May You Keep Your Feet On The Ground And Your Head In The Clouds
It may seem strange to begin my post with a benediction, but this is where I have arrived after a week of pondering direction, choices and our wishes for the future. For the last few months (the entire life of this blog, in fact) I have felt weightless in life.
Unsure of the next step, waiting, wondering where the wind will next blow.
Like Mrs Robinson hiding her secrets in the pantry, I have worked hard to seem 'settled'. You know the old saying 'fake it 'til you make it'? We have tried to buy a house here... Miya is enrolled in school... I am in committees, friendship groups, involved in weekly activities... we made plans for the future. After years of moving around, shifting house, town, even state every couple of years, I felt I was ready to give being settled a go. It is, after all, what married people who have children do.
Then we missed out on the house. And I quit my job. And we decided to move to Broome.
And the old anxieties started to whisper in my ear... are you sure this is the responsible thing? People will think you are unreliable. Shouldn't you be providing a settled childhood for your children?
I quietened them with a dose of common sense, and by remaining focused solely on the needs of our family. I anchored myself to this plan, this direction, and felt buffered from the winds.
Until this week.
This week, we got options. That may seem like a great thing (how many people in how many countries would not even dream of the options we are blessed with?) but really, all it served to do is re-energise those little whispers in my head.... see? You don't have to do this.... you could forget the whole thing.....the kids are happy here..... and left me reeling. Confused. Unsure, again.
The worse thing is, not even our options are set in stone. Things are open, nothing is certain... there is so much waiting to be done... continuing on with life, knowing things are about to change, but not knowing how, or when.
Many hours have been spent reflecting, discussing, considering the options. I have realised, through all of this, that in the same way many people are terrified of becoming married, I am scared of settling down. I am scared of committing to one place. There are so many wonderful places on this Earth, even just in this great state... and right now, I am torn between just two of them.
It leaves me questioning the premise of home. Our eldest daughter was named Miya, because that word means 'Home' in the Indigenous language of the Yindjibarndi people of the Pilbara area of Western Australia, where we lived when we decided to try for a baby. By the time we welcomed her into our lives, we had been travelling, and were now in the process of 'putting down roots' and setting up home in the hustle and bustle of Melbourne.
It was a hard process. We were broke. We had large gaps in our resumes from the time we had spent on the road. Just feeding ourselves was damn hard work. We felt countryless - like strangers in a land we didn't understand.
The along came our baby.
We understood 'home' for the first time. Home was what we were making for her. Home was us, the three (and later, four) of us, wherever we were. Home was fiercely protecting the sanctity of our family... against work commitments, against the breakdown in communication that often sneaks in without warning... against things that vy for our time and attention and keep us turning away from our most loved ones.
We are relearning this now. We relearn this everyday.. and will continue to do so, I suspect, until our days run out.
I am drawn to the analogy of a tree. The idea of being grounded, yet reaching skyward to our dreams and hopes. Knowing what is good, and right, and healthy... meeting the needs of our family, but not being afraid to think big, to look at the impossible, and wonder.
A tree. A symbol of strength, of tranquility. I picture this, and I know that I can make home. I know that I can be grounded, provide, enjoy my family, wherever we are. I know that, ultimately, it doesn't matter which path we take - what matters is that we continually turn inwards, into our souls, into each other. That we place the needs of our family above all other considerations.
We can do that anywhere. We know this, because it is what we have done in the past.
It's nice, sitting in the shade of our family.