NB: Not to compare myself to Superman, but to compare the struggle to the sort of identity-shaping conflict that we can easily identify with superheroes and their archnemeses. 🙂
I have spent most of my adult life in a state of contrast with the world, I guess, but primarily with one person, my kids’ mom and my husband’s ex-wife. I compared our hair, our clothes, our state of physical fitness, our parenting skills, our careers, our marriages, our husbands, our cars, our other children, our families, our campers, etc. It’s sick and wrong and unhealthy. I don’t need Dr. Phil to tell me that, thank you, but it was like a black hole from which I could not quite break free.
Many years after this twisted relationship began, our shared children are both graduated from high school and the parties are over. Yes, we had a combined party. As I was posting the pictures and tagging everyone, a question that has popped up many times over the past few months kept intruding.
Putting together the pictures of our youngest shared child’s childhood for the graduation party brought something into sharp contrast: my kids’ mom and my experience of being a stepmom have shaped my identity in ways that do not make me at all comfortable.
Admitting you have a problem is the first step, or so I’ve heard, but now I face the weird question of how I am going to be an adult without this force in my life. It’s like empty nest, but in the Twilight Zone.
What is dark when there is no light?
And how will I struggle against a force I will no longer see, but merely sense moving on the other side of our children’s lives as they choose where to celebrate Christmas and with whom to leave the baby when they go to the movies?
What are the rules? I have a terrifying sense that there aren’t any, just as there weren’t seventeen years ago when I set out on this adventure.
I have been trying to repeat to myself a saying from a recent movie: “It will all work out in the end and, if it doesn’t work out, then it isn’t the end.”
Maybe that, and taking up yoga, will help me achieve enlightenment.
Hell, if all else fails, there’s always wine. 🙂