Wednesday, June 15, 2011

As life continues on...

Every so often I take a moment out of my busy day and think about how different my life is from how it 'should have been'. Little things will trigger the overflow of happy thoughts, like missionaries riding their bikes up the street or even certain songs on the radio.

I should be married to a return missionary. I should have a calling in the church, I should have at least 2 additional children by now, I should have mastered the art of quilting and I should be staying at home raising my children. But I am not. My time isn't spent planning lessons for Sunday School, it's not spent quilting and practicing hymns on the piano for Sacrament Meeting, like I thought it would be when I was 12.

I have been keeping a journal since I was very young. I have a few journal entries from Kindergarten, but I didn't really start keeping a steady journal until I was about 9 years old. I love going back and reading my young developing thoughts. I love how I was planning on going to BYU, becoming a teacher, marrying a return missionary, having 17 children and being a stay at home mom. I love how I wanted to get married in the temple. I remember visiting the St. George Temple in Utah and falling in love with the building. That became my favorite temple and the one I wanted to be sealed in. (Sealed: Mormon speak for marriage, but a sealing is forever.)

Sweet memories from a life I used to live. I love looking back at how I embraced the life I was born into. I love how my friends wanted to be veterinarians and ballerinas and all I wanted to be was a mommy. I love reading how my story unfolded. I love how different I am from who I thought I would be. I love that I didn't accomplish any of those young goals.

But looking back at those goals I had set, it saddens me a bit that I wasn't taught to look for a kind, loving partner; I just focused on finding a return missionary. I wasn't taught to be responsible with procreating, I was just focused on having as many children as my body could pump out. I wasn't focused on my own education as a way to better myself for my future, I just focused on going to a Mormon University in the hopes I would find my future husband there. But the sting of sadness just helps me teach my daughters to focus their goals more responsibly.

Where I imagined I would be by the sweet age of 30 is so far from where I am. And it's not a bad thing. I don't feel like I failed somewhere along the way because I am not in a 1950's inspired apron wearing heels, baking brownies, cupcakes and apple pie while singing and dancing around the kitchen. Letting that image of my future self die was difficult, but long overdue.

Don't get me wrong, I do wish I would have finished college. I blame not earning my degree mostly on the fact that making any kind of solid decision isn't my strong point. I am not the kind of girl who knows what she wants and goes out and gets it. I just wish the college courses I have taken and mastered would add up to something called a degree, but with time, I can rectify that.

My life has been painful and wonderful. Being a mother is so insanely frustrating and amazingly rewarding. I think that would be true whether I was Mormon or Christian or Jewish or Atheist. So as much as my life has been so very different than I ever imagined, I am sure my enjoyment of it is strikingly similar to how it would have been had I never doubted god.

I am not the person, wife or mother I thought I would be when I was 12. And even though it's been tough at times to let the Mormon parts of me die, I still look back and love the child I used to be. I can't deny that I am so different than who my parents wanted me to be. I am in such a different place and my children are being raised so differently than I imagined.

Being able to reminisce in the thoughts of my childhood as written by myself gives me all the more reason to buy my daughters journals when they turn 9.

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