Where’s Your Stop?

by Becky on June 14, 2013 · 2 comments

in Parenting


This morning the petals and I made our way up to the BF International School, where they were scheduled to take some final exams, the school’s principal being their approved proctor.  It’s a hike.  Line 5 metro toward Cornelia Centre.  Off at Diagonal.  Over to the train station.  Wait for the train, along with half of Barcelona.  Crowd in.  Find a place to stand.  Off at Sarria.  Then out and up, streetside.  Catch the V7 bus.  Off at Plaza Borras.  Walk the rest of the way to the campus.

After I’d talked with the principal about a couple of matters of importance, I kissed the girls (both cheeks–our way now), slung my backpack over my shoulders, and left.

Instead of catching the V7, though, I decided to walk back down Via Augusta toward the train, and the walk gave me time to think about metros and trains and the passengers they carry.  Not surprisingly, if you don’t know the direction of the metro line or train you’ve just jumped on, whether you make it to your stop is a fifty-fifty.  I planned to grab the train headed toward Plaza Catalunya.  If I didn’t, I’d never make it to Provenza, the stop at which I needed to get off in order to board the Line 5 metro toward Val d’Hebron.  Seems sort of axiomatic, I know, but it’s an easy thing to forget when you’re new to the process and staring into metro corridors that take you in a dozen different directions.

And I started thinking about how, the day before, the petals had made it home from school on their own, in spite of the fact that the stop for the train is Provenza rather than Diagonal, and I’d forgotten to tell them that.  I had wondered:  would they figure it out?–or would they end up in Plaza Catalunya, never realizing they had gone right through the stop where they were meant to transfer from train to metro??

As a primer on life–especially for the teens we want to raise up to be independent thinkers who know what they want and how to go after it–public transportation becomes the perfect metaphor.  You know the end of the line, then you know which direction to go.  You don’t know the end of the line, then your chances of getting there dry up, just like that.

As I rode home today, transferring at Provenza and getting on the Line 5 toward Val d’Hebron at Diagonal, I thought about how crucial it is to be talking with my own teens about their End-Of-The-Lines.  Where do they want to wind up?  Because if they can identify that, then they can work out where to get on, where to stop, where to transfer, how to backtrack if they need to.

I got off the metro at the Sagrada Familia stop, pushed through the exit gates, and made my way up the stairs and out to the street, where I gazed for a moment at Gaudi’s massive cathedral, which remains my favorite in all of Europe.  And I realized:  even if I’d walked all the way home from the other end of the city, I would always have known I was heading toward that landmark, and I could have recalibrated, even if I’d gotten lost.

There might not be one single thing more important than knowing where the end of the line is.  Where you’re headed.  Where you know you’re meant to go.

Don’t you think?

(Photo:  Miss Lavender on her way to Montpellier, France, a few months back.)

Karen L June 19, 2013 at 9:31 am

I meant to comment on this post earlier – life just keeps speeding by!

I so love the message in this post. I agree wholeheartedly. Knowing the goal IS the most important thing. My problem is that while I know the ultimate end-goal, I have difficulty in figuring out the best way to get there –

I’m having a hard time articulating what exactly I mean by that.

I mean, obviously, the big picture or eternal perspective, we know what we want and that there are certain stops we have to take on the journey there. But meanwhile, we also have this amazing life to live – a purpose to fulfill. And struggling to find my purpose {beyond motherhood} is I guess where I stand now. But maybe I’m looking past the mark. sigh.

Great post though, really a lot to think about. 🙂

Becky June 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Karen, I so agree with you: being something else in addition to being a mother is a fraught business. When my kids were smaller, there were days when I didn’t know who I was beyond the person who did for them, if that makes sense. I had left a tenured position as an assistant professor of English to stay at home, and I felt suddenly like I’d left my tribe behind–the people who talked books and language and rhetoric and writing. I was so out of my element for a long time. I wish I would have reached out more to veteran moms whose kids were where I wanted mine to be. I did some of that, and it was always a blessing. I believe in seeking out your tribe, and I think we can belong to more than one: a tribe of likeminded mothers, a tribe of teachers, a tribe of writers. You are so creative!–do you belong to a tribe of creators/makers/crafters/organizers? You have skills I can only long for–honest. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last ten years, it’s that the act of reaching out often brings the tribe to you. I really believe this. Besitos, one for each cheek.

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