Trying to write a short bio on myself for a committee I wanted to be on opened up a Pandora’s box of issues for me. It got me to wondering how to define what I’ve done with the last twenty years of my life. I was born in the early 60s and was blessed to grow up in a home where education was stressed. I went to a fine University and then followed that up with three years of law school. At that time, the wisdom of the crowd was that a woman could have it all. I balked at all the traditional women’s career choices such as teaching because “I was better than that.” Yet, inside I had no doubt that someday I wanted to be a mom. In fact, from the time I was very little playing dolls with my friends the one thing I was certain of was that I wanted to be a mom. I guess you could say that being a mom was my passion.
I was blessed to marry young and luckily my husband was on board with the whole children concept. I had my first son four years after starting work as a lawyer. I soon found that I could not have it all. Others found a way but I could not and as my father said, “The law will have many masters, your children will have only one mother.” My husband, also a lawyer, worked crazy hours and was earning enough for me to stop working. It would be a falsehood to say that I was devastated to leave work, but staying home was also an adjustment and never easy. For a thinking person to watch an infant drool or to keep a toddler from drinking lye eighteen hours a day is probably just a hair worse than waterboarding. I do not look back on those early days with great joy. Two more sons followed and the insanity of three children left little time to think about personal sacrifice or fulfillment. I did a lot of volunteer work at the kids’ school, made fantastic friends, built community and made our house a home. Along the way, I have become a decent cook, a passable hostess, an outstanding chauffeur and an unlicensed pediatrician who rarely needs a tongue depressor to know if a child has strep. In twenty years I have never been bored. Now, with the kids older and more independent I stare at a blank page and think they want to know what I’ve done for the last twenty years. What do I write?
Well, how’s this? For twenty years I’ve “been there.” I have been there for my husband, my sons, my friends, my parents, my in-laws and my extended family, some more than others. I am not perfect and sometimes I’m not even good but I have tried really hard. Sometimes “being there” is easy. Sometimes it’s just about spending fun time with people, but sometimes it’s really hard. I’ve been there to rub my friend’s back at her brother’s burial and just maybe that meant more to her and to me than any brief I would have written or any deal I might have closed as a lawyer. And, sometimes “being there” is just what it sounds like, the day in/day out drudgery of “being there.” I am here every afternoon at 4PM when my slightly anxious sixteen year old calls and asks who’s picking him up? After all these years of hearing the same answer you might think he would be a little less concerned. I am here every night even though I can barely stand the sound of my own voice when I hear myself saying “please take out your homework” for the hundredth time to my twelve year old. In the end, most of it is about those three boys of mine. Even though I know life is a crapshoot, I am here every day loving them, shaping them, praying that if I stay here they will grow up strong and healthy, loving and capable. And, I am here because I want to be here. This is really what I always wanted to do and I don’t have a single regret.
So put that in your bio and smoke it.