Monday, October 17, 2011

Can you just stay little forever?

The other night we were driving home to Chicago, after attending the funeral of an amazing woman and mother in Michigan.

It was close to midnight and we'd been driving for a while. The kids were all sound asleep in the back and Chris and I found ourselves contemplating all sorts of aspects of life.

I was telling him about how torn I feel about going back to work, even if for only a few hours a week. I feel torn about whether to try and finish my PhD, which I started back in 2007 in the hopes of teaching someday. Last winter, I took a leave of absence from the program.

The real truth is that I actually don't feel torn about what I want to do. I want to be home with my boys right now. And yes, I realize how blessed I am to even have that option! But I worry about what could happen if I completely step away from my field for too long.... will I have a passion and a vocation to return to someday?

The conversation culminated with following exchange:

Me: I'm just worried that if I don't finish this degree or keep my toes in the water at work, if I give everything I have and all that I am to these boys, that I'll feel lost when they all go to college (which will pretty much be all at the same time!).

Chris: That's far in the future. You have time to figure it out.

Me: Yeah, but I already think about it. It's weird because it's a little like falling in love even though you know the person is going to break your heart in the end. (Yes, I realize I was being WAY dramatic. Just having gone to a loved one's funeral + weeks upon weeks of no sleep + driving late at night = a few dramatic statements. )

Chris: What do you mean?

Me: I mean, I feel I could easily give up my career and just give them all of me year after year after year..... and then one day they're going to grow up and walk out the front door and not need me anymore.

There's a long pause as we stare at the head lights from the cars coming and going in the road.

Chris: That is the goal.

Ahhh, one of the great irony's of parenthood. You have these children that you love beyond belief and want to always be near, and yet the goal is to raise them to be able to someday live without you.

Still, I think there's a right time for everything. I won't give up my passion for the work I've done outside the home, or my quest to finish my degree but now is not the time for me to focus on those endeavors. My heart just isn't in it. It's home with these boys and I have to follow my heart on this one.

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