Sometimes I wonder if I didn't get the human race gene that pulls us innately forward to strive to be something better or want something more. I'm not saying it wouldn't be lovely to wake up one morning to find myself a veterinarian, a professional photographer, and a back up vocalist for Martin Sexton (who by the way, practically does his own back up vocals while singing lead - he's ridiculously talented). Those are things that once were dreams of mine and I do bring them out, spit shine them, and tuck them back into their shoe boxes on those ashy skied rainy days. I'm not talking about those types of dreams. I think what I'm talking about is the American Dream. That thing that almost all Americans have naturally that pulls them from obscurity and out into the real world of competition, 60 hour work weeks, and a desire to define oneself by their vocation or how passionately they live their work ethic.
I worry that I lost this when I left the work force after Grayson was born. There was a time when I cared a lot about propelling myself forward as an educator and my priority was becoming an effective mentor, an intelligent asset, and critical to my team. Then I became someone's mom and my perspective changed drastically. I'm not sure it was for the worse or if it was for the better. All I can say is that it definitely shifted.
Suddenly the drive to succeed and continue to better my position in the education field was overcome with my desire to help this little baby through his first days, weeks, months, and eventually years of exploring life outside the womb. My drive was no longer unilateral. I now had a sidecar and my drive became a two person journey. My pull was whatever would make him happy, healthy, or fulfilled. Sure this also meant lots of trips to thrift stores and antique markets to feed my own hungry brain receptors but he was always my main raison d'etre.
Then along came Abby and my motorcycle took on one more sidecar. Along with her brother, she became the pivotal focus of my days and nights. It never felt like a "surrender" or a sacrifice because it was always and still is what I wanted to do. What I need to do.
I'm sure there are many people who argue this is natural or this is how it's "supposed to be" and what exactly am I complaining about? To that I say "For some, you're right!" I'd also argue that maybe it is but what happens when those little babies grow up, go to school and eventually unfold into their own independent articles? Do you then pick up where you left off decades ago and try to remember what you once loved more than your own children? No. The answer has to be no. There must be a decided happy medium where you can enjoy raising your children while also not sweeping yourself under the rug for the time being.
How do you guys do it? Where do you find your happy medium or even content one third?
I'm not sure which bothers me more: the fact that I left my former identity so casually or the nagging notion that my mojo needs watering and is leaning hard toward the sun. Not because I'm missing it so much but because others around me seem motivated to do something more. I guess I wish I want that desire to be in me too but it's not.
The truth is I'm perfectly happy, completely content to be where I am in my life for now. Does this mean I'm going to love starting over from scratch in a few years when the kids are both in school full time? Nosiree. See film at 11. That's going to suckity suck suck.
The other truth is that sometimes I think I'd better adopt a quick penchant for self survival like my sister moms out there doin it and doin it well (yeah, you all know who you are!) before I'm left with a long walk back home from the bus stop and a weedy little plant of myself thirsty for things it could've been drinking all along.
But just maybe I have it all wrong. Maybe we, as Americans, have it all wrong. Perhaps instead of always striving to be better, look hotter, have nicer or bigger stuff, we could all take a long pause to ascertain the real rewards and hold on. Hold on because life doesn't slow down for busy people (or saps like myself). Hold on because children and their utterly edible preciousness are fleeting and at some point in our future everything we are now, everything we have now becomes a pile of memories. If we all are lucky to live long enough, let us also be smart enough to remember those things without regret. Let us know we spent our time really spending our time with those we loved while milking each day for what it was worth.
How tragic to look back and want to shake yourself silly for missing it all because you simply didn't recognize that it all was actually right there at your fingertips, daily? How horrible to know you were too busy looking for a golden goose while those in your nest were keeping things warm and toasty without you. Too tragic for me.
So for now, I will probably continue to wonder where my own mojo went but I'll love helping my children find theirs along their way. If memory serves, mine is bull-headed and resilient and can stand a couple more droughts as long as I remember to sit it in the sun from time to time.