I believe that everyone, in some way or another, has a second (or more) set of “parents”. This is a broad definition of parents I am using here – they may be people who cared for you when your biological parents were having problems, such as grandparents or aunts and uncles, or even godparents as is the custom in some places. They could be people who took you to the movies or to fancy restaurants if the money in your family was tight. They could be people close to you whom to others might seem commonplace but to you were heroes. They could be teachers, formally or not. The common characteristic among these people is that they were role models for you and had a big (positive) impact on your life in one or more ways.
I was lucky enough to have several such wonderful people in my life during childhood and adolescence, but one couple stands out.
Inspired by Dr. Lanham’s post last week about preparing for a child to leave the nest, I got thinking about what my own identities are beyond just being a mom. Aware that we all go through metamorphoses, we grow, evolve and change identities many times in life, I wanted to make sure I was in touch with who I am because I know it’s more than “MOM!”
Before having kids, I spent most of my life trying to grow up. In my twenties, I got bitten by the bug and started traveling internationally, specifically, backpacking. One of the things I found most thrilling about traveling was the ability to “reinvent myself” at every new destination. I keenly remember trying hard to avoid labels; especially the label of being American. I even went so far, while traveling in the Middle East, as to sew a patch of the Canadian flag on my pack. I discovered a lot about myself that decade. (more…)