In 5th grade, I was published in a book of short poems written by children. I’ve never seen the book on shelves, and I’m not sure that I still even own the book, but somewhere there exists a poem about Halloween with my name under the title. Given my childhood terror of the pagan holiday, I suppose one could read it as a sort of defiance of fear, a testimony of bravery, or an allegory concerning society’s obsession with tragedy… But it’s really just a crappy poem.
It’s still the only thing I’ve ever had published, though, and it was the beginning of my love of writing.
In September, I’ll start my student teaching, which I’ve delayed for 2 years on account of money and motherhood. I’m also running a marathon (!) for the first (only) time. As excited as I am for the experience, the excitement is intermingled with guilt on the part of my family. Running takes my time and energy away from my son, husband, and dirty home. Teaching will require putting Brady into full-time childcare, which will require more money. Which I won’t be making. I’m forced to ask myself repeatedly: What is important? What do you really want?
The past few months have drawn me away from my blog and closer to my son, who continually grows more acutely observant of every. single. thing. we. do. We’ve witnessed him throwing papers into the trash, trying to read Atlas Shrugged, fitting his feet into my red heels, repeating words we really didn’t mean him to hear. It terrifies me how well he parrots our actions. I have been bringing him into his future daycare occasionally to play with the other small people and meet his teachers, watching his tiny blue eyes linger on the trucks around the room, widen at toddlers throwing bean bags, and stare with intent at the mess of macaroni on a small table. He usually clings to my knee as he hesitates to join the chaos, and I can’t help but question, again, What is important?
I keep answering to myself, My family. However, I think that a critical element to a family is having strong, motivated people to lead it. I am a mother and a wife. But I’m also a person– a dynamic, freethinking individual with passions and talents. I believe I exist for God’s glory; I believe I exist for serving other people of the world. Poor Brady has the misfortune of inheriting my flaws through observation, but by living my life fully, I can teach him something valuable. I want to show my son the importance of sharing your abilities with others to make the world a better place, even if it’s only for one person at a time. I believe I can do that through teaching. I want to show my son that he can accomplish anything his attitude will permit him accomplish, even something crazy, like running 26.2 miles. I want to show him that if he is passionate about something, it won’t matter if his only claim to fame is dorky Halloween poetry- his passion is always worth pursuit. I want to show my son that I love him more than I could ever write, that chasing my dreams teaches me to be a better mother to him, a more selfless wife to his father, and a stronger leader for our family.
Although Brady may only look at me as his silly mom who teaches little kids, writes blog posts about her feelings, runs without being chased, and obsesses over whether her peanut butter has added sugar, I hope that being me will benefit him in the long run.