I am pumping Sara Bareilles, “Brave”. Cheesy? Probably. But as many times as I have heard this song out in the world, for some reason this time it struck a chord. It is an anthem for this next phase in my journey.
I am leaving my job of 5 years and career of 11 years and taking a one year unpaid sabbatical. I am walking away from the safety net of a predictable and comfortable monthly income. I am walking away from something that has been my identity for a third of my life. I am walking away from a school I love and people I have felt privileged to work beside. I have been congratulated by people that secretly thought I should have stayed home with my baby from day one. I have been forewarned by others more cautious and feminist that I might really regret this. I have gone back and forth (I really do see the value in both choices), but eventually I had to admit that it broke my heart to drop my baby off with people that didn’t know or appreciate him the way I do…every. single. day.
I don’t care now what anyone else thinks. In my gut this has been a decision a long time in coming. I am stepping out on a ledge for possibly the first time in my life. I was always told I was good with kids…I should teach or be a caregiver. It was an easy career for me to slide into. I knew I wanted to be my own person, forge my own path in life, and be self-reliant. Education and a career were that for me. But my career has become the roadblock to doing what really makes me happy. Educating and caring for my own son. He is this beautiful, bursting, glaring light in my life. (In an effort not to sugar-coat, though, let me clarify…I lose it, I get angry, tired, frustrated. I long for my more simple pre-baby life sometimes, but I have never ever done something more rewarding and right.)
Now I am taking a huge leap of faith. I am seeing if I have the guts, the bravery, to be with my little guy full-time without my unstoppable partner by my side constantly. I am setting out to find a way to help support my family financially that requires me to put myself out there and not just show up to place and collect a paycheck. I want to grow our family. I want to plunge into a new dream.
I have a month left of the school year. I am hanging on by a thread…trying desperately to keep my head in the game, when all I want to do is be covered in dirt with my little guy by my side.
I want to dive into making our yard into a crazy permaculture eden, gaining knowledge about how to build my own homestead, figuring out how to meet my own social needs outside of a traditional work setting, finally getting that giant tattoo I have been wanting, training for a huge bike ride again, and most of all spending deep, slow moments with my family.
I don’t want the burden of spending most of my days caring for many other people’s children in someone else’s place. I want to be in my own place. I want to raise my own child. I am aching to slough off the skin of this old life.
At this point, I know I am living in a bit of a dreamland, thinking that if only my attention wasn’t so divided, I could be a really great mama. I know it will still be hard. I don’t know in what ways yet, but I am ready to be brave.