It appears we are going through some more shifting/changing/growing/choosing here at Pathfinder. When we started this journey in June, my dream was to travel around the world rebuilding and reconnecting as a family, as we put the pain and separation of the last shitty year behind us.
As the summer progressed and we continued to add new travel stamps to our passports, things weren’t working out exactly as I had envisioned. We were arguing more than we had all year, there was a lot of stress and tension, and no one seemed to be enjoying anything we did.
Discussing my dilemma with a friend the other day, she asked me what Garry really wanted. I said he would probably be happier to settle back down and find a house and prepare for the babies to come. She asked if we could come to a compromise, and immediately my whole world contracted. The only options I could see were traveling or not traveling, he wasn’t happy with the first and I certainly wasn’t ready to do the second. I have immensely enjoyed being a nomad, and if the twins weren’t coming I could probably do it indefinitely. I already feel like the clock is ticking down to December, when I have to settle back into stability and responsibility. Compromise seemed impossible.
The next day I spent the afternoon with another friend of mine. “What if you travel and they stay home,” she suggested? I whined that that wasn’t part of the plan, the plan was for us all to be together and be happy again. She reminded me that not only was that not happening, but that it had been my plan and my dream, not theirs. I hadn’t really given them a choice (other than destinations), because it was so important to me to finally be living “my dream.”
After our conversation I realized we couldn’t go on this way, it was time to make a new choice. We called a family meeting and I gave both of them, even H, a choice. I told them I was still going to Costa Rica next week for my class, and they could join me the week before as planned or they could do something else. They opted for something else, so instead of leaving for Costa Rica yesterday as a family, we are going to drive south and spend a few days with friends, then I will head to Costa Rica alone and they will choose whatever they want to do that brings them joy. We will all reconvene again the end of the month in Pittsburgh, and then choose if we are all going to Australia until the beginning of December.
Was this part of my vision and my dream? Certainly not. But it wasn’t theirs either, and all of my rigidity about the way things had to turn out was making us all miserable. As soon as I gave them the opportunity to make their own choice things felt lighter, and we all felt more expansive and happy.
I will admit I spent the better part of yesterday crying at the drop of a hat, adjusting to this new direction, letting go of my preconceived notions of what this year was “supposed” to look like and what it meant to be together. It felt a little like my world had been turned upside down, and yet I knew it was time to make a new choice, to explore the other fork in the road instead of the one I had planned to take. I worried a little that the separation would drive us further apart, and yet by the end of the day we had had more meaningful conversations and more closeness than I had felt in a long time. I woke up this morning with a smile on my face, excited to start the day, and happy that my family felt like they had a choice in their destiny and I wasn’t just dragging them around the world behind me.
There are two questions I have been asking repeatedly over the last few days to get me through this new transition.
“What’s right about this (or me) that I’m not getting?” and
“What if this is the change I’ve been asking for?”
Things never show up the way we think they will, and I'm learning to embrace that idea rather than fight it, even if it has been a steep learning curve. I wonder what my life would look like if I stopped fighting and just stayed in the question? If I just made a new choice instead of wallowing in, "this isn't the way it was supposed to be." Only time (and 10 days of transformation in Costa Rica) will tell.