A time to blog, a time to refrain from blogging. . .
Those may not be the exact words of The Teacher in Ecclesiastes, but I have a feeling he would approve. For the last little bit of life, I’ve felt it was much more important to focus on doing than on pondering or pontificating. Blogs used to be a great way to catch people up with what was happening in life, but now we all seem to live our lives on Facebook or Instagram, so using a blog to share life events seems a little unnecessary. I’ve been managing life. Living day to day and somehow managing to (mostly) get done what needed to be done that day. I’ve felt no wisdom to espouse or truths to unpack so writing in a semi-public venue seemed unnecessary.
So the quiet began
Then sat down and decided to stay awhile.
Today I feel restless . . . I feel a need to process. Two parts of my life have collided and sorting it out is taking a lot of me. Yesterday, Bayard James Thornburley entered the world after his beautiful mama spent hours and hours in labor. We had already planned for me to come on Saturday. The plane ticket has been purchased for a long time. The days off from work have been requested. For a couple of months, I’ve been reminding myself that most first babies are born at least a week late and that he would most likely be born after I got there.
But that isn’t how it happened.
My beautiful girl had her first baby — the first in the next generation of family — and I wasn’t there. And I won’t be there until Saturday.
Responsible worker me knows this is the way it needs to be.
Mom me is silently dying and pushing tears down throughout the day.
I get it. This is their time. They need this time. I needed time without other people after my babies were born. they have people. They are being cared for beautifully, I have no doubt.
But my baby had a baby and I couldn’t be there because I was at work.
Being a working mom/professional type anything was never on my list of things to do. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking or talking about that because there’s not much point to it. I have to work. For a variety of reasons, I have to have a job and I have to have this job. There are wonderful people in my life because of this job. My children have been fed and clothed and had braces and medicine and education because of this job. I was able to help with my mom’s final months on this earth because of this job.
But today my heart is breaking because of this job.
Trying to make peace with these two different aspects of life has been hard for a long time. I thought I had found a balance, but today I feel very unbalanced about it all. I am resentful.
The resentment wanders down many roads. Roads that journey to the past and the financial insecurity that forced my decision to pursue full time, professional work. Roads that are paved with student loan bills, high priced health care, and a society’s lip-only service to family values. It’s also on the billboards that line my current travel and remind me the decreased flexibility with my work time that has happened over the last few years.
I was in a meeting yesterday and part of what we did was work through Simon Sinek’s Find Your Why process of writing a why statement. Not a mission statement or a vision board, but a why statement. Why do we do what we do? Not why do work where we work, but what are our core values that get us out of bed in the morning and give purpose to our days, whether they are with family or work or community.
The American culture is neither equal nor balanced when it comes to work, especially the combination of work and family. We are a culture who throws around terms like “family values,” and “community,” but has no structure in place to support either of those ideas.
And today, much more than other days, I resent that.