On Thursday, my friend Kawania stopped by to pick up a flash drive. She was just leaving her job as an elementary school teacher, and as I opened the door to let her in, I said, "Wow! Is this what the teachers are wearing these days?"
Decked out in a brown, above the knee shirtdress, with leopard print, four inch, peep toe heels, she laughed and said assuredly, "Gone are the days teachers wear long flower skirts and penny loafers." I laughed, too, thinking how cool it would be to find a pair of penny loafers nowadays. But hey, these glasses aren't for show. I'm a true blue nerd.
Kawania began playing with Z, and I slid back over to the dining room table where I had been cutting up peppers, tomatoes and onions for dinner. She looked at me, dressed in a tank and shorts, scarf on head, chopping away, and said, "You know, even though you don't think you're doing anything great or exciting by staying home full time with Z, you are. It's so awesome that you're with her. It's not glamorous but it'll pay off."
No, there was nothing glamorous about me or that scene at that moment. I was definitely not Facebook pic-ready, and even using three Instagram filters couldn't change that.
But why did she start off by saying I don't think I'm doing anything great? Because I not only think it, I know I am.
Oh, did that last line seem boisterous? Yes? Well, good. I'm not bragging. Far from it. I am no supermom. Z is not reading or potty trained at 14 months. I sneak her chocolate milk when her Dad isn't around. I play like 10 Alphablocks episodes in a row to stop her squealing when I'm doing her hair.
No, my pride comes from my job... no, strike that, my vocation as a mother, not in my skills (or lack thereof) in this role.
In the six months that have passed since I resigned my professional job, a number of people have given me pep talks similar to Kawania's. Others, like my 82 year old Grandmother, have asked me, in an almost pleading tone, how I manage to stay home and stay sane. Some have just bluntly said, "Not me! I'd dump my kid off in daycare so fast...". Putting my health issues aside (which is the actual reason I resigned), I can't seem to convince people of how amazing it actually is to be with Z full time. I've watched her grow from a squiggly newborn who could only manage two ounces of milk to a curious toddler who devours just about anything she can find (scarily, not necessarily food, either). Outside of a couple of colds and tummy aches, there have been no illnesses. When she took her first steps, it was to me. I'm her teacher, chef, nurse and playmate. And maid. And janitor. And custodian.
I don't have one job. I have at least a dozen.
There is no fanfare, no glory. It's so ordinary.
Millions love "The Kardashians" because their "ordinary" includes dating rap stars, marrying (and divorcing) millionaire athletes, flying across the globe, vacations, glitz and glamor.
Yesterday I posted about St. Therese and her "little way" to Jesus. Little steps. An appreciation of and love for the little things. I'm reminded of India Arie's "Little Things":
"Got everything that I prayed for
Even a little more
When I asked to learn humility
This is what I was told
It's the little things
And the joy they bring
It's the little things
And the joy they bring"