Sunday, May 8, 2011

Motherhood, Priceless

My thirteen year old son surprised me today. He decided to turn off all of his electronics for twenty four hours, then, proceeded to fold the laundry, clean his room, and wash the kitchen floor. “Tomorrow,” he says, “we will spend the day playing board games.”
I have been thinking a lot these days about what things are worth. It has been a while since I received a steady paycheck. I gave up my career to stay at home with my son.

Lately though, I have been focused on just how full my life really is, in spite of not bringing in large amounts of monetary income in the last decade, choosing instead to be home and work part-time jobs.
I have been reflecting upon work and worth. As it turns out, there are a lot of forms of work, and at least as many forms of payment. What I am learning is a job paying money is not always the most important form of work and money is not always the most important form of payment.
My very wise friend said to me recently, “It is what you don’t have Kellie that is important.” How clever of her to realize this and share it with me. 

 When my friend was growing up her parents both worked, leaving the house from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. She and her sisters had a lot of free time on their hands and because of this, wound up filling up the time in detrimental ways.  She reminded me that by being here every single day for my son when he leaves for school, and arrives home, there are hardships he will not have to endure.
I know there are things that have not happened because I am present. For now, because this is an important time in my son’s life, I am here.
There have been some adjustments because of this choice. I have not traveled as much as I would like to; I decided it was not prudent to get a master’s degree at this time. I drove my last car for a decade. All of this seems like a small price to pay to get to be present every day.
It was really hard leaving my career. I identified myself with it. I worked hard to get there and I loved every minute of it.  
Being at home has been a solitary existence at times, yet from this existence I began to create art, which I had not done since I was a young child. I started to follow my dreams, and I co-wrote a published a book on art and dreams.
I have learned to take care of myself. Since 2011 began, I have walked roughly 340 miles. Being able to set this time aside to do this for myself is worth a lot.
Soon it will be summer and I will spend leisurely mornings sipping lattes on the back porch and playing monopoly with my son. We won't be harried or rushed. We will read, have  picnics, and swim. Earning a paycheck is nice. Spending time at home with my son is priceless.