Since having Mitchell, I find myself pondering things I never before considered. Some of these are trivial things, like wondering at what point I became ok with just wiping poop off my arm and continuing to change the diaper. Others are slightly more serious, like who I would choose to raise Mitchell if Justin and I were gone.
One thing has been bothering me for the last couple of months, though, and I find myself revisiting the train of thought repeatedly. Mitchell is, in general, a very happy baby. I noticed, though, that part of his happiness stems from his unwillingness to accept things that bother him. If something isn’t just how he wants it, he changes it (or fusses until someone else changes it). At what point do we, as adults, lose that trait? And is it a bad thing that we become willing to accept the status quo, even if it bothers us?
I certainly understand that a fair amount of accommodation is necessary to survive in life. And I’ve always prided myself on my ability to accept the things I cannot change and just move on. But at what point do we stop and say, “No, I’m not happy with this direction. Time to change.” And, more importantly, and what point do we DO something about it?
And so I started small: the lack of color in my living room had always annoyed me, and so I recovered some pillows. Voila, I felt better about my living room. This spurred me to aim higher: we’d been talking about a vegetable garden for months, so one weekend we went to Home Depot and, by goodness, the next day we had three great-looking raised vegetable beds (the beds themselves look great; unfortunately, my black thumb took effect on the vegetables themselves).
Little by little, I started DOING the things that I had been TALKING about doing for months, even years. All the little things that I may not have even noticed were irking me began to disappear. I felt so much better accomplishing these little things that I began thinking about the larger things that weren’t going according to plan. It didn’t come as a surprise to me that, when thinking along these lines, the most glaring issue was spending time with Mitchell. From a very young age, being the primary caregiver to my child has been my goal. I always thought that would happen. While the pain of leaving Mitchell every day had eased somewhat, I still felt like an outsider in his care from day to day. And so I started discussing options with Justin. Bless his heart, he’s my rock. Watching me struggle has been harder on him than me. And so we came to a decision:
I’m leaving work.
My last day at work will be June 7th. I will be entering graduate school on June 3rd.
As with everything in life, there’s more to this story. These soul-searching moments were brought on by many factors, not just my desire to stay home with Mitchell. But here’s what I’ve decided, after watching my baby’s outlook on life:
1. I will be happy, regardless of how many alterations I have to make to the status quo.
2. If someone or something doesn’t make me happy, I can either change it or move on.
I am an equal amount of excited and terrified at this next step in my life. The prospect of failure absolutely terrifies me. I’ve been given the opportunity to satisfy two dreams at once: staying home with my son and attending graduate school (distance education). What happens if I fail? But, once again, I only have to look to my son for my answer: if I fail, I’ll just get back up and try again. He obviously wasn’t born crawling. He failed countless times before he finally got the hang of it. And now that he’s attempting to walk, he falls constantly. But he gets back up every single time and approaches it anew. He isn’t embarrassed by his failure, he just accepts it and moves on.
Who knew I’d learn so many life lessons from my son before he’s even a year old?