This is my crew. This is the group that makes every day worthy of a smile and a nod as I get up to search, bleary-eyed, for a cup of joe. I count every day with them a blessing because one day... all but Jeff will be gone. I need to enjoy each minute for what it has to offer because someday I'll look back with nostalgia even as I enjoy those future minutes. I don't need to continue (re-)living my "best" years from high school. Those minutes are gone. Here is where I need to be and where I make sure I am.
It was not always this way. I had to learn that lesson over a long time - not wasted time, because it did teach me the lessons I needed to know, but a long time...
When I was young, I joined the Navy, married, had Maestro, our first child, left the Navy and then... floundered. From my earliest memories, being in the military was all I had ever dreamed of doing. I wanted so badly to fly the F-16s. That part of my dream for life is the only part that did not come to pass.
What was to come after the military, I never gave much - any - thought to. I was going to stay in the military for 20 years, what did I need to think about? But I left the Navy when our oldest was 14 months old. In staying home with our son, at first, I was pretty miserable. I was lonely in that Georgia town; I stayed home with a 14-month old boy, pregnant with a second, and had no further aspirations than those that had already passed and been done with. My adventures were over at 23.
When our second son was four months old, we moved from Georgia to Maryland. The children, pets and I all went west to stay with my in-laws in Denver. Here is how that conversation went:
Me, talking to my father-in-law Jeff, who had always told us "if you ever need anything, just ask:"
Me: Hi, Jeff. You've always said if we need anything to just ask, and I know this may not be what you meant, but we're moving to Maryland and the kids and animals and I need a place to stay for a while until Jeffery (my husband) finds a house for all of us.
Jeff: Uh... Okay. How long are we talking about?
Me: I have no idea. We've never bought a house before, but I don't really think it will take longer than a month or two...
Now, I dearly love my husband's family. I am so blessed to be married into a family that I love and enjoy as much as my own birth-family, and my father-in-law and I get along very well, if I do say so myself. However, I'm preeetty suuure taking in his grown son's wife, two grandsons, three dogs (to which he is allergic), cat (also allergic), and six (at the time) birds was not quite what he meant when he said to just ask! My big, allergic, awesome father-in-law very nicely, and gamely said to come on out.
In the end, we stayed with him for about three months (Sept. - Thanksgiving) and Jeff found us a house. We stayed with my mom for the month of December until the New Year and then flew out to Maryland. In spite of being technically in a big city (Baltimore), the neighborhood is a throwback to the 1950's. There is an active Neighborhood Watch, there a lots of children on our street and the next one over who are very well behaved, the families get together for block parties and bar-b-ques - we just generally all get along well in spite of political differences, religious differences, etc. In short, it's a great place to bring our children through their formative years.
But what did that mean for me? I still had no real aspirations or goals. I was drifting. I was determined not to stay miserable in our new home. In the seven years since then, we've lost all but two dogs and the cat remaining, the rest all passed on; we have four children now - three boys and a girl, and life is a swiftly flowing river, to borrow a phrase. I've tried various work-from-home ideas: mystery shopping, direct sales, etc. Each of those lasted about two years (including one direct sales thing I did in Georgia) and each of those reconfirmed that I am not a born sales(wo)man! The one job I have kept working at, albeit slowly is the memorial book company I started when Jeff was gone for a stretch. The project I have been working on for that company is another blog post - but not for now.
The point to all of this is that there has to be a "next" - what comes after all the goals you've set for yourself have been met? What is your next goal? What are you reaching for? What are you hoping/dreaming/wishing will happen in your lifetime?
The question that should follow next is what are you doing - or going to do - to make those goals and dreams realities? The answer should never be a heavy sigh, rolled eyes or an admission of defeat. Think about your "self talk" - those words you say to yourself that affirm what is great about you, and what you are capable of - or those little nasty thoughts that come out that slow you down and make life dreary. If you are doing nothing to get to your goals, letting self talk destroy your dreams and who you are deep down, or if you're not even setting goals, then you've sold yourself short; you've given up on using the wonderful talents God gave you; you've squandered that which you were meant, and made, to share with others.
I firmly and truly believe two things: 1) there is a job out there for each and every person who wants one that will be pleasing to that person - I have known several men who worked at the local garbage dump and truly loved going to work each day. THAT is what I'm getting at with number one. 2) Ten percent of the people in our population (so I read years and years ago) work in jobs that they love - L.O.V.E - be one of the 10%. Life is too short to remain part of the back 90%. Every day that you get up, you should smile because you're getting ready to go to work and you love it.
With my children around me to wish me good morning every day, with the home schooling, baking, crocheting, photography and writing I get to do each day - when my feet hit the floor I am ready ... for a cup of coffee...
Oh wait... for work! Yes! Ready for... zzzzz... cooofffeee... WORK and the excitement that being a stay-at-home-mom provides each day while I watch my children grow, learn and shine. There is no better place to be. We have goals we're working on, and that is in part II of this post, but I can honestly say that I have a charmed life. Whether we're up or down as a family, whatever is going on, I am at peace with where I am in life. I am happy knowing that even when I don't get my way, there is a reason and better is always just a step around the next corner. Now on to the goals and achieving them - found in part II...