Recently I was talking to a friend who is really far from any family – she and her husband raise their children without the help of their parents and siblings. I so resonated with her frustration as we ourselves live hundreds of miles from either of our families. She said something during our conversation this week that struck me.
It was along the lines of, “I’ve come to terms that what I thought I was owed and deserved as far as support and help with my family and having babies just isn’t going to be that way.”
See, I’d never thought of it as some sort of entitlement, but I absolutely have felt short changed at times.
Not How I Expected
I never wanted to meet my spouse long distance (which I did) and I never wanted to deal with what that brings.
(Don’t get me wrong, Ethan is amazing. He is the most wonderful husband and I don’t regret marrying him for a moment. But long distance brings challenges…)
With our parents on opposite sides of the country, someone always loses because we can’t be close to everyone. We never get to go on any trips we would like to different locations because visiting family uses most of our extra time and any travel money we have.
It’s sad seeing my parents miss so many milestones with the girls. It’s stressful trying to time my mom arriving from across the country when babies come – especially since she is a really important support for me during labor.
I got to put a lot fewer special details into our wedding because I had moved to Ohio where Ethan was. Planning long distance for our big day in my parish back home meant letting go of lots of things I wanted to do but didn’t get to. It was just too much to tackle with us quickly flying in, getting married, and returning home.
My maid of honor had a beautiful baby girl the other day. Not only have I not met her, but she has a big brother who I still haven’t met either. And my friend hasn’t met Zelie. In fact, in the two years since I’ve been back for a visit, there have been a dozen babies born who I have missed meeting.
I never wanted to enter into my journey of motherhood without my “tribe”. I always imagined that one day I’d be with my girlfriends in Idaho as we had kids and navigated those first years of marriage and babies… but it just hasn’t worked out that way because life has us in Ohio.
I often have a pang of jealousy when I see people around me who have grown up around here, settled into their hometown with both sets of families nearby and their childhood friends still a part of their daily lives, so comfortable here because it is their home.
I Didn’t Even Know I Felt This Way
When my friend mentioned her resignation to reality, what struck me was how even if I wouldn’t have admitted it to myself, I totally have felt like I missed out on how I would have ideally liked these things to play out, as if I’ve been owed it and it taken from me.
If it sounds petty and selfish… it is, but I didn’t even know I really felt that way until she said it. I have so many abundant blessings, yet sometimes I’ve been bitterly holding on to what I thought should be.
There are people so much worse off than I am. I know people who have really difficult marriages, suffered miscarriages, lost children, have severe health issues, or any variety of crosses. What I am asked to carry is small, indeed.
Anyway, I don’t have some grand moral revelation here, I just wanted to share that I realized this and I want to work on my attitude.
I am NOT owed things being just so.
I’m not somehow missing out on what I deserve because things aren’t just how I wanted or imagined.
I’m going to once again try and thank God more and more fervently for my blessings, and to let go of all of these expectations and I wishes. I am going to enjoy the present and trust all these things have happened for my good, if I’ll only learn from them and try to become better because of them.