20 August, 2010

Evolving Dreams: Celebrating My 30s

"There is one thing I don't like about your job." My daughter says as we lay on the bed, the fan cooling the humid air around us.  "It means you spend less time with me."
I pulled her to me and smiled, this child, my dear sweet daughter, may never realize the history behind this statement, and how her life could have looked.  She only sees that she is out of school and not yet in camp, and I am at work for a few hours a day as we prepare to go on vacation.
Many of her friends have stay-at-home moms.  I respect these parents very much but know that I would never have been able to do that.  One of the greatest gifts I have given my daughter is that I work.  It is best for everyone involved!
My work does take me away from her on these summer days between school and camp to some degree.  She notes it more strongly now as our morning and evening walks are not happening, though they will return sooner than later.  What she doesn't understand, and what I tried to explain, is that I have purposefully chosen a job that provides me with the flexibility and time to spend as much time with her as possible.  My work hours are largely just the hours she is at school.  I have a job that allows me to do things with her that other jobs and professions don't - and it is a choice that I continue to make daily.  Being her parent, spending as much time with her and being as involved with her as possible, was and remains a top priority.
Making the choice to be there and to be the parent that I am was not difficult but it did  and continues to touch me with a bit of sadness.
I remember discovering my pregnancy, realizing I was on my own, and working through those professional dream changes because being a parent meant more to me than the job; being involved with my daughter. sharing my life with her. it was what I wanted.  To do that, I had to change my professional ambitions.  I turned down job interviews, each time choosing to be a parent.  I watched others move into my chosen career, thrilled for them while feeling that touch of sadness for my dreams; realizing each time that the choice I made is one I would make over and over again.  I had wonderful dreams - dreams that I can still see with great clarity, but they were just that - dreams.  Nothing means more to me than having the time to spend sharing my daughter's life!
With the arrival of my daughter, my dreams changed to some extent.  I continued to desire an exciting professional life but I also dreamed of the parent I could be and the life I could give her.  No longer was my dream as wrapped in foreign print as it once was.  My dream evolved into sharing time with this child, telling her stories, laughing, holding her hand, and experiencing life anew with her.
Sometimes I wonder if the profession was ever the dream?  Perhaps the dream I have cherished evolved or changed - or perhaps my dream was always to live life as fully as possible.  To roll with the current and experience the path as I walk; to climb the mountain; and even to uncover the treasures or find them just before my eyes.
We sat together and talked.  I spent a few minutes explaining this to her all the time realizing that the sadness she felt was more about the temporary loss of our walks and talks and games and laughs over anything else.
I miss those walks and talks and games and laughs too.  They are times we spend together that are cherished by each of us - they are times that we make a priority.  I hold her close, rub her back, and we anticipate our upcoming vacation where there will be time for talking and laughing and just being together.   - and I silently feel thankful for the job I have which allows me this time, this flexibility, and this ability to be as involved as I am with this amazing child.


BigLittleWolf said...

I love the thoughtful way you've approached this topic. It is "the exception" to be able to have a paying job that you can work around the job of parenting. I was also in that position, for many years, partly because I was an older mom and had so much experience I was granted the flexibility to work full time from home around full time parenting.

It's quite the challenge, but also so worth it. As for professional goals being somewhat set aside during that period, the most important job - to me - was parenting. I've never regretted it.

If only using the skills of those who believe it is important to parent wasn't the exception.

Sara said...

The Exception,

WOW. We must be in sync. This post is perfect for the times when you realize "there is no choice."

You made a decision and stayed true to it. You didn't look back. I imagine in the beginning this must have been a challenge. Now, you have your gift for taking your own action...a lovely, wonderful little girl:~)

Great post...thanks for sharing this!

Mama Llama said...

There is so much to celebrate in that post! I'm so glad you are!

I hope we can connect this week. I'll keep trying!

Be well, TE.