I grew up in a split-level rectangle that was a lot of bedrooms and a little living space, nestled in the big woods of Wasilla, Alaska (see picture above). My family was equal numbers male and female, with happily married parents and four children, two girls, then two boys. When I was my son’s age, our family car was a Subaru station wagon. My childhood was an unblemished happy one, a gift from my intentional and faithful parents that keeps on giving to this day.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, my parents should be sincerely flattered.
3 months ago, my family with two happily married (step-)parents and an equal gender split moved to this split-level rectangle, which is surrounded by acres of woods.
2 months ago, Marrett and I bought a Subaru station wagon.
Every day, I can feel us becoming the family I grew up in. It was always inevitable that I would become my mother, but I never considered that it would be this literal a transformation. And just to fulfill another cliche, in Marrett, I’ve basically and thankfully married my father. We are the Broady Bunch of my childhood re-made for a new, more complicated century.
I never thought I’d have a big family like the one I grew up in. In fact, for almost three years after Ollie was born, I figured I was a “one and done” type mom. I had a stay-at-home mom after all, and even though I know many wonderful working moms who do it, I could never see how 4 would be manageable for me. Yet, here I am, with two older girls and two younger boys, just like my family of origin. There’s a certain amount of chaos endemic to our family system, but there’s also companionship and sibling secrets and ever more abundant love.
I never thought I’d end up in a 70’s split level house in the woods. For the formative years of my young adulthood, I lived in Chicago, a city that still feels like home. I came to love the fast pace, the endless entertainment options, and of course, the fashion. I mean, high heels on a gravel driveway just don’t work! Even in central Pennsylvania, with the nearest city 100 miles away, I lived right downtown, within walking distance of dining and shopping. Every house I chose before this one was at least 80 years old, with the character and charm of days long past. Yet, from the moment we set foot on this property, many months before finally choosing it, echoes of childhood joy shouted from its wooded corners.
Only the Subaru was expected, as I have always been a practical girl when it comes to cars.
This is not the life I envisioned for myself as a child, a teen, or a young adult, but it turns out to be more happy and satisfying than the plans that didn’t work out. For reasons that are obvious to any Psychology 101 student, this life feels like home.
And if these children that are sometimes in my and Marrett’s care turn out like my brothers and sister and I, and our marriage like my parents’, I don’t know what else I could ask.