On Vulnerability


I have obviously been anxious since we got here. Trying to set up a home in a different country is very different than hitting the tourist highlights in 3 days, but my anxiety over daily tasks has been unreasonably high. Finding the supermarket, navigating the bus/tube/dlr, figuring out the money, and trying to ascertain just how things work - like recycling and garbage pick up.

The first few days we were here, Cal (who never shows any signs of stress), would barely talk, which to me, was the first and only indicator that he wasn't quite sure of what we'd done. (Which lead to the realization that a very needy person could not be married to Cal, because he simply doesn't coddle or suspect that anyone might need reassurance.) And here's the deal - I can handle a lot. I'm gonna go ahead and let you know that I think I'm a downright capable person. Feeling helpless is not my jam.

So while my kids struggle with their very emotional vulnerability of not being known or understood, or feeling out of place (which was all magically solved when I bought them Royal Corgis), I had to admit to myself that I was also feeling the big V (wow, how could that possibly be construed?) I mean, I don't feel sad, or lost, or homesick, and I've been in big cities before. The difference is, I feel strategically vulnerable. I don't know what to do if my child gets injured. I don't know how to call the police. I don't even know how to interact with the police. (I sometimes don't even know how to properly cross the road. Or even get my phone to dial local numbers.) My US credit cards rarely work, and our UK bank account will take a while to open. And walking around the bustling city, trying to keep the kids within sight, makes me a bit panicked that I don't know how to access resources the way I have for almost my entire adult life.

That said, I have done this in a 3rd world country, speaking a different language, and I lived to tell the tale, right? But that was just me. No kids, only myself to worry about, and I didn't have to worry about negotiating housing or schooling. It's just another glaring example of how parenthood changes everything and the choices we make impact our kids directly. I'm so over being an adult.

I know Brené Brown makes vulnerability sound like a good thing, but I'm not a fan.

For now our mantra continues, "one day at a time."

And if that doesn't work, just eat more of those dark chocolate digestives.

Mendy Waits4 Comments