This past week, something for my daughter arrived here in the mail. Though she's basically on her own, as a student who may move at any time, she still lists her permanent address as here for some things. This piece of mail was an invitation to her convocation, which is October 26, 2012. On that date, she will be officially graduating with her Master's Degree in English. She just started her PhD studies this past fall. In the past few weeks as she has shared with me the things she is doing, I have said more than once, "You're living my dream."
We all have aspirations and hopes. When it came to a "profession," so to speak, writing was the one thing I always returned to, and I did have aspirations to work in that capacity by pursuing graduate studies. It was my dream. Not the possessive there? My dream. It was not God's dream. How do I know that? Because once I had my children, the struggle to balance those two dreams (I also wanted to have children) began to pull at me, and the children always won out. There were moments when I would say, "When the kids are older, I will ..." It never happened. Enter becoming an autodidact rather than a professor.
I am so thrilled for my daughter that she is doing this. I am not envious or trying to live vicariously through her. I'm just so happy that she is doing something she really enjoys, and that she's got the determination and work ethic to finish this task. It is the same determination that I had (and still have) when it came to raising up my family.
At this phase of life, when the kids are more independent, and there is more time for self-evaluation (which can very easily lead to negative introspection), it could be tempting to think, "what could have been," especially as I see what my daughter is doing. We all have regrets about things done and not done. Reflecting too long on those things is entirely unproductive, but we all have them.
I stayed home with my children and made them my focus. I homeschooled them for eight years. I nurtured their talents, taught them God's Word; they were my focus of ministry. And yet, there are time when I have regrets that I didn't spend more time with them. That may sound like a contradiction, but it's true. Despite all of that time, I wish there had been more. How much worse would my regret be if I had not been at home full time with them? My vocation was not to be a working mother; it was to be a mother at home. When we work within our vocation, things just go so much more smoothly.
Yesterday, a young mother at my church brought her two year old boy here for me to babysit while she and her year old daughter went for a doctor's check up. I asked them to stay for lunch after their arrival. When she returned, it turned out that there were some other matters she needed to attend to, and she asked if I would keep both of them for a while after lunch. I said yes, and at one point, I found myself in my living room, in the wing chair, with two little people on my lap reading Green Eggs and Ham. Oh, what sweet deja vu. It only lasted a while, because the younger one had enough after about six pages, but it was a sweet moment nonetheless. I had been available to help a mother who needed it, and I had the bliss of little ones on my lap with a book. It doesn't get much better than that.
This is why I'm not a professor today. It's so I can serve God in this vocation of being at home. I didn't know that was why God was directing me that way, but I see it now. When I feel a pull for wanting to be that professor type person, it doesn't last long. I have my books and my little space to learn here in my home. And I have opportunities for sweet moments like yesterday.
God really does know what He is doing.