Tuesday, July 3, 2012

on having a voice

For those who are wondering, we have not dropped off the face of the Earth, but went to visit my mother and grandmother in Toronto. By "we", I mean my three kids and I. There were many reasons for this trip: to visit, vacation, my grandmother's 94th birthday, my sister coming over with a guy to whom she got engaged... Mazal Tov!

One of the things I did not anticipate happening is losing my voice while being here.  By now, I am used to regular blogging and communicating as I am: a wife, a mother, a homeschooler, a teacher, a member of the community. Being with my family somehow sapped that. I wonder whether it had to do with communicating as a daughter, sister, another helping hand arranging things behind the scenes...

Oh, there was a lot going on on this trip. There were a lot of emotions, and a lot to write about. There is a lot to process. There is an offhand comment made by  8 yo which will cause me to reevaluate the way I homeschool. But, somehow, I do not feel like I have a voice to blog with.

I wonder whether it happens to all of us: we go and hang out with our parents and siblings and, suddenly, the well-established roles take over: the oldest, the youngest, the overfunctioner, the baby, the strong one, the weak one, the decision-maker. All the years of our adult life, all the roles that we spent time establishing and crafting go out the window. I also wonder whether some people are able to transcend these roles and bring to the table their adult selves. I also wonder whether separation from immediate family is crucial to finding that internal voice and whether adults living at home never get a chance to form their own voice, independent of the family dynamic.

I might need to back up a bit and explain that I left home at the age of 13, when I moved half-way across the world, from Moldova (look it up!) to Richmond, VA, to go to highschool. This was in the days before internet, before e-mail, and before Skype. This was in the days when airmail took 2 weeks, if the letter did not get lost, and long-distance rates were so prohibitive, that I spoke to my parents twice a month for 5 minutes each. In short, I was on my own, crafting my own voice, without constant looking back over my shoulder to see what my parents would say. That's why I have very little pity on college-age kids bringing home laundry on the weekends and texting mom between classes.

But right now, being home, is being thrown back to being 13, voiceless and assuming whichever functions I always assumed. While it is comforting to be taken care of, it is unsettling to be pushed into the same box I always occupied.

I want my voice back!

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