For a while, I was a little bit confused.
You see, I've been a mom full-time now for going on 10 years.
I've enjoyed it. Laughed, cried, despaired, and learned. (How could I not?) But still. I haven't had a lot of other options. And more importantly, we've been blessed as family in a way that I haven't had to find other options.
You might say I have settled into life as a stay-at-home mom. It just kind of happened that way.
But a few months ago, Courtney and I had this idea.
We have spent a lot of time tossing this idea around. Here and there. . .everywhere. In fact, it became a little consuming.
And then, our idea turned into an opportunity.
An opportunity for me. To learn. To develop some talents. To use my inherent creativity for things outside my little nest. It felt like a chance to really accomplish something. Why not? I reasoned. Emmy's almost in school. It's time I made something of myself.
I admit, it was pretty exciting.
Oh, the time I've spent thinking. Praying. Pondering. Planning. Researching. Dreaming. Agonizing.
But the answers never came.
I never felt at peace. Like I said, I did feel excited. But there was something else. I felt breathless.
I think the breathless part was the problem. Because the more I prayed and planned and figured, the more breathless I became. This has been going on for months. Have you ever felt breathless for months? It gets to be a little unsettling. For a while, I wondered if this meant that it was the right thing to do. But the other part of me (the part that I didn't want to listen to) was telling me that it was too much. Too much of something that was fun, yes, but that would take away from what was really important to me. I think it was telling me that instead of researching the possibilities, I should be studying me.
Finally, I sat down. I wrote a list.
I titled it, "Things That Really Matter To Me." (I inserted the 'really' part when after only a few minutes, I came to the conclusion that while there are a lot of things that matter to me, only a handful of those things really matter.) I also required myself to think long term. Not only about things that were most important to me now, but about the things that would matter to me when this life was over. I only wrote down the things that qualified on both accounts.
My list includes a mere 6 items. And almost every single one includes Courtney and the girls.
It made my decision much easier.
It's funny how a little list like this changed my focus. The thoughts that had only recently been all consuming now took a back seat. What had seemed so imminently important now suddenly moved to a "someday".
Why? Because this list helped me to realize that what is really important to me will take my time. It will take my focus. My talents. My creativity.
My list requires all of me.
Long ago, before I went to college, was married, or had children, I thought a lot about the profession I would enter. Later, as a social work major, I thought of exciting possibilities, such of being a writer for National Geographic, working with the homeless, and getting my masters degree in Chicago. Even still, the thought of these adventures make me feel excited. . . inspired. . .
Maybe someday. Twenty years from now, my days will be different. My calender will change. My "to-do" list will take on a new direction, new possibilities.
But for today I only have a little window. A short stretch of time filled with little feet, messy rooms, and dirty laundry. An all too fleeting moment of giggly silliness, endless hugs and kisses, and teaching moments. I want to delight in this. To delight in them. With all that I have.
For one day, at the end of my life I am going to review my list. The one titled, Things That Really Matter To Me. And regardless of the outcome, I will know that one day in March, the year 2010, I made a decision.
I chose to be a mother.