Friday, April 24, 2009

Arbor Day Friday

Quite the green week this week, huh? Arbor Day, it seems, has a much longer history than Earth Day. According to (it has its own .org!), the national observance was founded by J. Sterling Morton in 1872 to be celebrated on the last Friday in April. And there is your "you-learn-something-new-every-day" tidbit, brought to you by the letter Q.

I do believe the universe tries to communicate with us by so-called coincidences and other signs. So, I find it particularly interesting that in the last 24 hours I have come across two quotations that resonate with me on the same topic. Last night (cramming for my book club meeting tonight), reading A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby (didn't know he was British until last night either), a character quotes Oscar Wilde as having said, "One's real life is so often the life that one does not lead." Then, this morning in an Executive Momorandum (Marisa Thalberg's fabulous group,, an audience member at the luncheon this week quoted Carl Jung as saying, "The most profound psychological impact on a child is created by the unlived lives of their parents."

This is the stuff I love to dwell upon. What is the life I am not living? Where is the line between childishly, self-indulgently pursuing one's own interests and dreams, and owing it to our kids to chase our destinies? How are parents supposed to strike that balance between feeding their own souls and still nurturing their little ones? This is why I am so inspired and impressed by groups like Mamapalooza ( and Joy Rose. That rock star rebel spirit of keeping a part of your individual identity alive amidst the endless giving that motherhood demands.

Of course, that always brings me to my biggest unanswered question: what is my individual identity? I don't know if I ever really had one, which makes it all the funnier that I bristle so at the notion of being trapped in a suburban cliche. Shouldn't I be relieved to have a ready-made and societally-accepted persona dropped into my lap? No (heavy sigh), it all makes me struggle even more with myself.

To me, motherhood is such a conundrum. How are you supposed to be responsible for raising another human being and teaching them everything about the world or at least attempting to equip them to be functional, contributing members of society, when motherhood is first revealing things to you about yourself! I have learned more about myself and my relationship with my husband and so much else since I had kids. Actually, it even started when pregnant with my first. So, if it takes decades to get to a certain comfort level in one's own skin, and as a new mom you are first processing new ideas and epiphanies and concepts, how the hell are you expected to care for a new life at the same time? Don't they always tell us on the plane to put on our air mask first?

Well, those are my random thoughts for the moment. Please tell me yours. Enjoy the sunshine!

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