This I Believe

Brooke - Kansas City, Missouri
Entered on February 6, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
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– Just Roll With It –

Go with the flow. Roll with the punches. However you say it, the meaning is the same – Be flexible. Now, when I say “be flexible,” I don’t to go out and pull a muscle by trying to do the splits. Being flexible isn’t supposed to hurt; it’s supposed to make life a little easier to deal with, relieving some degree of stress in the process. The meaning, in the context I’m referring to, goes a bit deeper than even a pulled muscle. As a mother and wife, being flexible has to be second nature if I want to keep out of the loony bin.

I’ve gone from being a single, independent, woman to a wife and mother of 2 children within a matter of 4 years. Being flexible became more than just a value; for me, it has become a way of life. From having to wake up out of a dead sleep in the early hours of the morning, to not being able to crash until both kids are in bed and I’ve done everything around the house I possibly have the energy to do – I have to be flexible. I have to put my children’s needs first, regardless of what I want or may need to do for myself. I do, however, look forward to that moment, 18-20 years from now, when I can have some control back in my life. Until then, “Just Roll With It” is the mantra that keeps me sane.

As for my marriage, picture a hunting bow. It is made of 2 basic materials: a string, and a piece of wood or some other solid material that has minimal flexibility. When you pull back the string, it flexes as far as you can pull it back. The bow, on the other hand, gives very little, and when you let go of the string, the bow snaps back into shape, pulling the string with it. I am the string, and my husband is the bow. He was born and raised in Honduras, instilled with cultural values very different from my American values, and he will probably never allow himself to acculturate to various U.S. values, specifically those regarding marriage and family. Every day is a test to see how flexible I can be without compromising my own instilled values to accommodate his. I constantly feel like the string that the bow is always snapping back. What happens when the string is overused without being cared for? It snaps. It breaks free of the bow, which is keeping it from being flexible without compromising its own value. The more flexible I have to be, the closer I get to that breaking point.

Families should work together, so no one feels like the string, helplessly attached to the bow. The most important thing to remember is to focus on your own flexibility, which you have control over. Know your limits to avoid the “Snap.”