“You sure have a way of complicating your life.”
Last spring, this statement was made to me by an almost stranger when I informed her I was remarried, pregnant and moving to Montana. It stung, not because I thought it was true. It stung because at the time I didn’t understand her. I was sharing the exciting, happy news in my life and she heard only…complications.
Atticus and I have spent the summer in Montana, in our new home with our new, expanded family. He is learning to share (toys, space, time, and me) and I am learning to keep my peace in a new and beautifully challenging world. No longer is it just the two of us. Our family has grown to five, and soon we will be six. Parenting more than one child at a time requires a different set of skills, some I have just begun to develop. This work is even more challenging because two of them are not mine by birth.
When we were leaving last week to return to Wisconsin for a visit, I asked Atticus how he felt about the summer so far. He responded in a way that summed up my feelings in words more simple than I could compose.
“It has been challenging at times, but it has been a lot of fun.”
I have spent the last week as a guest in my mother’s home in Wisconsin. Atticus has been with his father for a visit. Nick is in a combine in Montana and his children are visiting their mother – all spread apart. I have had a lot of time to think. I miss the energy and and activity of our new tribe. I miss the mountains. I miss the bull named Cat who comes by for a daily visit, hoping we will open our gate and let him eat the rich, green plants growing in our yard. I miss the arms of my husband wrapped around me, late at night after everyone has fallen asleep. I miss sitting in the dark, when the stars and I reflect on the day.
But mostly I miss how much my heart grows daily. Letting go is not a catch phrase or a hashtag, it is way of life that takes a hell of a lot more courage and patience than I had realized. Staying open is a state of being that sometimes leaves us feeling raw and exposed, but always leaves us feeling very much alive.
My new home, my marriage and this baby growing inside me are not complications, they are opportunities. It is really a matter of perspective, like all things. My experience of this life is contingent on my attitude and actions. Looking in from the outside my life might appear complicated. But whose life isn’t sometimes?
This is why I love the strength of the mountains and the possibilities of the wide open sky of Montana.