There have been so many opportunities over the last couple of months for me to ponder my situation and to be thankful for what I've been given. There have been many times when I wish I was a stay-at-home mom. (Thoughts of full-time work only enter my head when I'm thinking of making more money - and that usually means I'm just being greedy and it's not worth it.) But then I go to work and I'm reminded of all the wonderful things I do, have done and have been a part of.
Recently we met David's cousin, Justin, and his wife Thea with their two young children at ImaginOn, where my office is located. And it was magical. I saw the building through new eyes. Thea kept going on and on about how amazing the place is. And how great it must be to work there. She's not wrong.
I had lunch with an old friend and colleague of mine earlier this week whom I hadn't really seen in a year or so. She's now the manager of ImaginOn and used to work right alongside me in Outreach, doing the same things I still do. She's a real go-getter, that one. She asked me what my future looks like and if I think I want to go to work full-time. I quickly told her that I wouldn't go back to work full-time while Amelia Jayne is still in preschool and I realized that this is my baby's last year. That can't be my excuse any longer once 2017 rolls around. But I also remembered what a great setup I have. Twenty hours per week, benefits, library perks. That's fairly unheard of these days, or so everyone says.
A new (full-time) position came available in our department not that long ago and someone asked me if I wanted it. I immediately said no, and then contemplated it briefly. And then remembered that I still get to be home with my kids a lot and am able to get Xander off the bus or pick Amelia Jayne up from preschool and watch her run around with her little friends there. I take her to dance and Xander to karate. I get to watch them grow and get better and learn and become who they're becoming - amazing little human beings.
I recently asked one of my friends and co-workers if she would go full-time if she were me. She confessed that she is jealous of my schedule and ability to work part-time. She's a single mom. She HAS to work full-time. Which means she misses out on a lot of time with her son. What she wouldn't give to have more time with him.
I had a conversation with one of my old colleagues on the phone last week - she's been gone from CML for 6 years and we haven't really spoken in about two. She's the director of the small library system where she lives - she asked me what my goals are and if I would consider doing anything different. I had to be honest and say that I really don't want to.
You see, I get to go into daycares and preschools where these children aren't always made the priority. They may get more TV time than book time - in a daycare, people. Isn't that crazy? Sometimes they children rush at me to give me hugs and I realize they may not get too many hugs. They may have never had interactions with a white woman before, but especially not one who loves on them and cares about them, one who remembers their name and asks them about their day.
I see children who possibly got dealt a rough hand - their parents struggle to make ends meet, they may not eat once they go home, there's not a lot of laughter or fun in their lives. I get to open up a whole new world of magic to them in the form of books.
I see children who are refugees. They were forced out of their country for various reasons and now live in a new city, a new country, with a new culture and language. They don't know what to expect in school and their parents don't know English well enough to help their children in that way. I'm able to come in, talk to them, read to them, play games with them, laugh with them, dance with them, sing with them and generally act silly. It's a FUN job!
AND I get to be home with my kids. How is that even possible? How have I landed the sweetest gig of all time? I am so incredibly thankful.