Unexpected.

I have always loved this poem by Robert Frost. You’re probably familiar with it too…

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

 

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the last two lines in the third stanza.  Until recently, I thought I would always eventually find myself on the first road…the place I thought my life would look like.  After some pretty significant differences at the outset of my parenting career, I figured I was just on a detour and I’d eventually rejoin the masses on the main road.  But I forgot about way leading on to way….I didn’t anticipate the ways that I would change and the people I would meet on my road and how that would influence future decisions, especially those having to do with this beautiful little girl in our house.   So I’m learning to accustom myself to surprises, to keep listening to my instincts and to appreciate the joy and excitement on this road.  I think I’m improving my adaptability but my stress resilience and courage could still use some work.  A lot of times it’s scary and intimidating to do things I’ve never seen done before.  I have no context for what “that life” should look like so I create it the best I can with the tools and knowledge I have, trying imbue it with as much confidence as I can muster and striving mightily to incorporate the all the goodness I was given growing up.  This effort, in turn, reinforces my ability to trust myself so at the next crossroads I assess the situation and make the choice that seems right for us.

Does everyone feel a bit lonely on their road sometimes?  This one can be a lonely place because I think maybe my life is a hard one to understand if you haven’t lived it or listened well and it’s hard not to be understood.  And yet, there are parts of this road that have been so intensely personal and beautiful that I usually don’t just volunteer my story, I wait for people earn the right to hear it.  I wait until I know it can be appreciated because I treasure all of it.  It is my story, after all.

So last night as I brushed a kiss across the cheek of my long-awaited, naturally-birthed, ivf, co-sleeping, nursing Montessori pre-schooler, I felt nervous, brave and very, very, grateful for the beauty she’s shown me along the way.

4 Comments on “Unexpected.

  1. Linds, I love that little girl of yours. I think we are only as different as parents as you choose to see us. Mostly, I think we are the same: We love our kids and are trying to do the best thing for them. I think the difference from our lives and that poem is that we intend for our roads to end in the same place, right? Bottom line, we are trying to raise Christlike children and be with them forever. Maybe I misunderstand that poem, but it seems to say that the roads diverge and end up at different destinations. The greatest, most important thing to us is that our roads, however different, are still leading to the same destination. I can still see you through the trees, sister!

  2. Love this post Lindsay, so many beautiful thoughts. You have always been your own person, from the time you were an infant, wanting to look out and see the world, always fascinated and interested in what was going on around you. But you've also always known who you were, even from that baby stage. I know because I saw it in your eyes a long, long time ago when you heard Relief Society sisters singing “I Am a Child of God”. Sometimes seems like it was ages past anyway, or was it just the blink of an eye ago? I have no doubts that whatever your road, it will be the right one for you, and that as Lisa said, we're all waving at each other through the trees as we travel home.

  3. I'm really appreciating all of the analogies, from post to comments. There are so many times in life that I sit back and think I'm awfully lonely and that perhaps I'm the only one this trail, but then I look at the big picture, and the forest will of the the trails leading back to the same place, as Lisa mentions, and I feel better realizing that we're all in this together and that we're really not all that different. I shouldn't hesitate to reach out for advice to others who I feel are on different paths because maybe they have some insight in their own lives that might help me? We are all so different but we are all so very much the same. I love that sweet little one, too, and I can't wait to see what comes of this new schooling.

    p.s. I think I extra appreciate all of the analogies since I just got back from Maine, and wish I were still there. =)

  4. Thanks for your thoughts girls. I am grateful for your perspectives and insights. I hadn't though about it like that…peering through the trees, traveling along together. I love that. I guess it is true, all roads lead to home, and maybe the sights we see along the way differ but we can all relate to sharing the journey. Thanks. Love you all!

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