Myth: Marriage and family are confining.
Marty listed this as a lie she hoped her granddaughters will recognize. I agree with her. I hope my daughters and their daughters will see that marriage and family is only confining when we hold on to selfishness. This doesn't mean that it's not okay to hold onto to our dreams, to perhaps show our children that they are but a part of our dreams. We mothers are complex creatures, it's true.
When I married, I had a very different idea of how things would turn out for my little family unit. I assumed we would travel the world performing service, leaving our mark on the world at-large. I have a family legacy of service and that's probably why I dreamed so big. Life's circumstances have a way of teaching us lessons we never thought we'd learn and usually in ways we never thought we'd learn them. We have performed service in a way that's hardly noticeable - to the world at-large.
(Here is where I pull a trick from Zina's hat and recycle a comment I left on Emma J's blog):
"I recently attended a church function and one of the speakers talked about the expectations we have when we first start out on this road of marriage and family. She mourned the loss of the big impact she was going to have on the world (and feels she hasn't) but then came to the realization that the impact she has on even one is something that God counts. And that all those impacts on "the ones" add up to something bigger than she realized although they weren't quite the impact she'd planned on making."
Every action creates a ripple in the lake of life, and even though it sometimes feels we are making ripples in mere rain puddles, they are still ripples. We are always radiating circles of influence - sometimes the harder part is the difference between radiating love or frustration; joy or anger; patience or well, you understand. It's part of the human experience to discover all of this and to be there for our spouse and children as they learn these things as well.
I am mostly thinking out loud here, as I am far from perfect. Too far for my liking. Choosing the better part is where I struggle the most. I wish it came naturally for me to choose sweetness over impulse, to act instead of REACT, to be most loving when the littles in my house are acting their least lovable, but it doesn't. Not even a little bit.
I like to say at least there is room for improvement.
Creating a home is a way of creating a world (also via Marty)
This is a new and welcomed perspective for me. We are free to CREATE and to CULTIVATE, to bring/nurture souls in this world AND to put our own spin on it. Our home doesn't have to look or feel like anyone else's. We may have an ideal we strive for, but we can definitely create our own cozy soul factory.
The bounds of marriage and motherhood do not need to be the windowpane against which we beat our wings wildly, desperately searching for escape. There is room enough and time enough for wing stretching.
***Sometimes I hate words, especially when I cannot find the right ones. Marriage and family are the hardest, best things a person will ever experience in life. Even when the people we share that journey with are their pleasant, most wonderful selves it can still be hard to balance our own personal needs to nurture and to grow. I firmly believe it is possible to do both within the structure of marriage and family, although I'll admit that both husband and wife need to respect and encourage each other in the pursuit of their dreams. It takes two to tango, after all.
Back to school for you?
What about you? What were your expectations for your own family and how have they differed from your reality?