March 9, 2010

and she said Allen wouldn't camp

So many times I don't understand the world in which I live. For instance, I remember my mom getting very upset that I was contemplating marriage to a man who didn't camp. She was upset that I could see giving up something that I'd enjoyed for so long. Then she turned on me and accused me of never really enjoying it, of lying and pretending to enjoy something that had been part of our family culture and figured so largely in some of my most precious family memories. In the end I think she was accusing me of not being a member of the family. Now that I'm in the middle of planning trips and looking up backpacking meal ideas I recall how upset she was that night in the car where we sat talking while waiting for the younger kids to come out of church. She never came back and said she was mistaken about Allen. She condemned him for not being a certain kind of man, but when he surpassed everyone's expectations by sleeping on the ground and strapping on snowshoes she never apologized. She never said that perhaps she was mistaken about this aspect of his character or interests or his capacity to willingly do a thing because he loves me. That didn't change her. I wonder. What was that argument really about. When I was trying to defend my interest in man who'd said he'd like to go see Colorado National Monument with me, what was that really about? I don't think it was about camping. I don't know if was even really about me. It was probably about her, but I really don't even think that matters much. Listening to that argument one would think she feared breaking the family culture -that I would go off and be a person whom I had not been before and live a life different from hers. When Allen and I married we taught each other new interests. We carry on the cultures of both families and don't belong wholly to either. I wish that could be enough. Why it isn't I don't know.


missy said...

I have just read your blog for the first time. You are such a fine writer, I wonder if you have been told that you should write a book.
Some of your family experiences are similar, though not identical, to my own. It was encouraging to me see how these painful family interactions can be articulated and stored away, even thought they are not resolved.
I wonder if I can be just awfully bold and make a book recommendation to you. Since I found you at Femina, I hope you will see the value of this. I read Doug Wilson's dad, James Wilson's book "How to be Free from Bitterness" many years ago, and found it so very helpful. You might appreciate what he has to say, too.

Natalie_S said...


I don't think of myself as a particularly bitter person, but enough people have recommended that book that I'm beginning to think I should read it anyway :) Perhaps I will be convicted differently. Glad you enjoy my writing.