sometimes, i have to laugh at myself. take today, for instance. this morning, i found myself eating a fresh breakfast bagel slathered with cream cheese on a grassy hill in the warm sun, sipping coffee with my mother-in-law, while ruth jumped merrily nearby. who lives like this? the day progressed and we dabbled in some playground toys, took a walk by the river, pointing out some ducks, and through the nearby neighborhood where we came across a house for sale which ruth poo-pooed as a potential before dozing in her stroller. while she slept, we chatted about relationships, neighborhoods, and food as we sat on a bench by the river and i found myself feeling….good. as though i was exactly where i should be, which has been a fleeting occurrence in much of my adult life. since ruth has been born, i have felt a connectedness to life that i have been all but a stranger to before. i feel like i belong somewhere…and not just anywhere…here! the sunlight turned golden with the late afternoon and we headed home, exhausted from conversation, early spring wind, cream cheese, and glaring sunshine.
after greg came home, we ventured out again, this time to the Environmental Interpretive Center on the U of M-Dearborn campus. we ran into some of greg’s old co-workers from when he worked there as a college student. these people have known me since i was in my late teens. as usual, greg did most of the talking, but when there was a lull in the conversation, a few times, someone happened to glance over at me and ask what i was up to lately. what was i up to? should i launch into a detailed account of my morning at the park? its not that i’m ashamed to be a stay-at-home mom, but there is something so uncool about the phrase, and there is not much to respond with but “oh”. we eventually continued on walking along the bike path as ruthie took her second nap of the day, a bonus. i won’t say it wasn’t odd walking through my old college campus pushing a stroller (well, actually, greg pushed it, as he always does). i got to thinking.
i got to thinking, as i have since ruth has been born, about what makes people who they are. there is something ingrained in all of us, from the start. a certain disposition. however, it is becoming clear to me, much to my dismay and fear, that a lot, if not most, of our personalities are determined by the different influences in our lives. i felt it so clearly today. i could feel the way that greg’s old co-workers looked at me, as though i had a hold of all of this potential that maybe they once had, but has since slipped away from them. they wanted to hear that i was doing great things. i felt slightly ashamed at not being able to deliver. i wanted to please these people, these people that i looked up to.
and there’s the rub. why do i look up to them? because they are older than me, and for some reason, that makes them my role models. we live up to the expectations of the people in our lives, and especially, the adults, because they have all of the answers, don’t they? depending on who we are around, we will grow or shrink to fit expectations.
who will ruth look up to, admire, and want to please? greg and i, sure. we are already doing our best to be good role models. but who else? the answer to this, that struck me so clearly today as i looked at all of the sprouting green buds around me, is anyone that i am friends with, that greg is friends with, or people that we have around. ruth will grow up thinking that these people have all of the answers.
that is why it is so important for us to surround ourselves with good quality people.
in conclusion, here is my personal ad: married parent of one seeking role model friend types to demonstrate active citizenship in community. can be male or female but must have strong feminist leanings. high moral fabric a must, honesty and humility required. average to ugly looks preferred.