When my boys imagine the future--the careers they will have, the places they will go--I'm sure they don't imagine the kind of days I've had at my job the past few weeks. Thanks to my boss "loaning" me to another department for "some help" with a project, I've been working with OT drive during regular hours, trying to balance priority deadlines of the project with those of my "normal" job.
Today the project officially wrapped up--until next week, when changes will undoubtedly need to be made, and I will once again have 11th hour requests thrown my way.
Believe me, I'm happy to be gainfully employed by a decent company. I have flexible hours, an acceptable salary, and some pretty awesome coworkers. But when I listen to my boys talk about the grand plans they have for the future, I'm pretty certain they don't have admin detail in mind. I know I didn't when I was eight years old and thought I was going to write for a living. (Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...)
I suppose I could quit my job, go for the gold, and hope to be published. Or I could make an actual effort to create more time for writing. Or I could just do what I like doing best: Be mom. Get crafty. Enjoy the outdoors. And sometimes write about it all here in this decidedly low-profile space.
What my kids will grow up to accomplish is a story that is currently writing itself. I love to listen to their ideas about what's in store for them. Nolan claims he really, really, really wants to be a police officer--or FBI agent. I'm not entirely certain if donuts are the primary motivator here, but I have a hunch. Regardless, he likes to run around practicing Tae Kwon Do moves and telling random family members and friends to "freeze" while he points sticks--I'm sorry, pistols--at us.
And while it's a bit cliche for American boys to dream of being a major league ball player someday, it's not something with which I will argue. Nolan and Sean don't actually talk about joining the big leages, but they do love baseball. Nolan, especially, can usually be found outside these days, tossing the ball up in the air and catching it in his glove. When he's not tossing up a baseball, he's practicing catching with his lacrosse stick. And more recently, he's been spending a lot of time under the basketball net in the driveway, shooting hoops and even sinking shots--when he's not practicing his dog-whispering skills and drawing.
Sean is no less interested in sports. He adores baseball, and he loves to play catch with me, Ian, or his brother in the back yard or up at the school yard not far from our home. He is really into riding his BMX bike, and he loves shooting hoops, playing tennis, swimming, and running. This summer, though, while his brother dribbles the basketball (zang, zang, zang, zang) in the driveway, Sean can frequently be found lying on his bed inspecting the engineering of his latest Lego airship creation, or trudging around the yard observing bugs and birds. Sean, much like his younger brother, is fascinated by the natural world. And he's intent on designing fighter jets someday and flying them in the Air Force. It honestly wouldn't surprise me one bit if he grew up to do just that. He's "that" kind of kid. I honestly think he really does know what he wants to do, and he's going to work hard toward it. And if he changes his mind, I'm sure he'll choose something equally challenging and awesome.
My boys' lives are theirs, not mine. Their dreams are theirs, not something through which I will live vicariously. Whatever career paths they choose someday, I will love and support them as always. But for now, they are simply children, tossing balls, inventing things, and dreaming. They don't need to know about the long dull days of project assistance that might cross their desks some day. As long as I raise them to do their best, be good to others, have a good attitude, and see the big picture in life, they'll do well at anything they choose. I really believe that.
As for me, it's time to schedule that Praxis exam for September and begin in earnest the process of applying to graduate school for my masters in special ed. I was at Target tonight, wistfully looking at teachers' back-to-school supplies. Teaching is something I am drawn to. It's creative. It's productive. It's paying good things forward. It, too, will have dull and frustrating days, no doubt. But at the end of the day, I will walk out of the classroom with a good understanding of how my efforts impact the world. I will be inspired to do better on days that don't go well. Right now, I'm not certain how my current efforts impact anything, except the wallets of a few executives. And bad days aren't exactly inspiring me toward anything except out of corporate America.
If I encourage my children to pursue their dreams and believe that anything is possible for themselves, while nudging them to give back to others along the way, shouldn't I walk that walk I'm talkin' about? It's never too late to be what you might have been, right?
This mom can sink baskets and catch pop-flies too, you know.