I took my time, choosing to clear out my office on a Saturday when it was quiet, when there would be no one to distract the bittersweet task of boxing up what I had just “unboxed” six months back.
I moved into this office in June, it took several trips of hauling various items and figuring out where to place them so my new surroundings would have just the right feel, allowing me to be both efficient and creative. I brought in lots of reminders of the “flowers” (kids) from my “garden” (home).
It took much less time to dismantle it all. Picture by picture, stick-pin by stick-pin, I pulled away pieces of myself that I had spread throughout that space and tucked them back into square, cardboard caves. I ended up needing to borrow a food tray from the staff lounge to get all the filled-to-the-brim containers into the van, and to prop open the doors with whatever I could find that worked. (I didn’t realize until too late I’d already placed the key in an envelope to leave for the H.R. gal.)
It’s never easy, the undoing of a life. In this case, a life I had hoped would involve a happy balance. In the end, I couldn’t make what felt impossible happen, so the wall-hangings had to be removed, notes written, goodbye emails sent and the key turned in.
I’ve never liked goodbyes, and even more so goodbyes I had not anticipated until recently. But I had one last job that needed to be completed, and only a limited window in which to do it.
When everything was out and I pulled the door closed for the last time, knowing I could not re-enter…that’s when the rush of emotions came, and I cried all the way home.
No matter how much sense a decision makes, a person still has a right to her feelings. And feelings aren’t always predictable. I decided not to fight it. I just let the tears come as needed.
Another amazing opportunity, gone. All of the energy that had been channeled toward doing the best I could at editing the diocesan newspaper and directing the communications office swirled around in my mind, danced around my heart, leaving me breathless.
|Former nameplate, now a piece of plastic resigned to the trash bin|
For a little while, anyway.
Then, it was time to go to Saturday evening Mass with my family. Soon, I was immersed again in life with my loved ones.
I won’t lie. Saturday was difficult and I was drained with emotion. That’s what it feels like to leave a dream job. But the dream job, no matter how much I loved the work itself, was not a fit, after all; not for a mother of five kids who still need me more often and in larger quantities than I can offer.
But just as there are emotions in leaving, in saying goodbye, there are equally strong emotions in turning and saying hello to the thing that is right.
Indeed, the feelings that have overtaken me in the last several days have included many moments of pure joy at the realization I’ve turned back to the heart of my home, and almost overwhelming bursts of relief over not trying to make something work that really could not have.
What I’ve left is something that has been a meaningful part of my journey — the people, the work itself, the physical environment were all a gift. But what I’ve returned to is a part of myself and a space that can not be occupied as well by any other. The diocese will be fine; I trust that. But my family will never find another mother and wife that is me.
In these past couple days, I have found myself deeply grateful to have what feels like a second chance to give my all to my family. And I’ve realized that no dream job or any pursuit outside my home can come close to the fulfillment I can receive from helping hold our family together, not just by offering the leftovers, but by laying out my whole self for the sake of my family.
Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I’m home!