I blog surf, just like any good internet junkie does. Sure, I have my list of 10-15 regulars who I check in on semi-daily, and then there are others who are bookmarked but I forget to read more than once or twice a month.
Kelly Edgerton is one of those bloggers whom I check not nearly often enough. Her writing is always warm, her stories touching. But she wrote something the other day that really struck a chord with me.
As we pulled into the driveway at the end of our trip, Alyssa turned to me and said, "Thank
you. Thank you for being here when I get home, and thank you for
driving me all over town. Thank you, because I know it is boring for
you and I know it's not fun." The fact that my 15 year
old daughter would be able to read me like that not only took me by
surprise, it also touched me in a way that I haven't felt in a long
time. Alyssa gets it - she realizes what I gave up. She understands
that I did it because I love her. She knows that I do it by choice, but
she also realizes that I made a sacrifice when making that choice.
And she told me thank you because she is happy to have me home. Two
words. They are enough to keep me from ever having second thoughts.
Those two words made my day. I might be restless, and I may lack
direction, but I will never lack the conviction of knowing, without a
shadow of a doubt, that I am doing exactly what it is I need to be
doing at this time in my life. I am a mother. Most days, it is a
thankless job. Today, Alyssa told me otherwise. She said thank you, and
it made a difference.
Wow. Validation for doing what I do. Approval for deciding to chuck my career in favor of mothering these people I've brought into the world. Proof that sometimes people DO notice that mothers are people in their own right, but for many many years they don't really exist as people beyond, in fact, Mom.
I was so focused on having a career when I was younger. I spent all my spare time in college working in the PR office or the school newspaper office. I had big plans for myself. When I graduated I wasn't satisfied with just ANY job; I had to have one that would further my desire to write and edit.
Then I found myself unexpectedly pregnant.
Something about that changed everything. I had always planned that I would probably stay home when I had kids, but I didn't intend to have a baby at 26. I was working for a book publisher and really liked what I was doing for the first time in more than a year, and to give that up was hard. I talked to the editor-in-chief about working part-time or from home, but she said they'd tried that before and had gotten burned. I debated briefly the idea of going back to work, but that lasted only as long as it took to realize that with child care, parking, etc. I would actually be handing my firstborn to a stranger and then going to work for free. Not cool.
So I admitted what I knew all along: I would be a stay-home mommy. And even on the bad days I never regret that decision. And I truly have no plans or ambitions to return to work as long as my kids are under my roof. I don't want to have to ask someone's permission to leave work and attend to my sick child. I don't want to be tired by the end of the day and have no energy for my kids for the few precious hours they are awake after I get home. I don't want to miss a moment of their childhood. I don't want to leave their values and rearing in the hands of someone other than me and Marc.
I've already discovered just how fast childhood goes. I blinked somewhere along the way and Henry is suddenly in kindergarten. It occured to me on the first day of school that this is the last year when my presence in his life will actually consist of more hours a day than his teachers and the people he sees at school. That's frightening, and I have to have faith that I've laid a good foundation in him to be a strong, intelligent, safe young man. I had only five years to influence the choices he will make for the rest of his life.
And now I start the process all over again for Harper.
It is too bad that stay-home moms aren't recognized with more respect for what they do, because ultimately we shape the landscape of future generations. And isn't that a pretty important job?