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A curve in the road

There are moments in life I think we recognize immediately as being life-altering….a divergence onto a new path……while others we can only see in reflection days, weeks, years later.   I find myself reflective again this week.  Those curves – the sharp and steep as well as the slow-turning ones – surfacing in my consciousness.

Sharp curve – seeing blood and realizing your pregnancy  has just gone down an unexpected, horrifying path.  Have you read the poem “Welcome to Holland”?  It equates having a baby to planning a fabulous trip to, say, Italy. And then  you end up in Holland (ie your baby arrives 3 1/2 months early, or has a birth defect, is somehow sick).  That moment of that day, I knew I was somewhere I hadn’t planned to be.  It was an immediate recognition of one moment changing my life.  We were in Holland, and I wasn’t happy to be there. The language I’d planned on didn’t apply here.  The dreams of the perfect birth experience, of being pushed out of that hospital in a wheelchair with my baby in my arms and balloons overhead was destroyed in an instant. That sharp curve of life made me a different person. It brought incredible, amazing people into my life. It made me stronger and better. Do I wish I could undo it? Every day. I would give up those incredible, amazing people if it meant I could take away all Ry went through.

Slow-turning curve – the day I met Michael. For the first six months of our relationship, I refused to acknowledge we had a relationship.  That sounds awful  now, but it’s true.  Thankfully, he stuck around. I think about all the sharp curves we’ve faced together and I know I never would have survived them without him. Fifteen years later, I know that moment we met was meant to be…I am a better person, more complete, more calm, happier.

Sharp curve – quitting a career of ten years, without another job in sight.  I felt like I was falling off a cliff.  Crazily, this was also a slow curve……it took years after this day to realize it was the best decision I never made, and that I’m exactly where I want to be.  Suburban Stay At Home Mom – That’s my job title now.  Exhausted, worn out, buried under loads of laundry, staggering with the weight of the job, worried I’m failing but won’t know that until it’s too late but also more fulfilled, more complete, more loving, more involved than I ever was before. And oh so proud…..There are moments I stop in the awe of my children and in the capacity of our hearts to love these little beings.

Long, slow, terribly painful curve – learning the day I had my youngest baby that my oldest sister had cancer.  Five years of that curve later, she passed. Her last words to me stick in my head….”Love your babies and enjoy them”.  She was such an inspiration to me, as a mother, sister, woman.  I miss her every single day.  She gives me courage, because I hope someday people will say about me the things we all say about her.

I figure I am about halfway through my life, give or take. Now, I could take that as a depressing thought, but I won’t.  The best part is now, it was yesterday, it’s tomorrow.  The path of my life will lead me I don’t know where. I know that I am thankful for this place here. I look back on all those curves that lead to today.  I don’t often think of the curves ahead, because too many times you can’t see them.  But if they’re anything like the curves I’ve already endured, some will hurt, some will bring joy, some will take me somewhere I hadn’t planned to go, but all – if I choose to let them – will make me a better, happier, calmer, more-complete person.

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