The Oak

I feel like I’ve lived a thousand lifetimes in just this year alone. Since this time last year: my stepdad died, I gained a new position, got pregnant with my first, lost my first, suffered months of severe depression, got pregnant with my second, new position was lost due to funding, lost my second, found out I have a genetic mutation, and struggled with the late twenties feeling that I’m failing.

There’s been so much death this year that it blows my mind. Before, Death was someone I’d only seen a glimpse of as older family members passed. Now? We’re frenimies. He’s at my house often, but I hate seeing Him so much. At this point I feel as though the sole reason for my pregnancies is to give Death baby after baby for some twisted reason. Being around Death so much has the unexpected side effect of making me feel ancient. Some days I feel so old that I’m surprised when I look down and see a still young and healthy body. I feel like I have accomplished nothing. I’m 27 and though I’ve held a couple of different positions, have no career. I’ve been pregnant twice and have no baby to hold. I feel unmoored in life and don’t know what my purpose is. I’m a teacher without students; a mother without children.

Then I think…27 is is an infant in the grand scheme of life. There’s a young oak tree in our backyard, only a year older than me. It’s small and you can tell it’s a young one. The other trees, tulip poplars and pines, planted at the same time are all big and look like they’ve been here forever. But the oak is slower to grow. It won’t even produce a large amount of acorns until it’s 50 years old. I look at that tree and think that, maybe, the human life is more like an oak tree’s. That tree is a little bent from surviving a major ice storm and some branches are missing from rain storms, but it’s still here. It’s still growing. Just like the oak, parts of me are forever changed from the storms I’ve weathered. But I’m still here, I’m still growing.

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