Square Pegs

Most of my life I've felt like the proverbial square peg in the round hole. I never really fit. Maybe its because I spent my entire life living out of the back of a moving van - dropping little pieces of myself out along the highway as we've journeyed along - picking up little bits of here and there.

My mother always said I'd appreciate the traveling someday because it would make me a more well-rounded individual. I'm now fifty years old, and culturally, I'm about as well-rounded as I'm ever going to be. I'm still working on the appreciation aspect of living my life on the go.

A few years back, my husband and I ventured to Belgium on a nostalgic little pleasure trip. We rented a car and spent a day buzzing around town to all our old haunts including the local grocery store, where we hoped to stock up on some of our favorite international snack foods. Within minutes of entering the grocery, I found myself standing in front of the butcher's window, tears streaming down my face, overcome with emotion.

At that precise moment, I'd become aware of just how hard it had been, living in a foreign speaking country. It was a thought I'd never allowed to creep into my brain during our entire tenure in Europe. If I had, I most likely would never have left my house, and our entire life would have ceased to exist. It was the ultimate sink or swim situation. After all, I had three wary, very wide-eyed children depending upon me. Any show of weakness and I'd upset the whole apple cart.

Rick found me, standing there staring at the lamb patties sobbing and said nothing. I think he knew, and just decided to indulge me my moment of weakness. We left the grocery store and headed on down past the bricco (hardware store), through Jesus Eyke (the village) and started down the street to where our house stood. I was smiling now as I gazed out the window.

Just up the street and around the corner was the old riding club, where I hopped out of the car and ran into the courtyard hoping to find Hasan, our Algerian groom. The place was fairly deserted. I checked the stalls where our three horses once stood. The current tenants barely acknowledged my presence. Of course, it was Monday and the club was closed. I looked around the grounds again and drew a deep breath, remembering. For the short time we lived there, this was where I watched my kids laugh and play and grow. This was were I'd felt most at home. I'd loved it here.

Benjamin Franklin said, "Those things that hurt, instruct." It wasn't always easy being the square peg and there were times when it hurt like heck, trying to squeeze into that little round hole. I guess its really all about the process and what you learn about life along the way.

I hope the other square pegs see it the same way.

Brooke, Bridget and Brittany at the Country Riding Club in Brussels, with Niki and Baby Cool, 1995


  1. so now you're mrs. green jeans? or did I just miss that detail! ha!
    I think I'm rather square as well. just not as well traveled!

  2. I just love the photos...made me smile too. As your eldest offspring I feel that I can be described the same way as you described yourself. As much as I loved living in Belgium I feel that I suffered the worst with the moving part. Moving 5 times during your high school years and being painfully shy will do that. But I wouldn't change it for the world.