Friday, January 8, 2016
Someone else's dream.
When the company from Toronto offered my husband a job I had just finished my 2nd year of Club Teasdale and four weeks of specialty day camps in the park. It was my dream job, literally. I envisioned an after school enrichment program existing in a building that had been empty for years, convinced the city to let me take it over, and filled it with craft supplies, recreation equipment, and donations from the community. I probably put half the money I earned back into the place but I didn't mind because I was creating a space for my kids and their friends and neighborhood kids and the community to play games and make things. People would stop by and tell me how happy they were to see the building open again. Now that I'm gone, Club Teasdale is continuing without me. That's worth something, isn't it? Still, I miss it.
What's a couple to do when one person's dream job comes calling and the other person has to give up theirs? Usually you ask yourselves whose job can best support the family. I have never had one of those jobs. If we relied on my salary alone we would be destitute.
My husband's career has always been the driving force of our destiny. The feminist in me feels like I should be embarrassed but this, but I'm not. I've managed to carve out a niche for myself in every city we've lived in - Savannah, Shepherdstown, Los Angeles, and Seattle. (Toronto doesn't count.) I've taught school and led camps and workshops. I've been a copy editor for a newspaper and I've had my writing published in books and magazines. My one constant - kokoleo - has allowed me to make a modest income off my sewing. I've been active in the PTO, put together talent shows, organized neighborhood bike parades, installed a community mosaic, taught Sunday school, and served on various advisory boards. All of these contributed to our happiness and our connection to the community but this kind of work doesn't make much money, never mind provide health care or dental insurance.
Did I forget to mention that I had a couple babies during this time too? That's kind of a big deal. It alters your whole career trajectory sometimes, often in wonderful ways.
Sometimes though, the one who makes the main money suffers more. Long days, inane meetings, corporate bullshit and bureaucracy, long commutes. I'm thankful I've never had to deal with any of that. I realize that doing what I love and being with my kids has been a luxury and I am thankful. I would never make it in the corporate world. So when a job came along that looked promising and perfect for my husband I said, "If this is your dream job then I will go there with you and we will have fun in a brand new city. It'll be an adventure!"
And it has been. Not the one I anticipated but I can't help feeling (finally) that there's a reason we landed here. We told the kids, "Just think of this as a weird vacation where you have to go to school."
It's definitely a learning experience for all of us.