14 October 2012

In response to my first tears in Bahrain…

It’s no surprise that I want babies. I’ve seriously wanted kids since I was 18.  While I went through a phase where the idea of having a child repulsed me, I believe it was due to setting and plot rather than actual feelings.  People here cannot believe how badly I want to play with a baby (so that I can give it back).  I think it’s mostly because I left some important people back in the states, including my daughter, who is not a baby, but still needs to be taken care of every now and then like we all do.   While I’m not sure how a biological family will play in my cards, I know how important family in all senses of the word is, and I will expand on my current family in the future, I know I will. 

First of all, why is family so important?  I have two dads, two moms and multiple grandparents.  A lot of people would put labels on all of them, my biological dad, my maternal grandparents, etc, but really why do it?  I know the moment a true friend has been made because they can tell which parent/grandparent I am talking about by context.  They also understand, and aren’t weirded out when I say “my kids” or “my daughter”. 

Family is important because I know how lucky I am to have so many adults in my life who care about me and my happiness and who helped raise me.  I say adults because I am referring to those older than me….my mom’s parents who, no matter how hard they fight it, still cry almost every time I call them (this has only been exacerbated by me living on the opposite side of the world.)  My Aunt Peggy and Uncle Jeff who show me that love can work, and being best friends is important, and having passion for life is even more so.  My Grandma Sarah, who I know waits for facebook updates to make sure I’m ok, and also probably updates John about my life more than I do.  I love my Aunt Barb who gets me, and I wish I got to see her more than every other year. 

There are also adults who are not older (well slightly) than me, but are definitely more adult than I am.  I used to feel like the “adult” of MGC but now living over here I’ve realized I’m definitely not.  Jamie has a baby (who I miss seeing).  Leslie is everything I want to be as an educator and Leigh Ann is the blend of fun and professional all adults should be.  My cousin Jessi is the adult that I can’t believe.  She is a mom of two and I cannot believe what an amazing job she is doing.  I’m very proud of her (if I can be since I consider her to be more adult than me).
Notice I haven’t mentioned parents?  Well I feel like I talk about them a lot.  However when I read Leah’s post, especially this part:

“the most comforting thing about my mom is that doesn’t judge me, regardless of what I do.  The choices I make are completely up to me, and she knows that.  She always says, ‘As long as you’re happy, I support you.’”

I realized how much they shaped me.  They let me make my own mistakes.  They help me when I need it.  They taught me that love and support can get you through anything, but you have to be strong enough to get through. I haven’t always been strong enough, but I feel like I am a strong, confident adult because of my upbringing. I want to share this attitude with my current and future family. 

I am a teacher because I love family.  The classroom is my family.  The students are my kids.  For some, literally.   I’m not sure if I needed Leah or if Leah needed me more.  I think we needed each other at this point in our lives.  We needed to know that there was someone out there who cared enough.  She needed to know that someone loved her enough to kick her ass into gear, and love her when an ass kicking didn’t work.  I needed someone to show me how real a family is beyond traditional definition.  I have always said I have had more than I should, money, time, love; I have more than any one person deserves.   All I want is to share, but I had no idea when I cooked a dinner, or took a math book (god am I really that nerdy?) that I would find such a great kid to love. 

It’s amazing that while miles separate me from my “family” I know that if I were to move back to North Carolina tomorrow I could pick right back up.  I am doing great here in Bahrain.  I really do love it and am feeling good about my decision.  However tonight was the first night where I realized how much I am missing back home.  I knew that the world would go on without me, I knew that I would go on and do great things (parents also taught me to be overly confident).  However, I forgot that I would miss the great accomplishments of people.  

I am missing relationships form and get serious and I guarantee I will miss an engagement or wedding amongst my closest friends. I missed Leslie run a half marathon.   I am missing Emily graduate from college in a VERY surprising three years.  And the one who brought on this sapfest, I am missing Leah be an adult, so I want to say that I am proud…of everyone, because in some way or another, I hope to have a little bit of the faith, love and courage that the people I am missing tonight have, to do all of these great things that I am missing.   Keep trucking.  I love everyone.  I miss everyone, but all it takes is someone behind you, pushing you, with arms to catch you, to remind you that you can achieve anything you set your heart out to accomplish. 

How appropriate that we read this in class today…

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go through your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!”


  1. Love and miss you so much! I am SO happy that you are happy and loving Bahrain, and I love hearing about it, but I'm not gonna lie- a small, annoying, selfish part of me misses you terribly and cannot wait for you to come back home!! But really... I'm proud of you and I know you made a great decision for yourself- personally and professionally. Message me with a mailing address soon!!

  2. Carissa,

    I feel this way so often. When I went to college, I was sad because I was missing my brother grow form being a kid to a teenager. Then I was sad in Brazil because I was missing birthdays. Now I'm sad because I don't get to see my nephew (although Skype is a wonderful thing) and my friend Pnut is having a baby that I'll only see once a year.

    It doesn't get easier, I don't think. I am really missing home today. But I think your post is helping because it's reminding me of all the new family members I have here that I didn't have before. And I like to think that my nephew Liam, and my new niece-ish to be, Pnut's almost here baby, Adalyn, will have a more complex view of the world because I am in their lives, sharing stories of faraway places.

    I spent an hour on Skype with my mom and my dad and my cat and my dog, and that helped a little bit. But it's really tough to be out here living my life while I am missing everyone else living their lives. : o)

    Hope you're having an amazing "Monday" in Bahrain.