8/2/12

It's been a long time since I rock n rolled

"Do you know anything about the SUCH AND SUCH School District?" my friend, Karey, asked as we mulled over fashion magazines while drinking beer in the summer sun.  Her kids were happily entertaining my kids in the yard with a sword fighting routine to LMFAO's "Party Rock!" at deafening levels (to the neighbor's dismay).  Karey and I were doing what we do best, surviving summer parenting with frequent play dates...usually accompanied by beer.  She and I were readily anticipating the start of school in a few weeks as both of our daughters would be plunging into kindergarten this year while our oldest would begin third grade.
"Oh no!" I panicked, "You're not thinking about going back to work, are you?!?!?"
My heart rate skyrocketed and I felt myself doing this squinchy thing with my knees to keep myself from ejecting out of my seat in horror.
And in that moment, as she calmly explained that yes, she was considering going back to work, I realized that we were approaching the end of an era.  That my job as a stay at home mom was being restructured, merged into reality and quickly phased out, "I'M GOING EXTINCT!!!!!"
I feel like a college graduate the day after her commencement ceremony, boxing up books and tossing out the backpack and realizing that, "Holy Shit,  I've catapulted into the real world.  Now what?!?"
Eight years ago, I happily left my classroom teaching job with a swelling belly and an eagerness for life as a mommy. Over the next 4 years I welcomed both of our daughters into the world with joy and pride, I nurtured and guided them, and stood by my husband as he plowed through his daily life as the career man, bringing home the....well, it was more like corned beef before it evolved into bacon these last few years.  Back then life was penny pinching and making sacrifices and it was exciting and new learning to grow into parents and foster ourselves as a budding young family. And more recently, as the girls have become older and more independent, needing us both a little less, our lives, my life has become.... well, it's just NICE!!! My day is slow and fairly smooth, unless you count a little sibling rivalry or a few mounds of laundry.  I can go for a run while the girls are at gymnastics, do the dishes, clean the house and at the end of the day collect my family, make a nice meal, bathe my kids, listen to my husband over a glass of wine and dare I say it, feel good about my calm and rewarding day of being a mom, being a homemaker, and being a wife.  And that's it...
I didn't realize until Karey shared her newest plans that somehow, over the last few years, one by one my friends....ALL of my friends have made their way back to the working world.  I didn't notice until now.  No wonder my knees were smashed together and my blood pressure was soaring as she babbled on about this part time counseling job she's interested in.  Is that the sound of my beer bottle cracking? 
Somehow, I missed the memo and didn't recognize that nagging loneliness that haunts my day-oh, come on, you know The Lonely I'm talking about when you dial up everyone you know in hopes of having a chat and just maybe they'll have two minutes for a quick coffee or a pedicure-was actually stemming from the fact that everyone was busier than me.  That everyone else (while I had my head in brownie mix or sewing buttons on fairy costumes) had opened other doors, stepped through, shook hands with a job and was gradually picking up more work and setting down their parenting life.  They were letting go of one phase and welcoming the new act, and then there's me....pink frilly pillow over head, curled up in my daughter's bunk bed singing nursery rhymes and playing Barbies.
Well, I guess that explains the nightmare I had last night about falling down an elevator shaft....
Okay, so I am dead last in this race we call life right now and I am feeling left out.  Ok, check.
And I'm aware that my last child will be full time in school this year and I'll have more hours in my day to myself.  Ok, check. (isn't that what malls and nail salons are for????)
But what I don't know is how to fill those hours!!!  NOT check!!
What do I want to be when I grow up?  What door was I supposed to open, who's hand was I supposed to shake when everyone else was signing contracts and hiring nannies?  Where did I go wrong?