At the age of forty-three, I found myself stuck in suburbanite purgatory frantic to escape. I felt like the woman in that Far Side cartoon- the one where a couple are in a car, studying a map, lost in the country of Nowhere, when they come upon a road sign that reads, “Entering the middle,” and the woman says, “Well, this is just going from bad to worse.”
One morning, I woke up and realized my husband and I were that couple, except we weren’t just driving through- we were living in “Nowhere” with every waking minute filled with middle of life details and responsibilities. From practices to meetings, from rehearsals to lessons, we weren’t enjoying our children; heck, we hardly ever saw them.
One time, picking up our oldest, Anabel, after chorus practice, I drove right past her. I didn’t recognize her standing on the sidewalk because she had grown seven inches that year. Usually, when I saw Anabel, she was sitting in the car (ear buds in- listening to her iPod) on our way to the next obligation or lying in bed (ear buds in- listening to her iPod) as I kissed her goodnight when I got home from work or meetings. I was teaching at two schools, writing a book, running the kids around to their schools, music lessons, baseball, dance, horseback riding, academic bowl, friends, church, along with volunteer work of student mentoring, chaperoning field trips and being PTA president. “No” was not part of my vocabulary. I realized our family hardly knew each other. Things were definitely going from bad to worse.
If this sounds like you, you may need a life break... Read Part 2.