Tuesday, 31 July 2007

The life I never had

I just finished reading a couple of new blogs...one is from a new writer I'm hiring, the other is her sister's blog. And I found the life I never had....

I read about close families and having neighborhood girl friends to share the baby years and toddler years as they raise their families together. About getting together with friends from high school year after year to see familes form and grow. I read about family trips and dads who loved their kids ...

I found the life I always wanted, and never had.

I think one of the reasons I moved to Utah for college was because I knew that I wanted a family and a life like that. I always tell people I moved because as a child of South Florida, I was anxious to experience mountains and snow. And that is partially true. It all looked so dramatic ...towering mountains, fields of pure white snow, spring meadows filled with wildflowers. But what I don't ever tell them is that I moved because I wanted a different kind of family.

Don't get me wrong...I grew up in a very good family. My parents loved us, and we had a good life. Trips, lessons, a nice home, beautiful clothes -- every THING a child could want. But from the beginnning, I was wired differently.

My mom, a brilliant woman who would have made a top notch doctor, became a nurse and then a homemaker, but never really fit into either of theose roles. She did them because when she graduated high school in the late 1950's, she was told that was where a woman belonged. She resented being at home. Hated cooking, would sooner have thrown herself from a tall building than ever sew, scrapbook, knit or do any sort of craft, found women's groups deadly dull, and had no interest in neighborhood get-togethers. We lived in the suburbs -- she was never a suburban wife. She was meant for different stuff -- feretting out tough diagnosis, or performing impossible surgeries. Think of Dr. House from the FOX TV show and you have my mom! I kid you not.

My mom wanted me to be and do all the things she never did. To be successful in a career, to be an achiever at the top of my field, if not in medicine, then in law, engineering or business. A tiger lady. Driven.

Unfortunately, I was not like my mom. I love to cook, to make things. I quilt. I do needlepoint and cross stitch. I scrapbook. And from as early as I could remember, I loved babies. I knew, from an early age, that I wanted a family.

That contrast was never so clear as when my mom "caught" me reading a Bride's Magazine. She snatched it from my hand and threw it into the trash. The next day, there was a copy of Ms. Magazine on my bedside. My mom had spoken.

I moved to Utah because I knew about Mormon families. I had Mormon friends. I loved their families. I saw exactly what I wanted there.

Unfortunately, I never got that dream. I married. I have three amazing children. And I divorced. I never had the suburban house with the friends next door, or the family vacations.

I guess I am mourning that lost dream. I have a career. I do work hard, and I have started to achieve some measure of success. I have, in many ways, all my mom wanted. How ironic. It seems that fate has given us each the lives the other wanted.

My mom now runs charities, sits on the board of directors of a medical facility, is a leader in the community. It took her awhile, but she got to place where she belongs. Finally.

Maybe it's not too late for me...


Anonymous said...

I think many of us experience this...we end up with very different lives from what we imagined. I know each life has a purpose, sometimes it's just hard figuring out what that is :)

Jan said...

I am wondering what you mean by "maybe it's not too late for me." Is that for the success your mother has finally achieved? Or to be happy with who you are? I can identify with wanting the ideal family life in contrast to a driven mother, as that is what happened to me, too. You have done a lot, especially working and being a single mom of three kids. That shows a lot of strength.

sean said...

Never too late!

Seeker said...


What I meant was to have a loving home with a partner who really cares... Being a single mom of three might show I'm strong. So what? It is a lonely and exhausting way to live -- and to raise kids. I certainly would not recommend it to anyone.

But I am still young and I hope that it's not too late for me to be who I really am most comfortable being....a supportive partner in a mutally supportive adult relationship. I have so much love to give to the right partner...THAT is who I am, that is the me I am comfortable with. I am NOT driven by career success.

I often heard a quote when I lived in Utah "No other success can compensate for failure in the home." My mom values only the external success...I value something entirely different.

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