Maybe that's why coming back "here" is kind of, well, disturbing. It reminds me that I had intentions and plans and assumptions, two years ago, that included a notion that I would be writing and posting photos on this blog on some kind of semi-regular basis to record milestones and remembrances of life as it happens/ed. Obviously, I didn't. What other projects and plans have I abandoned? Wasn't I going to write a children's book? Didn't I buy GMAT study books? Wasn't I going to get the fireplace tiled? Those fuzzy recollections don't sting, much, but this abandoned blog, pristine, expectant... it's stark.
Wyatt and Liv are four years old now, and they are the one true thing in life. The focus of my ever-growing, ever-intensifying love and affection, and the singular unchanging priority. They are at an age when they can express desires and aspirations, and I don't mean, "I wish I had a gummy bear," but rather, "I wish I could go to Maccu Piccu," and "when I grow up I want to go to outer space," and "mommy, it's taking too long for me to get big."
As their wonder at the possibilities grows, amazingly, so do mine. And so I left my job in June. I am home at this very moment, pondering my next adventure.
I can't give them all the credit. After having endured several months of incompetent, incomprehensible management decisions and a painful reorganization ("business is business" - vomit) that culminated in my being asked to deliver the news personally to 10 humans that we had cut their jobs, I decided rather urgently to ask to be included in the cuts. And so it was, 3 months later. Before I left the building I planned a trip for me and the kids, a 4-week stay on the east coast to enjoy a "real" summer with family and friends in the places I loved as a kid. In preparation I pulled them out of the company daycare and took on full-time childcare duties for the rest of the summer, about 7 weeks in total. I am ever-grateful for this period in my life.
Now they attend a preschool near our house that has a POOL - and has teachers who actually teach. It takes me approximately 6 minutes to drive there, 12 minutes to walk. As of this writing - week 3 - they are thriving and validating this decision every day with their artwork, repetition of facts (mom did you know five and five is ten; y-e-l-l-o-w spells yellow; if you don't brush your teeth you will get a cavity) and deference to "Miss Dorothea." I have had the time and the wherewithal to sign Liv up for Saturday gymnastics, both kids for Sunday music classes, and soon, their school will offer weekly Tae Kwon Do. In many ways this "gift" of unemployment has been exactly right for them and what they needed. And by extension, what I needed, too.
Summer was vacation, but every minute of it was also reflection. I know I am not cut out to be a SAHM (a misnomer we should abolish IMHO) for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that I think I've always known that I need the companionship of adults in order to stay sharp (read: sane). Full-time childcare is also quite hard in terms of mental focus; tolerance for little annoyances, like noise; monotony of routine; and there is little to encourage anyone in the household to give you, the caregiver, space and time. If you are an individual who needs those things, then you're out of luck. But I was grateful to have had a shot at trying it out, and I truly envy those who can feel 100% happy and whole doing it. I wish I could.
I know that I need to find my "new school." It would be a cop-out to say that I already have. But in some ways, I feel like that is, in fact, the case. This school that I'm attending at the moment doesn't pay (yet), but what it does offer is a framework for my life that I didn't have 8 years ago, when I last searched for employment, a framework that I know is right and true and that will help me make the right decisions from here. And at the age and stage I am at in life, I have earned the right, I think, to have the confidence to make that conviction and, in my search for balance and sustained sense of clarity, to put limits as to how far I will be willing to compromise. What's amazing is that this evolution of my state of mind may not manifest in an outwardly different-looking-life at all, but the way I operate within it and the way I feel about it may be absolutely unrecognizable. That is my hope.
Said adventure continues.