Monday, April 04, 2005

The grass is always greener

It's 7:30pm and both of my girls are tucked into their beds and sleeping and dreaming...So, I started thinking about a conversation that I had with my mom last night and I knew that I wanted to post about it but I am not sure what I want to say.

She had been in North Carolina this past weekend attending a wedding of a family friend, a wedding that I would have really liked to have gone to but the thought of driving 12 hours with both of the girls was a little too overwhelming. My friend Lorraine got married and she wore my veil *sniff*. At the wedding my mom ran into another friend of mine form way back in elementary school all the way until now. Natalie and I carpooled from 1st to 5th grade and our families are also friends. She attended Davidson and she is now graduating from Duke Law School. She is taking a job with a prestigious firm in Manhattan where she will be paid in excess of $200k. Good for her, she deserves it...she worked very hard and she is very bright and there is no doubt in my mind that she will be an excellent intellectual property attorney. My mom said that she looked beautiful and happy and just at the start of something, you know? That moment right before you jump in with two feet and you feel all terrified and exhilarated and alive?

Well, I miss that and I am jealous.

I will probably never have that kind of professional success. I will never live in a big city and wear designer clothes and eat at fancy trendy restaurants. I will never be able to just take a month "off" and travel to some exotic locale that I would never get to go to any other way. I will never need to have a mani/pedi every week to look put together...will I ever look put together again? I will never have a "power-lunch" or a "business-dinner." I will never live in a "loft." I will never have only myself to take care of and feed and clothe and keep clean.

My question is, would I really want all that? It's like one of those stupid movies where the main character wants what she doesn't have and she makes a wish by throwing a penny into a fountain or seeing a psychic or playing an arcade game, whatever, she makes this wish and when she wakes up the next morning her wish has come true and she lives that life only to find out that she really wants what she already had and now what can she do to get it back?

As I listened to my mom talk about all these exciting things in Natalie's life, I did envy all the new beginnings and anticipation she must feel. I am jealous of the feelings I think more than the actual life. And I started thinking about all the things that I no longer had a chance of being...like a lawyer, a doctor, a rockstar (although I do believe that this is still a possibility), and my mom said that if I really wanted it I could make it happen but I realized that it would not be without a lot of sacrificing...and I mean a lot. I think part of the problem is that I am a stay at home mom that is supported by her husband...how domestic, right? I feel the need to contribute and I feel like everything we have is not actually ours but his because he is the one who made the money to provide for all of this, right? I feel like a waste. I know, I know...it is a noble thing to be a mother, but why does it have to be one way or another? It just is not possible, in my opinion, to "have it all." You will always be sacrificing something whether it is your work, your relationship with your husband, or your relationship with your kids, or your family as a whole.

It's all about sacrifice. At this point in my life I am sacrificing my desire to accomplish something in a professional aspect. My world is my children and my family. I just have this urge, this need, like I am standing on the edge of it and I'm not sure where the bottom is or where I will land if I jump.

As I write this, I think about my girls sleeping upstairs. The little noises they make when they sleep, how they stir their little bodies under the covers, the sweet stillness and quietness of their souls. There is no way I would give up any of this...none of it...not even the hard parts, when I am up for the fourth or fifth time in one night with Finn and I know Piper will be up in an hour and I am exhausted. I would not give up their sweet smiles and the light in their faces and their chubby cheeks and the smell of the tops of their heads. I would not give up the times when Piper is caressing my face and my hair as her eyes grow heavy right before she goes to sleep. I would not give up seeing the way each girl, in their own way, bursts with excitement when they see their daddy come home from work. I would not give up the little songs that Piper sings to herself or when she reads a book while sitting in my lap. I would not give up the way Finn gazes up at me when she is nursing and the smile that cracks open her lips and her big, wide expectant eyes.

I read somewhere that it is not the day we remember but the moment. I would not give up these moments, these days. In my eyes, my life is full up to the top and overflowing with joy. I have made the choices that have placed me where I am today and I would not take back those choices. So, I may be jealous or envious of her life, but that's all it is and it's just surface...my core is solid. My heart is full.

3 comments:

Danielle Rodgers said...

Shannon, i just have to say that i totally feel the same way you do. Although i did live in a big city with a nice paying job...and i did really enjoy it...there is nothing like being a mom. And i often wonder what my life would be like if i had made other decisions...

But, like you, i wouldn't take anything back...especially my kids. They are the sunshine when it rains...

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Kari said...

This is my favorite post of yours, hands down.


Kari