Not too long after we got Shepherd home, I began to have this nagging feeling that I needed to do something. It’s hard to explain, but I felt like I had been given this incredible gift, and people had been so overwhelmingly kind and supportive towards our family that I believed I needed to pay it back somehow. I also felt (and still feel) that I became a different person than I was through this experience, so I needed to figure out who that new person was and what she wanted to do with this path she’d been set on.
Ten months ago, before we moved from Dallas, I was enrolled to go back to school. Slowly. One class at a time, while the littles were still little. Erron and I had agreed that once both kids were in school, I would return to work in some form, and I was not willing to return in the form of a teacher. I was looking at all kinds of options. Dental Hygiene, Speech Therapist, Physical Therapist Assistant. The goal was a job that helped people, but didn’t stick to me when I came home like teaching did, and paid enough to make working part time worthwhile. We moved back to Oklahoma, but even then, I was committed. I reached out to all my friends in all these professions and asked all my questions. I called schools in Oklahoma. I researched saleries. I was going to give myself a year to get our family settled and then I was going to begin looking for classes to take. I love, loooove being a full time mom. It’s my dream job. But I was excited at the idea of learning how to do something new, having some type of outlet, and let’s be honest…. I was excited to someday have enough money to buy pretty shoes whenever I wanted and maybe even go on some trips that required an airplane ticket.
Then Shepherd fell in the pool.
And now, I don’t know what to do. Erron and I feel strongly that right now, my role is here. Fully at home with our kids without any unnecessary distractions. I am so thankful that we agree on this, and that we can swing it. I don’t want to be anywhere else. I can enjoy Shepherd and Charlotte to the fullest while keeping a close eye on little man. His changes are subtle since the accident, but they are there, and I can identify them, deal with them, and seek outside help for Shep easliy because I am home, with a flexible schedule. I know there are moms out there in my position who are doing what I’m doing while also working full time jobs and they are super moms. I’d do it if I had to, but knowing me, it wouldn’t be pretty.
All that to say, I still wrestle with that feeling of needing to do something… to payback this gift, to make something out of what happened to our family. I think that’s part of why I keep writing about our journey. Because for now, it’s all I know how to do. I ‘d heard of other moms with this experience who became advocates for pool safety. I think this awesome, but I dismissed that idea immediately. Too many difficult emotions associated with that for me. Then I thought I’d found the perfect solution with CPR. I could become an instructor! I would host CPR house parties! I’d lure them in with food and wine and I’d teach every parent I know CPR!! But when I chased that idea down, I learned that most people who instruct are somehow in the medical field by day, and becoming an instructor was very hard to do if that was not your route in. (I’m so grateful for CPR though, that I’m still going to host that party in the spring, but someone else will lead it.)
My sweet counselor keeps me in check. She reminds me that A: I am not in control and it will figure itself out. And, B: I’m doing what I need to be doing right now, it’s still fresh, and my greatest role is being Shep and Char’s mom. I’ve finally realized I don’t really care what my future job is. And there’s not really a need to plan it all out, because even though we’ve been working together for 31 years, Life still hasn’t figured out how to perfectly follow my instructions. So, I give.
It’s kind of exciting to not have a plan. This is unchartered territory for me.
I’m all about being prepared. But there are some things you can’t be ready for no matter how hard you try. Plus I’m getting the sense that the master plan is not mine to write, and it’s a lot more interesting if I hand over the pen.