Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Monday, September 5, 2011

Kid Stuff: Circle of Life

I have become my mother.

Not, in this particular respect, by choice, but by circumstance.

We still don't know where we're going to be living for the next two, or possibly, three months. We hope to have all of that resolved in the next week or so. In the meantime, I am boxing up out-of-season clothes, carting my out-of-season candles to my parents' house (to ensure climate-controlled storage and zero meltage) and taking other small steps to keep things moving forward. The steps are small by necessity, as I am operating in a vacuum of information: I know that I will need this subset of things if we move into a furnished apartment, I will need these additional things if we move into an unfurnished unit, and still more things will be going with us if we end up in a house. Right now, we don't know whether it's A, B and C. So I'm going through the house and culling out the absolute essentials - the kids' favorite books, the family Bible, etc., with the intent of adding more stuff to the "going with us" pile later if/when it becomes relevant to do so.

Already the pile includes a lot of seasonal stuff - our most favorite, and most portable, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decor. It's important to me that the kids don't lose an entire season of their young lives due to circumstance beyond their control, because - let's face it - we're not guaranteed another fall, or another winter, and you have to live each day like it could be your last.

As I'm sorting through the holiday kitsch, an image keeps coming to mind - an image that I know exists in a photo album stored somewhere at my parents' house, of me at age 5. I am standing in the window of our last temporary quarters - the house that we stayed in before we moved to Houston after Dad's retirement from the military. I'm standing looking out into the yard, and surrounding my face are Valentine's images - window clings and heart-shaped doilies that Mom has put in the window in in the interest of preserving some sense of normality and continuity for her small daughter. We may not be in "our" house, but life goes on, and it's OUR life, the way we like to live it, regardless of the surroundings. That was the message that Mom's window clings and doilies imparted to me, and now I am paying it forward.

Once an Army brat, always an Army brat. I've watched my mother pack up and unpack countless times. I did my stint in temporary quarters and spent nine months living with my mother at my grandparents' home in California while Dad was stationed overseas. I've got this - just give me my orders, and I'll get it done.

And therein lies the problem - I'm still waiting for my orders. And, thus, I have little choice but to rearrange deck chairs on my own personal Titanic (an apt metaphor, when your house is floating on a hundred thousand gallons of water).

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