I went to a concert with my mom and my girl the other night. At one point, my girl looked at me. And her eyes....big and brown and round. She was at once both the 8 1/2 year old she is right now, and the baby that she will always be in my heart. Those eyes.
I remembered the night before her first birthday. One whole year had come and gone. She would never be my tiny girl again. I cried. Hard. I woke up my sleeping husband. "She's going to be one." He didn't feel it like I did.
I was two years into a four year interior design program when she was born. Before I met her, I was sure I could keep pushing towards the career of my dreams. And then we met. My baby. My girl. My mom watched her for me while I attended classes. It worked. I tucked the pain of leaving her in my back pocket and finished another year.
The summer between years 3 and 4 of the program -that I worked so hard to get into- required an internship. I applied to a few places and was so excited to be hired to one that paid money.
That night before her birthday, I felt the sting of all that would be required from me that summer. All the time away. From the child that was no longer a baby. My girl. Growing so fast I could almost see it happening. I thought about just calling this place to tell them I couldn't do it. Quitting. Before I began.
But I couldn't.
We had sacrificed so much to get to where we were, and this internship would only be for a summer. But that summer turned into more. The 4th year in that program (my 6th college year) was busy with school-work and work-work. And I saw my girl at the end of the day. I put her to bed each night. And dressed her each morning. But the in between wasn't hers and mine. It was hers. And mine. Separately.
Everyday I sat at my desk I thought about how I would rather be sitting with her. I pressed forward, though, with that pain tucked away deep. I could still feel it.
And then, in an unexpected turn of events, we were expecting.
It was then I knew. There was no way....
....no way for us.
No way for me to tuck those feelings away any longer. It was time to tuck "my career" away.
That was almost seven years ago. I can feel that career being tucked away, but it doesn't feel painful....it feels good.