I know I'm not alone in feeling like the beginning of the school year is more of a "fresh start" than New Year's. With three kids in school and living in and among educators, my life ebbs and flows with the academic calendar. Fall comes around and our day to day life changes overnight. This year was especially a game changer because my youngest baby started all day Kindergarten. (!) So for the first time in eleven years all of my kiddos are in school full day. It means, in a way, that I just got laidoff. I've been caring for them for awhile now, sometimes working part-time (sometimes more hours, sometimes less), but taking care of them throughout the day has been my main priority, my main job, for over a decade. It's the best job I've ever had and I've loved it, for whatever sacrifices it's meant for my family, I always felt like it's what I was called to do. And this is not at all a treatise on stay-at-home moms. That was the choice I made and it's hard not to feel like it's over now. Of course I'm still their mom, of course they still need me, of course we'll still have many wonderful days together, but those morning to night, day after day, times together are kind of behind me.
Whoa. I think it finally hit me the week before school started what that meant for me and my thoughts about it have been sitting pretty heavy on this heart. Those of you who are parents know how these moments can knock you off your feet. I have the expected contradictory feelings of joy and sadness as, on the one hand, they're growing up! Look what I helped do! They're great kids! They are ready to do new things and I can't wait to see where they go from here. On the other hand, my babies! Gulp. When you've been so emotionally invested in something for so long - what's that saying about parenting being a constant state of letting go?
Now, with this change come some predictable questions. Very well meaning questions. Mainly, "What are you going to do now?"
Believe me, I've been thinking about this for awhile. A long time, really. I don't think any stay-at-home mom doesn't think about this on a regular basis. Probably three or four years ago now, in my search for "what am I going to do with the rest of my life?" I decided that above all I wanted to love it (almost) as much as I've loved taking care of my kids. At that point I was rediscovering my love of art, something I'd nurtured as a kid but had left behind a bit as an adult. As I worked on that I learned about surface pattern design and I fell in love with it and I thought, "I think I can do this. I think I want to do this."
So I'm doing it. Everything you see on this site is because I decided I wanted to try this. Maybe it's naive, maybe it's stupid, maybe it's too late to make a legitimate go of it (I pull those thoughts right out of my subconscious on a regular basis), but I'm doing it anyway. The quote above came across my Pinterest feed yesterday and I thought it fit the place I'm in rather perfectly. Because yesterday? It was the first day of my new job. The magic of new beginnings - I'm counting on it.