Growing into Adulthood
July 17, 2013 § 1 Comment
Every time a new baby is born into our family, a weight settles on my shoulders. As I rest in bed, falling in love with my new baby, I am all too aware of the responsibility that comes with welcoming a new life into my care.
After a few days the heaviness usually subsides, and in time is forgotten. I find it fun having a large family, and I love connecting with my children on their level. I don’t often think about the ‘responsibility’ that comes with raising five children; attending to all their physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. But at times of stress or when decisions need to be made, the weight often comes crashing down again, leaving me awake in the middle of the night and in awe of the job with which I have been entrusted.
My husband and I have made what many would consider ‘alternative’ choices for our family. Homebirth, alternative healthcare and Steiner education are the biggest, most visible ones. However I have never spent much time discussing these choices with people. I strive to just ‘walk the talk’ rather than ‘talk the talk’.
One of the gifts of Robin’s illness, for me personally, was the shedding of fear. Ironically, having to step up and be his advocate while he was ill seemed to bring assertiveness and power, nestled deep within me, to the fore. And as he recovered I just didn’t want to wait anymore for my dreams to somehow magically manifest: I was ready. In the past year I have begun this blog, taken on the editing role for the Sydney Homebirth magazine, and been gradually growing my crafty business and transition to ‘felt artist’, all the while leading a day of the Steiner Playgroup and managing my family.
The thing is, I never really felt like an ‘adult’ until recently. For me ‘adults’ got married and got mortgages, pets, and found a place to settle down, instil roots. They made big decisions and faced things head on. They were practical about their kids’ education, having wills and life insurances, and connections everywhere tying them down.
Sol and I, on the other hand, didn’t marry until pregnant with our third child. We have moved over ten times since William was born, twice in massive shifts to QLD (for an adventure and lifestyle change). We have followed our hearts. We’ve lived in a tent and travelled around, we’ve never wanted to be tied down to a mortgage, and often in the past it felt like we were dragged kicking and screaming into facing hard realities.
I don’t know why I felt I wasn’t being an ‘adult’. All those crazy decisions we made were what we truly felt was best for our children and ourselves at the time. We have made big decisions, and faced big things. Just not the mainstream, usual things.
Still, I used to downplay the decisions we made as our ‘craziness’, thinking we were living out an extended flighty twenties, since we began a family so young.
Since Robin’s illness that is gradually changing. Maybe just my perception of, and belief in myself is changing. Maybe it is age: I’m nearing forty. I am not really so different to all the ‘adults’ I see around me: I have five children and many responsibilities and we all take these things seriously in our own ways.
Lately I have been in a few situations where I have had to discuss some of the choices I have made. Choices that have had consequences, ramifications, and that have led to more difficult decisions. And, I have just had to bite the bullet and own them. Just had to stand up and say “Yep, that is what I believe, this is what I have chosen”.
It is hard at times, terrifying. But I feel that owning my life, and standing firmly in my choices leads me to feel that I am an adult, and that can only be a good thing.