Testing The Waters

For some time now, I’ve felt as if I could do more with my time.   I don’t homeschool my boys (at least not right now, that could change in the future) and with the two of them in preschool and mother’s morning out programs, I’ve had some of my time freed up.   At first, I thought I would devote my time to me, either working out, writing, reading, relaxing, or running errands.   And why not?  I work hard in my stay at home mom position.   But something deep down within my heart and in my head told me that my time could be better spent elsewhere.

Two weeks ago, at our local Rotary meeting (of which I am the Communications Director), we had a speaker who is the Executive Director of the Cancer Survivors Park Alliance.  It’s a park created for cancer survivors and their families, as well as those who are currently fighting the horrible disease.   The purpose of the park is to create a space for hope, healing, learning, and celebration.   The speaker happened to speak to us on the 9th anniversary of my brother’s death to leukemia, a debilitating blood cancer.

cancer survivors park
An artist’s rendering of the park.

I took it as a sign from God, a sign that I had prayed about for quite some time.   I’ve longed for something with which I could devote my extra time (what little I have).   I’ve told my husband that I want to do more with my life, but I don’t want to sacrifice the flexibility of a stay at home mom lifestyle.   I want to go to my children’s events, be hands on with them and involved in every aspect of their lives, more so than I would be as a working mom, but still be active in my community.   I’ve sought out an organization with which I could be passionate about.   If it’s going to take away any of my time, then it has to be worth something for me, and by something I mean more than money.

After our rotary meeting, I spoke with the director and offered up  my services in some form or fashion.   She said she couldn’t pay me, and I told her I wasn’t looking for money.   She informed me of a couple of opportunities, one of which is on the communications committee.   Given my background in communications, we both decided the group could benefit more from my expertise in that arena.   So, last Wednesday, I dropped my boys off with my mom and dad and headed out to my first official meeting.

Although, I’m not being paid, this is still a professional organization and I hemmed and hawed over what I should wear.   It’s been 4 years since I’ve been in the corporate world and either my business suits no longer fit or I just don’t have them anymore.   I settled with a nice pair of jeans, a button down shirt, and a blazer…business casual.

As the meeting got underway, my head started pounding and my heart beat started accelerating.   All of the people in the room with me were currently working.   Not a one of them was a retired philanthropist or fellow stay at home mom like me.   They all were able to contribute to the conversations by injecting in some sort of anecdote from a previous experience either with a client or an idea.   Me?  Well, I just listened intently and took notes.

Secretly, I sat there wondering if this was a good idea.   My thoughts kept revolving around, “do I have the intelligence for this?   what about the bandwidth?   Have I been so long out of the working world, that I can’t contribute?”

After the meeting, I tossed around a couple of ideas and I have meetings scheduled to find ways to increase fundraisers, to market them, to write up press releases, and encourage the overall notoriety of the park.

That night, my husband asked how the meeting went.  I told him it went well.  I told him about what was being done and about some ideas I had.   As with everything else in my life, he told me he was proud of me for taking on this added responsibility, for finding a way to help others.    Who knows what may come of this?   I definitely don’t, but I do know that the excitement of being involved in something like this is exhilarating.   I’m likely to have less time for my blog posts, but it’s worth the sacrifice.

By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about the park, you can visit their website.  http://www.cancersurvivorspark.org

 

 

“Mama Go. I Play.”

Four simple little words, two sentences, and yet so profound and impactful, at least for me.

Those were the words my son gave to me as I dropped him off at his first day of Mother’s Morning Out, which is a sort of preschool/daycare. He’s not quite two yet, but my husband and I felt that it would be beneficial to all parties involved (me, him, Davey, and the soon to be Henry), to enroll Davey in something that is “his”. I wanted him to have more social interaction with children and less time with me. So, we chose to do it one day a week. It meets for five uninterrupted hours in the day! What a joyous break, or so I thought when I first decided to enroll him.

Monday night, I did my typical “first day” preparations. It’s something I’ve always done the night before my “first day”, whether that be work, school, vacation, community function, you name it. I’m a planner and I need to have things in place and organized. I don’t do well “flying by the seat of my pants”.

As I packed Davey’s new back pack, complete with diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes, I started feeling a lump in my throat. What was wrong with me? Where was all of my excitement and anticipation from the previous weeks? Why was I starting to think I was making a bad decision? I shook my head for a moment, quickly doing my best to demolish the thoughts from my head, and started working on his lunch. I was nervous and excited. Would I sleep? Would I be able to eat the next morning? And why was this affecting me so badly?

Tuesday morning rolled around. I woke up early, showered, made coffee and ate breakfast. (What was this? My first day? I suppose.) I double checked Davey’s back pack and his lunch box. I made sure to grab his raincoat as it was raining and then debated on just what type of breakfast I would make for my future scholar. After completing all of this, including making sure I had any last minute paperwork completed and in hand, I went upstairs to awaken Davey. Let me make a quick side bar here…It was 7:30 and Davey was still sleeping. My son NEVER sleeps this late, even if we put him to bed later. Could it have been that he knew it was his first day of “school”? Perhaps all children are born with this sort of microchip in their brains that signals when school is starting, therefore encouraging the late sleeping? I don’t know, but I do find it quite fishy.

I dressed my son, fed him his breakfast, combed out his hair, and put his back pack on him. We walked out the door a half an hour before school started (it’s a ten minute drive away, but I loathe tardiness. I detest it. I can’t understand people who are constantly late). As we drove down the road, we sang some nursery rhymes, listened to the news, and briefly discussed Davey’s first day. Did he completely understand the significance of the day? Probably not, but being so important to me, I continued on.

We pulled into the school parking lot. I parked, walked around to the back, and opened Davey’s door. He eagerly put on his backpack, grabbed his lunch box, and held my hand. He commented on the flowers, the color of the door, the stairs, and the pretty bulletin board as we walked down the hall to his room. As per my usual custom, we were the first to arrive. Did I tell you I hate being late? If I instill one good trait in my children, it will be that they’re ALWAYS early, not just on time.

I signed Davey in, got him situated, and walked through everything with one of the teachers. Davey began immediately playing and within a couple of minutes, another child had arrived. I asked Davey for a last hug and kiss. He ran over to me, gave me one of each, and then pushed me out the door with the comment, “Mama go, I play.” Then he ran off! The nerve of him! He didn’t cry! He didn’t seem scared. He seemed perfectly happy and adjusted, so why was this such a difficult moment for me? I am becoming a mother I never thought I would be.

Quietly I closed the door and then lingered for a moment. I peeked through the window, anticipating that Davey would realize I was gone and quickly run to the door screaming, but it never happened. He continued to play. I dropped my head, succumbing to the defeat, and knowing that my child would do quite well.

I choked back my tears until I got in the car, then slowly let them fall. What was I sad about? I should be grateful that my child is so independent, and I am! I should be happy that he’s able to adjust to his environment, and I am! I guess what I’m sad about is the fact that for just today or maybe that one moment, I was not needed. My baby boy isn’t going to be a baby much longer. Sure, I have at least 16 years before he goes off to college, but the past two felt like they’ve flown by. I’m afraid if I blink, the next 16 will be gone as well.

I’ll adjust and truthfully having him gone for five hours allowed me to accomplish so much…3 loads of laundry (all of which needed to be ironed), a clean kitchen, cutting in with paint on his new bedroom, and even a Rotary meeting at lunch. I can only hope, though, that dropping him off will eventually get better.