Once upon a time I was just starting out my grown-up life.
The sky was the limit and the choices were endless. Except not really endless, and the sky did have some limits.
I'm pragmatic, you see.
After I finished high-school, I decided that before I took the plunge into higher learning, I was going to spend a few months doing something for myself. I chose to do a Discipleship Training School under the umbrella of YWAM. My DTS took me to Cambridge Ontario, Honduras, and Virginia. Those were rich times. I learned a lot and tasted a lot of different flavours. Amazingly, I still maintain relationship with many of my friends from my YWAM days (mostly on facebook). Never let it be said that social media is without merit!
Nearly the whole time I was doing my DTS, I was thinking about what was next. If you're a smart, practical kid and know the value of a dollar the "what's next" must be strategic. As I came back to Manitoba, moved to Winnipeg and started my degree, my thoughts went something like this:
I need to stay in Winnipeg for University because it's the cheapest option.
Of course I'm going to U of M..... it's closer to Winkler.
Which degree will guarantee me a job when I graduate?
I really would like to be a mom one day.
If my husband dies and I'm left with the kids, I need a career that can support a family.
How can I finish my degree the fastest?
I really want to do _______________ (insert varying impractical options here) but it's just not practical.
Can I take any courses over the summer? How about micro-teaching?
If I do that I can finish up quicker.
Fast-forward a few years.
I did graduate with a Bachelor of Education degree from the U of M.
I was amazed to get three job offers immediately upon graduating. This was unheard of in the mid '90's. Teaching jobs were scarce and I felt pretty fortunate. I taught in two different schools for a few short years until Hannah arrived. It was then that I put my "career" on the short-term back-burner and concentrated on being her mom.
Aside from teaching part-time for a year and a half between Hannah and Ellie, subbing, tutoring and doing some part-time respite work I've been a mom for the past many years.
Hannah is now eleven.
Ellie is eight.
Sasha - my baby - is six.
Somehow I've landed. My full-time, hands-on, Monday to Friday day job is nearing completion.
Of course I know that a mother's job is never done. Even when they're in school, you're still on call.
I know that.
But next year will be the first year where each one of my three amazing daughters will be in school full-time and I will be......
Perhaps better yet, I will be......
The "who" and the "what" are very intertwined for me.
It's been a long time since I was able to even ask myself those questions and actually need or require an answer.
When your role as a mom to pre-school age kids is over, you can be left feeling a little vulnerable.
Over the past many years I have added layer upon layer of "mom" adornments and functions. Each one filled a need or got me through a murky time. Some were beautiful - others looked a little more like life-preservers. But now as I prepare to enter a new season, the layers are slowly coming off. I take each one, add it to a pile and see what I've collected. Then I ......
Hold them up and recognize their value.
Hang some up for posterity.
Burn some to the ground for fear of ever seeing them again.
Dust some off.
Thank some for providing survival.
As the layers of adornments and functions are peeling off I'm left with
As I am figuring out what is left after I've stripped what and who I was, I feel the same battle beginning. It's the battle of the practical pragmatist and the passionate dreamer who wonders what she could be when she grows up.
This time, I don't want to just play it safe.
But I've got more to lose now.
The husband and the kids aren't just a possibility. They live and breath.
Three mouths to feed.
Three minds to educate.
Three bodies to clothe.
Caught up in the practical, I don't want to lose sight of the fact that there are also three spirits to inspire.
That there are three girls who need to see that it's never too late to take a risk and do something you've always dreamed of.
That women can raise children and still have a functioning brain that thinks, perceives and is capable.
I'm still not sure.
I'm still busy removing layers and reacquainting myself with someone new.
This new relationship could take some time to develop.
I hope I like her.