I wonder if it is a stage of adult development, this realization that you can’t have it all. I drive the carpool to Sudbury Valley today, surrounded by kids whose families have chosen or are in the process of trying to choose to send their child off on a different path, away from organized academics, traditional school, to a place where kids choose how to spend their time, what to think about and explore and do. On my way home, I think about what is lost and what is gained, how hard it is for me to accept sometimes the reality of life, how hard it was to understand that being divorced also meant being without my children, that choosing to work in my day care means not having a role in the public schools, other than as a parent, that I both love and value the time I spend with children, and am a working mom, am supporting other moms (and dads) in being separate from their kids by being together with mine and theirs, by working hard and never having been a stay at home mom, other than for a few months when Ben was first born, how hard it has been to accept that living my life in Somerville, far from home and family and the friendships of my early life, means never going back, starting and making my own way, how tricky it has been sometimes to reconcile myself to being a city person when my roots are in the country, to stop imagining that some day I might be a farmer, or a public school teacher, and maybe I will be someday, the willingness to suspend knowing the tricky part, to accept many rights and many wrongs on each path, in each model, within each decision, just to go on living every day, feet splayed like the horseman in the circus last Friday, balancing on two galloping horses in a ring to a clapping audience, guided by a woman in a beautiful dress with a whip, telling the horses what to do, the man with super strong legs and nerves of steel, the audience amazed at two horses keeping pace, at the rider balancing as the horses leapt and circled, speeded up and slowed down, at the beautiful woman smiling in synchronicity with the man and horses, keeping it all together with a glow. And you figure there were times when the man fell, when the woman shouted, when the horses moved at different paces, when the audience, if only an audience of one in a practice ring, when one or all of them were disappointed, hurt even, and somehow they all went on.

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