot apartment into a yoga retreat, where we just mess around on our mats for as long as we can convince the girls to sleep. Then we talk, we regroup, we assess, we debrief. It’s intense watching her living the life she’s living, raising three girls in a tiny space. Evangeline, her third is six weeks old today.

It’s almost as if she has to do yoga to survive. The only way to deal with two of your three children screaming bloody murder is to stay focused in the present, in the immediate moment—deal with the child at hand and believe that the other ones aren’t going to kill each other in the meantime. To let it go. I’m realizing how many things mothers have to let go. That all women have to let go. That everyone has to let go.

I’m realizing what extraordinary sacrifices these women make, among them my friends. As I’ve grown older and become less competitive, less defensive about my own life choices, I’ve realized that becoming a mother is just a different choice. I realize more and more why so many women don’t become artists. It requires such a tremendous sacrifice of one’s core self to be a mother. Not that it’s not a legitimate choice, but it is a real choice. As much as I love my nieces, I’m still not sure it’s a choice I’d make.

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