The Wheel in the Sky

There’s nothing like a fair. The smells. The sights. The interesting characters running the rides and manning the booths. I feel immersed inside a fiction story when I am at such a place. Wanting to read every person’s backstory. What led each of them to live like a vagabond? Traveling the country to set up and break down every booth and tiny roller coaster from week to week. A life of props and mirages.img_2287

My life revolves around my child and my husband – and my work, to some degree. We’re stuck together like ferris wheel seats, following each other up and down, up and down. When one of us changes, the others have to adjust, our places constantly shifting a little.

Since we moved into a new house two weeks ago, our son, Asher, already has little neighborhood friends. One, in particular, rings our doorbell to see if Ash can come out to play – already. This is a completely different experience from our old neighborhood. Early on, in our townhouse community, we learned that the kids on our street weren’t the friendliest or most polite children one could meet. And not one of these small children ever rung our doorbell. They were likelier just to dig in our dirt or roam around in our backyard, before we had a fence. (Good fences sometimes do make good neighbors.)

Nonetheless, things are changing. Our boy is all at once more removed from mom and dad. His world is expanding, and dad and I have to adjust. We need to shift a little lower, so that our son can go higher, perhaps. Eric and I were confiding in one another last night about the change and the anxieties it brings. About the letting go and how its both joyous and painful. And totally necessary. Neither of us are quite prepared to let our child run free with neighborhood boys, but we’ll get there.

The wheel in the sky keeps on turning.

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It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

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