Despite the general sense of calm I've had about this late-in-life pregnancy, I do still wonder about my ability to do it all over again. Not the pregnancy itself, but the parenting and the sacrifice, and of course, 2nd grade math. I don't want to phone it in with this little one, even though after more than 10 years of having kids in school full-time and plenty of very quiet time by myself at work and at home, it will be an adjustment. Am I ready for Hot Wheels and Thomas the Train?
Will I be able to adapt to having a little sidekick again?
And it's such a weird time to be having a baby, when I FINALLY feel I have found my true calling through writing and speaking engagements. Sharing stories and life with others, examining the ideas of loss, resilience, and radical trust are a sweet spot for me, and I've been hoping to do much more of this as Margaret grows more independent. I love speaking to churches, universities, and at conferences. I feel there may well be another book or two in me. So, after years of NOT knowing what I wanted to do when I grew up, I now KNOW, and it feels right, but I wonder how it will play out with a tiny person to care for.
I haven't mentioned this inner conflict to many people, because I don't want to seem to be taking our baby miracle for granted. But I'm human, and I wonder. It seemed like it was time for me to blossom beyond the four walls of our house by connecting with others and their stories, but being pregnant seems to steer me right back toward the protective walls of home.
My husband Tim, who is a man of few words, said the kindest thing to me last week. I know I have used this space in the past to share some of his foibles with you-- not full-on husband bashing I
hope--but anecdotes here and there to illustrate our different takes on...just about everything. And as I told him years and years ago, if he wants to write about me and my annoying habits, he should feel free to start his own darn blog.
Anyway, out of the blue in the kitchen last week he said, "I think what you do is more important than what I do, because you are helping people every day. I want to find a way to help you after the baby comes so that you don't have to quit doing it."
I don't know what he meant, specifically, but I tear up thinking about it.
His job is the one that brings in the vast majority of our income, and it is something that he does well. For him to notice, really notice, that what I do somehow makes a difference made me feel seen and acknowledged. We don't talk much, but in 20+ years he has witnessed that my default mode is to put my desires on the back burner for the family, to push up my sleeves and let the years roll by without considering if something else might also beckon. Now that I've heard such a beckoning louder and more clearly than ever before, I do not want to ignore it, and his words emboldened me to consider that following the call might still be possible, even if the idea overwhelms me. Truly, those words were a balm.
This post is not about making money, or staying home versus working outside of it. It feels different than that. Instead, I think it's about yesterday's patterns not having to dictate tomorrow's. It's about rethinking roles and the way things have always been. Jack's death has taught us that almost everything is subject to change, but even with that unsought-after knowledge, I am still sometimes reluctant to see beyond how I am living right here, right now, and be open-hearted to other possibilities.