One evening our family joined my grandparents for dinner in Kerrisdale, a beautiful tree-lined neighborhood in Vancouver. After dinner I decided to walk back to my grandparents’ condo with my two year old son, Daniel, to enjoy some cool fresh air and the clear starlit sky. I knew the area fairly well, but though I was confident with my directions, before long we were lost.
Yew Street, the street we were looking for, didn’t go through where I thought it would. The lane we had wandered down came out somewhere different. I realized I could back track, but now the lane was looking a little too dark for my comfort. I spotted an elderly lady ahead and had the following conversation with her.
Me: “Excuse me, do you know where Yew is?”
Me: “Yeah, Yew.”
Lady: “I think Yew’s over there. Yew doesn’t go through.”
Daniel: “You all gone? You over there?”
Me: “That must be Yew. Yes, it looks familiar, I’m sure it’s Yew.”
Lady: “Hope that’s Yew. Yew should be there.”
Me: “Yeah, that’s Yew. Thank you.”
Daniel: “Where’s the you?”
A few months later, after reflecting on this humorous exchange, I thought about Daniel’s expression, “Where’s the you?” It struck me as a poignant question as I thought about parenthood. Our identities become so wrapped up in our children and their needs, that we sometimes lose sight of who we are apart from them.
I know of some parents who no longer pursue interests and hobbies of their own. One friend, a mother of four, couldn’t even tell me what she liked to do anymore. When I heard that, it made me sad. I made a conscious decision to try not to lose those parts of me, the gifts I have been given and the joys I find in my callings outside of parenthood. And I’m trying to encourage others to do the same.
Cultivate your friendships, have date nights, play sports, paint, read, do something—even just one thing that makes you happy and brings you joy. Where’s your “you”?
There are many true stories to be shared in this FEET UP CHRONICLES series for B! adult readers about family life. Please return for more! If you have a true story of your own, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org!