Surrendering Life (As She Knew It)

Janus, so named for she looked both ways—
neither to the right or left,
but forward and back.
Her old self surrendered to the natural progression
of her own free will,
and the free will of others—
to embrace a new identity,
a new love,
a new life.

No longer Miss Patton,
but Mrs. DeCarlo.
No longer under the protection of her father,
but her husband,
and now, ten years hence,
the protector of three little ones—
her little Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.
She is the Giver,
not the Receiver,
of cold compresses and chicken soup,
of smiley-faced pancakes on Sunday mornings—
the pusher of merry-go-rounds
and the pulling off of being extremely aware
and incredibly exhausted.
Notions of hooky—
of up-all-nighters waxing poetic,
drinking coffee with Irish cream,
of sleeping all day to the sound of Paris Gibson on the radio,
are gone with the breeze.

She cannot return to the past,
for she cannot be
the changed creature she is in the past;
the two cannot coexist,
because the new doesn’t belong in the old.
She has broken the mold—
she continues to outpace herself.

She gave up the life she knew,
to pursue the life—
to give the life—
that was waiting for her.

She isn’t being something she’s not,
but trying to become something she is.
She did not change because she had to,
but because she is human,
not a robotic ideal like Howard Roark.

No, she isn’t the woman he married,
but neither is he the man she married
all those years ago.
They have evolved together
to fit snugly into one another—
so that even if they parted,
they would remain changed from the love they shared.
Yes, he loves her in all her forms,
for they are all still Janus.

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