Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The decades old debate

I expected that having a baby would change any feelings I had about staying at home versus going back to work. What I didn't expect was that it would leave me even more conflicted.

Now I understand with my heart as well as my head why some parents don't want to return to work. I completely understand not wanting to leave your children if you have a choice. I understand enjoying being with your baby so much that you don't want to miss one single second. I believe that many feel more fulfilled in caring for their children than they ever did at their day job. I agree that caring for your children is as trying, demanding and draining (if not more so) than a typical job. I am painfully aware that child care costs can be hard to justify. As expected, I have an even deeper understanding, empathy and desire to support those who stay at home. I get it. I do.


I also see that working outside the home can bring a much needed balance to one's life. I get that adult interaction can be sorely missed. I understand wanting to feel like your own person, apart from your child, for a few hours a day. I understand wanting to perform and excel and be challenged professionally. I can imagine that many must miss their jobs, their coworkers, their office. I understand craving a regular schedule - `to get up each morning, shower and get dressed. I know full well how weekends aren't really weekends unless they are different than work days. I understand, empathize and fully relate to those who choose to go back to work. I will always have their back. I get it. I do.

So I was right. Having a kid of my own did change how I feel about the whole thing. Except I still don't have any answers.

If I had a job to go back to, I know what I would do. What would be best for me. But I don't. And I stay at home. For now. And perhaps for longer. Until the perfect job lands at my feet. And I love it and hate it. I'm busy and bored and challenged and fulfilled and lonely and content and unhappy all at once. I cherish every moment I have been given with her and yet I desperately long for some space. I want to get a job and yet I don't ever want to give this up.

It doesn't make much sense.

And there is no right answer.

At least not for me.

The tornadoes and the flood

A year ago we got news that mom was in the hospital and that they were running tests. They didn't know what they were looking for.

A year ago we got news that they found cancer on her liver. Metastatic.

A year ago we were hit with a tornado.

Suddenly, completely and without warning. The pain was violent.

We reeled. We reached out to each other. We hung on for dear life. We reeled some more.

Then there was a lull in the storm and we started to hope. It looked like it probably wasn't cancer after all. We waited for results. Tentatively, we hoped.

A second tornado hit. Absolute in its devastation.

We were wrong. It was cancer.

The pain was violent.

We held each other up. Taking turns being strong and being scared. We cried together and hoped together. We read and researched and clung to every encouraging word we could find. We waded through the uncertainty and sought desperately for answers and found very few. My sisters gave birth to their babies, I took care of mine, and together we rejoiced in what we could.

We mustered up all the strength we had. We have a lot.

Two tornadoes.

Now a flood.

The waters are slowly rising and we can see them approaching. It's terrifying. But we have been given time. Time to save what's most important. Time to evaluate. Time to act.

Time to fight.

So we're building up walls. Calling in reinforcements. The best doctors, the most cutting edge treatments. Blessing upon blessing.

Progress, research, hope.

And prayers. We're building a fortress on the prayers of the hundreds - no thousands - who are lifting mom up in prayer.

The rising waters are a formidable foe indeed, but we've been given time and we're fighting the fight. A fight we're going to win.

The news hit us like a tornado.

Now we're dealing with a flood.