I’m not a fan of surprises (temperament type INTJ on Myers-Briggs). I like to know what’s coming, so I can anticipate or plan for the worst. I don’t deal well with uncertainty. (Ha! Welcome to parenthood. And life.)
But I’ve been wonderfully surprised by a few things in life, particularly mercy.
The other morning, I was wrestling with my oldest son. He’s nine, and so far, he seems to have inherited all of my worst qualities. In the mornings, when we’re both sluggish and irritable, we’re neither of us at our best. The day before, I’d sent him to school while we were both still fuming—and spent the rest of the day thinking, what if something happens to him and our last words were angry ones?
I resolved to do better. And I did okay, until he shouted at his sister and squeezed her until she retreated, crying, to her room.
What were you thinking? I asked him.
He snarled at me, which didn’t help my temper. I sent him to his room to finish getting ready, thinking of all the things I wanted to say: what is wrong with you? Is this really the person you want to be? If you keep this up, you won’t have any friends.
But something stopped me. In fact, I had the distinct impression that what my unlovable child needed most was love. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago I applied for a job, and instead of writing my usual formal letter I sent this:
Dear Recruit Recruitment,
A phrase I heard throughout my childhood was “Let me see what you are saying”. My Mum would say it while driving, in the kitchen, a thousand different places, because if she couldn’t see my mouth she couldn’t read my lips. My Mum is talented, stubborn, funny, a soft-hearted and loud Rugby loving woman, who is practically deaf. So when I saw the advertisement for centre staff to empower people who are deaf, I was excited!
I surprised myself in writing that way, let alone deciding to send it in as my application. I was amazed to have even found the advert – every other day for weeks I’d been typing in “forklift”, “warehousing” and “admin”, but had typed in “deaf” that time, tickled by a flutter in the back corridors of my mind, and this was the only search result. I knew I was perfect for the position, and I had dancing-in-my-seat excitement just typing the letter. Nothing like the feeling I’d had looking through job searches based on the word “forklift”. Continue reading
When I told people that I was taking my children to Hawaii for the week of Christmas, reactions ranged from admiration to disbelief to jealousy. I generally tried to temper things with the caveat that my children’s father grew up in Hawaii, so we would be visiting family and friends, and that trips to Hawaii have always been a somewhat regular part of our family life. We hadn’t been over there for three years, and a trip to Hawaii seemed like a better family Christmas gift than more physical objects that would just clutter up the house. I spent a year saving and planning, but still felt a bit of guilt at the extravagance of such a vacation up until the moment our plane landed in Honolulu and we walked out into the warm, tropical air. Continue reading
Each new year I have a cluster of friends who choose a word. A word they will focus on for the upcoming year.
I first noticed this trend when I was in the throes of babies by the double. People I admired were choosing words like see, lift, simplify, breathe, accept. I loved their words. I wanted one. But the only word I could think of then was survive. And the drowning, muffled ring of it didn’t set right. So that was that.
Two years later, I considered it again, but my brain had no space for it. It felt like one more thing. As 2015 bobbed in, however, I watched my five children toss balloons and blow streamers, and thought, maybe this is the year.
Maybe I should choose… a word.
My long-time friend and young women’s leader, Cristie, always chooses a word. She is a radiant, happy woman who still drops by with an unexpected gift, cares about staying in touch, and lives a consecrated, joyful life. Twenty years ago, she let me sit on her bed late at night and talk with her (and her husband) about big life decisions, boys, marriage. This year she made a number of darling bracelets for her daughters and friends who chose words.
Just before January she posted her word. It was listen. And with it she posed a question. What will your word be?
I thought about it for a week. I tried on words others were using. I tried being original. I tried being deep. I tried and tried and tried, but nothing fit or felt right. I needed so many words. Yet no single word seemed to possess in its meaning the salve I searched for. Continue reading
I’m looking for advice here: how do women work while still raising a family? Is it possible to have a dual income family without a nanny? If you are a working woman, how do you do it? I realize it’s typical to place questions at the end of a post, but my mind is churning and I thought I would get yours started as well.
As a mid-twenties MBA candidate, I am entrenched in studying corporate America and figuring out where I fit in the grand machine. Or, to put it more precisely, figuring out where my family fits in the grand machine. With my family currently comprising of just my husband and myself, the question is fairly straightforward. My concern is with how the answer will change when we eventually expand. I grew up with a “traditional” family: a working father and a stay-at-home mother. (I use the word “traditional” with reservation–I realize that there is no standard mold for a family and what might be thought of as typical for me may actually be far from the norm.) I loved having my mom around while I was young. However, I am not sure if her path is necessarily the one I want to take. To figure out what options will work best for my family, I have combed online articles, sought the advice of female business professionals, and talked at length with my husband.