My youngest daughter started a new school last week. It is
the second time in 8 weeks that she has started middle school. The only thing
worse than starting middle school once is starting it twice. In my recent blog
to the Instagram generation, which was directed to my daughters who will likely
never read it, I referenced the challenges of being in an IB middle school.
When I wrote that post, I didn’t know how much more challenging it would become
in such a short time. We escalated from “this isn’t going so smoothly” to “I’m
pulling her out” in less than two weeks.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my job. I’m a parent. I don’t get paid in conventional dollars. But I do get paid in something. Sometimes it feels like sentiment. Sometimes it feels like a sentence. But it’s a job, man.
I used to have a steady, good-paying job writing software manuals. And I was decent at it. There were stretches when it was a lot to handle. I can remember being assigned new projects writing about software I couldn’t use. And typically the people who programmed that software were too intellectual to explain it to me. Deadlines loomed. In those deadlines, I was known to become a tad overwhelmed.
But that was different than parenting. When I had a work project to learn and write up and edit and polish—and when the project felt borderline impossible—I could close the door to my office and spread all my papers out on my desk and pull up my emails on my screen and sit there until I figured it out. I can’t do that now. The difference in my former work and my parenting work is that my former projects were never out walking the streets while I was trying to figure them out and finish them up.
On September 11, 2001, I was 30. I had been a mom for only 3 1/2 months. It was Tuesday. And prior to that particular day, September 11’s only significance to me was the birthday of a very special little boy. This day was his 2nd birthday.
I can’t say I wasn’t warned about life someday with 4 kids.
I’ve had 2 in diapers at one time. I’ve had potty training fiascos that would
qualify for Dateline episodes. Maybe even get me my own reality show. For sure, people would have tuned in to watch
Kid #4 take me for a ride. I’ve had 4 different schools. But this year I have
something I’ve never had before.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So they say. I’ve seen some babies that I had to wonder about. We’ve all seen me from the 3rd grade on. Sometimes beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And sometimes beauty just is. Or isn’t.