Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Everything else can wait

Last week I found myself at a monthly gathering of women. It's mostly social, but the women on the invitation list are all very politically and community minded. I haven't been since I quit my job as director of a local non-profit. For some reason, I decided it was time to go back last week.

I baked my brownies to take, prepared dinner, and made sure that Kevin had everything he needed for Little Bird and himself before I left. Kevin was going to feed and bathe Bird and then I would be home to nurse and rock him to sleep.

When I arrived, I found the friend who I knew would be there. Getting to catch up with her for a few minutes was the deciding factor in my attendance in the first place. However, I didn't want to monopolize her entire evening, so after catching up for a few minutes, we moved on to join some other conversations.

After the common pleasantries regarding the wine, the food, and the view from the amazing downtown condo, the next question was always, "What do you do?"

I would answer, "I have a one year old. I stay at home with him."

Crickets chirping.




It is just the conversation stopper I had heard it would be.

Looking back on it, I could have said, "I'm a musician," or even "I'm a writer." Both are true, even if they aren't full-time work for me right now.

But the truth is, I do stay at home with my son. I am a mother first, and everything else comes after that. It was my natural reaction to answer that what I did was to be a mama.

The conversations didn't stop long. I was perfectly fine asking them about their jobs, talking about the economy, and even slipping back into conversations about the grants process and the state of arts funding in our community with a city councilwoman. Talking about what I used to do came naturally, and fit in with the evening, so I did it.

I don't want to only talk about what I used to do though, and on the way home, I thought it might be time for me to think about getting back into non-profit work. Maybe look into doing a little lobbying. I got excited driving home with possibilities of working for the community once again playing through my head.

As I walked through the front door, I had my mouth open, about to call out for Kevin. Before I could get a sound out, He came running on tiptoe down the stairs. Without the baby.

"Shhhhhhhhhh!" he said. "I've just gotten him to sleep."

All of the swirling thoughts that were spinning in my head dropped like anvils, and I started to cry. No rocking. No nursing. No Mama. He just went to sleep without me for the first time.

I realized right then that there was no job I could do that would be more important to me than being here for all the little things. Nothing that I could accomplish out there that would make me feel more fulfilled than to spend as much time with my son as possible right here.

Everything else can wait.