Taking Stock(-ings)

IMG_6620One Christmas, I ran to my bedroom crying because the stockings were moved.  Or, let’s say, there was an attempted stocking re-arrangement.
I’m a middle child.  You know the deal: fewer family photos, lesser expectations of perfection than the oldest (sorry, Jay); but yet not as many privileges as the beloved baby (well-deserved, Amy).
So one year, somebody (probably Amy) nonchalantly hung her stocking in the middle.  WTF?  I was like 10.  This is embedded in my memory forever.  Damage.  PTSD.  Flashback:
“Ummmmm, Amy.  My stocking always goes in the middle.  I’m the middle child.”
Amy: “Yeah, you always go in the middle.  I want to go in the middle this year.”
Tack.  Tacky.  Tears.
Drama.  Door slams.
Parental pep-talks.
Long story short–my stocking ended up in the middle–Dad.  Jason.  Megan.  Amy.  Mom.  It was all I had.  Equal parental figures anchored on both sides, book-ended.  Equal siblings of equal gender anchored on both sides, book-ended.   I needed the equality of my anchors.  Otherwise, I was off-kilter.  Unbalanced.  (Maybe literally.  Maybe not.)
So I’m thinking as I near middle-age (38), my children “half-grown” (sadness and optimism), my career ten years shy of my pension, my life on a trajectory I can’t see, never would’ve thought of nor projected for myself–still hazy, I realize that the in-between is where we spend the majority of our time in life.
It’s comfortable.  Maybe too comfortable.
When we’re young, we can’t wait to grow up.  Have a car!  A boyfriend!  Go to high school!  Wear makeup!  Go to college!  Have a career.  Get married!  Have kids!  Buy a big house!
Then we’re there for awhile…

(I’m not twiddling my thumbs; I’m on Pinterest.  Seriously, I’m starting this new project.)
Okay, we’re here for like, awhile.
That’s what I’m struggling with lately.  Mid-life crisis?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  When I get really wrapped up all this headiness/heaviness, I anchor myself back with this thought: well, what’s the rush?  The finish line is death.
Morbid, I know.  But true nonetheless, right?
So really, what’s the rush?
So I sit tight.  And draw on the wisdom of one of my favorite women of all time: Nora Ephron, who said, “It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess.  It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications.  It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you.  And don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind.”  
I don’t know what to make of any of this.
I’m still muddling through it myself.
Somewhere in the middle.


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