On July 4th, 1998, I found out I was pregnant. My period was a couple of days late and there was a huge jug of vodka and cranberry waiting at a party with my name on it. Late periods and vodka don’t mix, so I took a test. Don’t worry, friends don’t let friends’ liquor go to waste.
My husband and I had closed on, and began to renovate, our first house in February, 1998. We got a puppy in May and the pregnancy news came just before our first anniversary that August.
At the time, we both had great jobs. We both worked together for a successful local business. It was a mom and pop corporation…big responsibilities with a family atmosphere. It was intense work, but I enjoyed it.
Just before Christmas that year, my pregnant self said goodbye to my co-workers for an extended holiday vacation. I never came back to work. Our daughter was born 10 weeks early on December 29th.
One preemie led to two and that second one? Well, he came complete with problems galore. I stopped working in the corporate world and, instead, became a nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist and occasional Heimlich provider. I walked around with a phone attached to my ear listening to a permanent loop of health insurance voice systems.
Two years ago, when my son was in Kindergarten, I was offered a unique opportunity to work at the school as a teacher’s aide during the hours he attended. It worked out great. And last year, when he was at school all day and eating in the cafeteria for the first time, I became a lunch lady. That Heimlich thing? Well, it doesn’t always work if you’re not there to do it.
But, now my son is going into the second grade. He has made advances we never thought possible, one of which is clearing food from his mouth before he chokes on it. My daughter will be in middle school and my mom recently moved back to our neighborhood after many years away. Clearly, I’m running out of reasons to hang out with my children all day.
As much as I would love to be a housewife, take care of my home and laundry, plan meals and otherwise be organized instead of chaotic all the time, those things don’t pay the bills.
We have been struggling for a long time. My car is 13 years old and sometimes the doors don’t open and the horn doesn’t work, which totally gets in the way of me telling people what bad drivers they are.
Our washer and dryer are not long for this world, our computers are starting to implode and the stove is like a hormonal woman and only cooks when it wants to.
I have committed to the school until 2011. Basically, I have a year. I have a year to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I am almost 40 and though I’m not afraid to go back to school, I just don’t know what I want to do when I get there.
I want to write, I want to design, I want to be creative. I want to be passionate about something in the way I have been passionate about my children. I want to be fulfilled.
I also want to pay the bills and I just don’t know if the two go hand in hand.