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Featured Article on Parenting: The Power of Belonging

Search for Assurance: The Power of Belonging

The job hunt is on, as is the quest to find another great preschool and neighborhood to be part of. After feeling out of place, hearing over and over that an item I'm searching for is not available, or a pretty basic procedure I thought I had a grasp of is "done differently here. You must be from overseas," I'm really glad to be back.

It's as I suspected-we each have a checklist of things we rely on to assure us that all is okay. For my elderly aunt, reciting the family tree mentally anchors her in the family, and strengthens her sense of belonging to it. I never understood before, but she has actually memorized the biographical details of most of the family members. She orients herself by acknowledging aloud who's married to whom, who's building, and how many children they have, where they graduated from, and the names of all of the grandchildren. I used to search for mention of myself in this Roll Call of Impressive Achievers. This year, I decided that establishing my own checklist of anchoring events was more important to me than being named on someone else's. I started by writing and compiling a book with my daughter.

Another important step in my ongoing orientation was hearing the words "Welcome Home" when we cleared customs on our way back to Massachusetts. It was hearing the airline pilot comment on seeing my Red Sox cap the night we flew in: "They won the World Series, you know." I don't follow baseball, football or any team sport for that matter, but at the moment I cherished the sense of belonging conferred by my symbolically significant headgear.

That sense of belonging is especially important during childhood. It meant the world when my friends and I were choosing teams. I always dreaded being the last one picked, because it made me feel like I had no enviable skill in throwing, catching or running, and therefore nothing that either team really coveted to ensure its victory. Truth is, I didn't have any such skill, but that didn't curb my wanting to be a part of things. Everyone likes to belong, whether it be as part of a family, part of a culture, or as everyone in Boston can tell you, part of a winning team.

But back to the search, the beauty of it is simply having something to choose from. Not lots of products and services, but endless variations on each, and always an emphasis on the consumer's convenience. I've been to the mall three times, and always leave in a state of amazement. Part of that is mall-induced exhaustion, but it also comes from feeling overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the structure.

For the first time in months, I am not apologetic about being a foreigner, nor am I fearful of ridicule for being an American. It's good to be home, and back to a search mode I can look forward to.

Tricia Wellington is the mother of one toddler.

copyright little-turnips.com 2003-2005. All rights reserved.

Tricia Wellington is the mother of one toddler.

In The News:

Skygazers will be treated to the “super snow moon,” on Feb. 19, the largest supermoon of 2019.
In November 2016, astronomers watched a young star some 1,500 light-years away from Earth belch out an explosion of plasma and radiation that was roughly 10 billion times more powerful than any flare ever seen leaving Earth's sun. This sudden stellar eruption may be the most luminous known flare ever released by a young star — and it could help scientists better understand the still-murky process of star formation.
An audacious attempt to find explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance has been called off after the expedition team lost an undersea drone beneath Antarctic ice.
“Our wish is to fly this year,” NASA official Thomas Zurbuchen said at the surprise announcement of a new Moon mission overnight. “We want to incentive speed … We want to start taking shots on goal.”
Bones recently found in a Siberian cave have given researchers a new glimpse into the timeline of an extinct human species. The species – known as Denisovans – at one time lived alongside Neanderthals in the same cave, the evidence showed.
NASA's Opportunity Rover has died on Mars.
A rare 12th-century triple toilet seat will be going on display at a London museum later this year.
Ex-baseball player Jose Canseco has officially joined the group that believes "the truth is out there" and is on the hunt for UFOs and Bigfoot. 
MILAN (AP) — Archaeologists have discovered a fresco in an ancient Pompeii residence that portrays the mythological hunter Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection.
It’s a river unlike any in Australia — and a fortnight ago it barely existed.

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