It’s such a funny question; about me. Who am I? To me, it’s funny because, depending on the questioner, you get a slightly different answer.
If I knew I were addressing a “mommy group”, I would focus more on me as a mother and stepmother. I would tell you that I am the proud step-mama to three (almost) grown boys, and that, never in a million years, would I have thought my life would take that turn. I would tell you that being a step parent is hard. There’s no two ways about it. And I would tell you that being a step-parent really feels like a thankless job at times. And you might laugh and say, “Oh Erin, that’s the case with any parenting role!”, to which I would agree – to a point. I would tell you that I am also the proud mama of a daughter. That she was hoped for, worked for, desired. I could speak to those couples who struggle with getting pregnant. I could also tell you that those 4 kids? They are mine. Step parent, biological parent, it doesn’t matter. To me, they are equal, and I love, worry about, and care about all 4 every day.
If I knew I were addressing an educator, I would tell you all about how I dropped out of college. I felt that I wasn’t making progress. I needed a break. I could mention that once I left the collegiate world, I realized just how hard it was to do anything; and how it was even harder to return upon leaving. I would talk about the 7 year gap between me leaving school and me starting back up again, full force, to get that degree. And how, after pushing myself, working far harder than I ever should have, I finished a degree and two teaching credentials in 2.5 years. I would mention that I am a Special Education teacher. That to me, Albert Einstein’s quote rings true:
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.”
If I were addressing someone looking for marital advice, I could speak of my husband, Chad. I could easily get all gooey, bringing up the sweet tidbits that he does for me on a daily basis; his unwavering support through our struggle to get pregnant as well as my journey to finish my degree. I could mention what an awesome cheerleader he is, how I know he is always rooting for me. I could even tell you about the tiny details, like getting up and making me a cup of tea every. Single. Morning. I could talk about our shared dreams and desires, our schemes and plans. I could tell you our secret to a happy marriage. I could, but I wouldn’t. I would give you a bit of advice. I would tell you that some things need to be private. That some things are to be kept between he and I. Even opening my life to the world though blogging, there are certain aspects that remain a mystery. I would tell you I think it’s that mutual trust and respect that makes for a healthy, happy, and lasting relationship.
If I were addressing a food and lifestyle audience, I could speak of happiness. I would share my love for cooking and baking and creating in the kitchen. I could speak of my desire to experiment, and how it is important for me, the self-proclaimed nurturer of my family, to provide for them. I would inevitably share my obsession with all things food, which you would find kind of funny, as I am also a self-proclaimed “cautious eater”. I would then have to explain some of my oddities, which you would find either endearing or just plain weird. But I would be quick to remind you that I don’t love that about myself. That I wish I could be brave when it came to actually eating the foods I see on all these travel channels. That, regardless of whether I would eat it, I still want to know everything these is to know about how to prepare it.
If I were addressing a homesteading and self-sufficiency group, I would speak of trials, tribulations, and learning. I could tell you that Chad and I desperately want that lifestyle, but don’t know if we can achieve it. I would share that we fancy ourselves homesteaders, but can’t stomach harvesting our own meat. I would tell you all about how much I love to stock up and be prepared. You would again realize that perhaps I’m a little nutty. But you would come to understand that this is my version of a safety net; it brings me great comfort to have things like 50# of flour in my pantry.
If I were addressing a group of travelers, I would speak to how I can’t wait to see everything. I would talk about how disheartening it is to be desperate to travel, but live within a certain set of financial means. I could talk about the struggles of traveling with young children; the heartbreak when they aren’t as enthralled by the things that were SO important to you. I could also talk about just how satisfying it is for those same children to be so excited to see something in person that they have only ever seen on TV or in books.
I think if I were to tell someone about myself, I would want them to really understand that for me, for us, we live by the mantra of “Live small, travel big”. I would explain that simplifying doesn’t have to mean minimalism. It means appreciating the little things. I would explain that we have made a lot of choices to bring together our family and truly experience life. I would explain that “traveling big” doesn’t mean extravagance; rather that to us, it is actually expand our experiences. I would explain that I understand living simply but traveling seem to be a juxtaposition; two different philosophies. I would then tell you that if I am one thing, it is determined. And I am determined that this is the life we are going to live.
Lastly, if any of these topics struck a chord with you, I would invite you to follow along and learn with us as we try to balance these many lives we live.