Sunday, February 13, 2011

State of Grace

I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. At least, I thought I was trying to figure this out.

This has always been something humming in my background. The Plan when hubby and I got together was that we would both get our doctorates and become academics. That plan detoured a bit when hubby received funding and I didn't. Still, undeterred, I carved out an alternate route for myself while hubby completed his coursework, research, and post doc. Sometime during all this, Nic arrived, and I continued carving out my own niche while parenting him, and later his brother when he arrived.

Hubby continued navigating his own course while I kept the balls in the air with the boys' services and my own work--which never stopped despite continued networking, doctor and specialist appointments, evaluations, IEP meetings, researching education law, brainstorming with my kids' teams. Keeping the balls in the air gradually became more difficult as my children grew and their needs became more complex. The perpetual grind of drumming up work combined with all my life's other demands deadened me.

Which is why the call that came about this time a year ago remains my biggest source of salvation. It called that particular grind to a halt.

Over dinner the other night, and at swim lessons yesterday, the idea of my going back for my doctorate came up a couple of times. And both times I shrugged, asking rhetorically what I'd go back for--I've already done several dissertations' worth of work in the last 10 years.

So in church this morning, as the visiting priest gave his homily (which was amazing--how not to take your spouse for granted, and if you know them like a book, bear in mind it's YOUR book--not your spouse's), my inner voice asked me: "Why are you looking to do something else? Don't you know I've made things easier for you so that you can do what you need to do?"

And of course it occurs to me now as I type this that I said to hubby last night at the end of the doctorate conversation: "You know, I'm their mom, and that's my primary occupation. Everything else," I waved my hand, "doesn't matter."

I said it, and saying it made it true, even though it's been true all along. My first and last job is shepherding my boys to adulthood and giving them the tools, guidance and strength they need to get there.

And everything else--beside the point. However, I couldn't be happier in my current situation--a true gift, to be using my own strengths and helping others find theirs. And I get to use skills I've been honing as my kids' team lead for the last decade--priceless.

Truly, I'm blessed. Even those days in which I may not feel it, I know that I am.

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