Believing takes practice.
~ Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
When I was pregnant, and we decided that we would see how long we could make the single income thing work so I could stay home with the baby, I was woefully unprepared for the influx of emotional ranges I would experience as time went on. In the beginning, I felt an acute sense of fear when I tried to navigate the subtleties of a life outside the professional one I'd come to associate myself with. There were certainly days filled with quiet yearning for the person I was leaving behind, while knowing all the while that this was also the most meaningful, dynamic, extreme and intensely powerful role I would ever play. It was a risky gamble in those early days, as I discovered the fine line between apprehension and fear...fear that I may have reached the totality of what I would be outside the roles of wife and mother, and that there may be nothing else to beckon after this.
The notion of being a stay at home mom once posessed a sort of provocative charm. That notion has now become a permanent hiatus in my career, skewing wildly against the imagined and predicted future I once held within myself. There have been compromises and reconciliations with what I thought to be my future...and a precise awareness that those truths with which I once defined myself are peculiar at best. I often find myself maintaining the resolve of my obligations and allegiances towards the path I've chosen, feeling at times as though I have no choice but to remain fiercely loyal in my commitment.
While I had reached a point in my career that there was never a time of feeling truly in love with that work, and it felt more like an expected role to be played, it was nevertheless the definition for a time...and one that seems to be slipping further and further away. The acute fear has lessened, and in its place is a sort of ache, a throbbing annoyance much like that of a sore limb. At times it feels as though I'm operating in a ballet of sorts, one in which I have learned when to pirouette away and when to spin in again. In those times, I can imagine myself on that stage, trying to locate a familiar face in the crowd and finding only the darkness caused by a blinding spotlight.
It is dramatically daunting, at best, to try to categorize myself in such a way that the question of "what do you do?" does not paralyze me with trepidation and an inability to form a cognitive response. While I'm fully aware that the role I'm currently filling is likely the most important one I'll ever find, and that the benefits not only for myself but for my family far outweigh any selfish or intrinsic need to be "more", there are just times that it's hard to believe that to be true. The belief that one day this will all make sense, will all fall into place and become neatly compartmentalized, eludes me at times...and yet I know in order to maintain some semblance of sanity, I have to continue to believe it. Because if not for that belief, what else is there?