Category Archives: career

The 5-year Plan: Where Do You Want to Be?

Paige peers through the trees, where, in 14 days she will be playing.  She wonders out loud, Will they like me?  Of course, I say.  But not as much as I like you…

Miles run this morning:  6.1 (no foot pain!)
Minutes I had to go back to bed this morning:  24
I’ve been messing with my blog as you can see from those page labels above.  They are going to help me focus instead of writing about hamsters.  Except maybe killing hamsters could go in the “motherhood” category.
Though I stayed up way too late watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics (rather bizarre in my opionion?), I set my alarm for an unthinkable hour.  Instead of the whining in my head, I kept Mo Farrah in my mind, crossing the line of the 10,000 meter race and all the hours of training it took for him to get to that moment.  Did you see that look on his face?  If all those amazing athletes can get up and train, then gosh darn it, I can drag my booty out of bed too.  I tossed and turned all night next to a tossing and turning 5-year-old in my bed who has swimmer’s ear (my diagnosis).  I still got up and was sad to see, the sun is not rising as early as it was last week.
In 7 weeks I want to run the New Hampshire half-marathon.  If I put myself into overdrive, can I be ready to run like Mo?  I have this constant desire to push, push, push myself forward, then being unsatisfied when I don’t have everything I want right now!  I want to feed the orphans around the world, write for Time, publish my book, qualify for Boston, have those twins.  Then the potty chair comes into focus, the dog runs away, and someone need to go to the doctor for swimmer’s ear.  No one can have everything right now!  And right now I like what I have.  I don’t dare wish this time away even as I vacillate between the future and the present.
Gregor and I are reading the book, What Color is Your Parachute?  It’s a fantastic book involving a worksheet in the shape of a flower with all its supporting petals.  The flower helps you focus on your end goal, identifying your strengths, and being able to articulate and write out the steps to reach your goal.  Who will be your mentor?  Who will be your network of support?  What exactly do you need to do to get to where you want to be? What are the specific steps you are going to take?
Have you worked on your flower? Gregor asks me every night.
I have been resistant.
I don’t have time.  I’m too busy to think about it.  I’m a mom right now and that’s all I want to think about.  Don’t bother me!  
In my mind I have this fuzzy idea of exactly what is going to happen in the next 5 years.  Everything will work out the way I see it.  Back up plan?  My mother always said I would be a fantastic gym teacher.  To which I scowl and say, It’s physical education instructor.  It was sad day when she was actually right, and that’s what I studied in college.  It does bring me back to my point of the page labels where I have added “running” and “healthy yum-yum.”  Focus on my strengths right?  I could have said “nutrition” or “recipes” but healthy yum-yum is focusing on my inner cheerleader, (something wanted but never attained – come on, those cute skirts??)
We are planning in other ways.  We have retirement funds, college funds, ten years of wheat in our basement.  We finally got life insurance last week from a former student of ours.  He asked me questions like What kind of birth control are you using?  Do you have any breast abnormalities?  Have you ever ridden in the rodeo?  Bungee jumping?  

Seriously.  If one of us keels over I hope it was worth the urine sample. 
Which brings me back to my 5 year plan.  It is exciting.  It is terrifying.  The roller coaster isn’t stopping so I may as well get on.  I reluctantly ordered the 2013 edition of Writer’s Market, which is a teensy weensy baby step in the right direction.  Even if I did it with my eyes closed and someone else pushed my finger down on the “order” button.  If that doesn’t work out, I could always teach your child how to throw the javelin.  Which is a class I actually had to take in college.  And was by far the worse and most comical thrower.

Here we go!



In six months I will be unemployed.

I knew this day would come, even though some days, it couldn’t come fast enough.  But now that it’s almost here I feel like yelling “WAIT!  I’m not ready yet!”  I don’t want to send out resumes.  I don’t want to “brush up on neglected skills.”  I already have the job I want.

I’ll need some severance pay.

I will definitely need counseling.

In six months my blue-eyed four-year-old, Paige, goes to school.

I know, it’s not like I quit being a mom just because my children are in school.  It can be a full-time job keeping a house running smoothy, even when the kids are in school.  There is always plenty to do.

I know I’m a bit too sentimental, someone who romanticizes the past far too easily, but I haven’t forgotten the hard days.  I clearly remember days of colic, throwing up, changing wet underwear every single hour, losing mittens, wet-wipes, all that snow gear, stumbling in the dark to find the darn pacifier, trying to  shower alone, my arm going numb from carrying a heavy child up the hill.  I used to wonder why I was so very tired.  I often thought, just let me lie down.  And then finally the baby started sleeping through the night and I began to feel somewhat normal again.

There were bad days, but there were a lot more good ones.  There were boring, slow days, but there were exciting, adventurous ones too.  There were tears and tantrums, but there were rocking chairs and thumb-sucking.  There were those big innocent eyes that told me there was no one else they loved so much.

I’m determined to enjoy these last few months with my last child at home all day.  We will have a grand time.  But I’m also thankful kindergarten is only three hours.  Thank you thank you thank you it’s only three hours.  I can do three hours…I used to dream of a quiet house and now I’m terrified of the feeling.

With each child before, that marched off to school, I was always so happy to see them jump off the little yellow school bus and run right back to me.  Three hours apart was plenty for the both of us.  And I know, we will both adjust.

I didn’t put Paige in a preschool mostly because I didn’t want her to leave.  You see, we have this ideal symbiotic relationship.  She likes me, I like her.  It’s quite perfect.  We do letters and reading.  We count.  We share.  We say please and thank you.  We do those great PBS Arthur puzzles and play the princess matching game until I can’t take it anymore.  We play games I don’t like (Hi-Ho Cheery-O!) and she sorts silverware because I ask.  We go for walks, play with others, put band-aids on baby dolls.  We cook muffins and fold laundry.  We lay in bed sick together.  We rarely argue.  And when we do she’s always the first to apologize.  Who needed preschool?

In fact, a certain person in the family (I don’t like to name names on this blog 🙂 insist it’s gone way too far, that someone is a wee bit too attached.  No matter where I’m sleeping Paige will find me.  If I’m in bed she will stand up, in the middle of the night, with her eyes closed and find me.  Then she snuggles up and all is well in her world.  She is so big now that it drives that other person in the bed nuts.  She is also a very crazy sleeper.  She flops to the right, flops to the left; it’s rare that her head stays on the pillow.  Usually it’s her feet next to my nose.  That other adult in the bed gets pushed to the side and then his back hurts.  If I fall asleep on the couch downstairs she will find me at some point during the night.  If I’m out the door early to run, and she wakes up, she cries until I come home.

I have not discouraged this co-sleeping arrangement.  Those poor older children were always put right back in bed after the age of 2:  You are too big. There isn’t room.  Because there was always another baby in the bed with mom.  They don’t appear traumatized.  Yes, this is how the youngest child becomes spoiled…mama just can’t apply the same rules because she doesn’t have to…

When I told Gregor that I was sad, and that my whole identity was being ripped right out from underneath me, he said, “Tell you what, now you can refocus all your energy on loving me…”

Well then.

I know, I know, I need to embrace this upcoming stage in life.  I will find my spot just as she will find hers.  I’m going to sieze the day and enjoy every single second in the right here and now.  I’m going to listen to Dr. Seuss – Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

I’m really going to try not to stop mid-stride when I see you outside on the playground, pushing your little girl on the swings.  I’ll try not to break down when you reach down to zip a coat or put a mitten on your little boy’s hand (I know, for the thirtieth time in an hour).  I may not carpe diem you out loud, but you betcha, I’m thinking it.  And if it happens to slip out, try to understand.  It’s just because I wish I was you.

Yes, I need severance pay.  In the form of a blue-eyed four year old little girl.