Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Accidental Housewife: The Accident of all Accidents

I call myself the accidental housewife, because I really never imagined I would be a housewife.  And not just A housewife, but THE housewife.  I mean, is there anything more conventionally 'houswife-ish' than living in the suburbs with 2.5 kids?  But then again, I never imagined a lot of things about the way my life has turned out (funny story about how I became a lawyer--remind me to share that sometime).  It all seems like one long series of...well...accidents.

Well, technically, I don't believe in accidents.  I believe in Providence.  But I use the term 'accidents' loosely to mean something that was not chosen by me.  Sometimes, even diametrically opposed to what I would have chosen.

Growing up in a dysfunctional suburban family (oh how I identified with the movie American Beauty), I could think of nothing worse than continuing to live there as an adult.  I may have been the only person in high school to love country music and fantasize about living on a secluded homestead, growing my own produce and tending my own livestock.  And riding horses everywhere.  Gosh I love(d) horses.

In college, my ambitions took a more humanitarian turn as I fantasized about running an orphanage in some impoverished but happy place, like Botswana.  Again, there was a lot of growing one's own produce and tending one's own livestock, but with some schooling thrown in there.

I also considered joining a circus.  Or a musical troupe.  Seriously.

This was definitely not what I pictured...but it does feel like I joined the circus most days.

Suffice it to say--kids, green lawns, reliable 4-door sedans, and the rest of that was never in the picture.  I didn't want adventure per se, but I definitely wanted a good measure of novelty and...detachment, I suppose.  Being a parent, to me, was the ultimate act of attachment.  Forever you would be committed, responsible, and completely subject to the fate of another.  Talk about shackles.

In that sense, I really wasn't into getting married either.  Sure the companionship would be nice...but it had better be one heck of a companionship that would be worth the...shackling.

And then the accident of all accidents happened--the one that started a series of somewhat inevitable events that led to my, for lack of a better word, demise.

As a newly minted sophomore in college, I met the spouse.

Actually, now that I think of it, the word 'demise' is more than fitting.  I remember feeling that exact sense of finality and closing doors within a few weeks of our meeting.  This was it, I intuited.  The end of the line.

Here would be the person I would marry.  Here was simpatico and the sense of belonging that was simply impossible to pass up.  And he would definitely not be up for country farm-living, or touring with a troupe.

And then the spouse wanted to have a kid.

And then we wanted that kid to have a friend-for-life.

And then we wanted them to have good public education.

And it was impossible to find a work situation that allowed me to spend as much time with my kids as I would like.

And now is now.

Many times I think back on the person who dreamed of living anywhere but the suburbs and I just have to shake my head in wonder.  It feels like I ran to the ends of the earth (if only in my head), only to come back full circle.

But for all the novelty, freedom and horse-riding that has been conclusively given up, I actually feel surprisingly...full...and filled.


CP said...

Oh my gosh! Are you sure you're not me? You described my growing up perfectly, right down to the country music, the horses, the orphanage in a different country, the desire for novelty, and not wanting to ever get married!

Happy anniversary! Sometimes I'm sure you like to fantasize about the path not taken...but I'm sure you wouldn't trade your beautiful family for anything :)

CP said...

Oh and our real life names are the same.... I swear I'm not stalking you :)

Alice in Wonderland said...

CP--You're like my sister from another mother. And we both have 2 boys (but you'll prob end up having 3, hee hee). And can I just say--one listen to Randy Travis whilst randomly surfing radio channels and I was hooked.