This summer of nothingness that I was hoping for, is slipping away! We have spent days at the pool. We have spent evenings around the firepit. We have grilled various and sundry meats. We have consumed 50 watermelons. (give or take a few) The littles, middles and I have made several trips back to PA to visit with family and friends. The conference season is rapidly coming to an end (which means that I will get my husband and big kids back fulltime at least until college starts up again). All in all, it has been a beautifully, wonderful summer.
But as I have said, summer is coming to a close. School will be upon us before we know it. The girls and I have already knocked several things off of the back to school list. Normally, I am not one of those parents that sobs on the first day of school. I am usually fine with the big yellow bus coming and taking a few of my kids away for a few hours. This year, however, will be different. My baby, Jonathan, is starting kindergarten in the fall. When the kids all line up in their crisp new uniforms with their super white (not for long) shoes, brand-spanking new backpacks slung over their shoulder, he won’t be standing beside me as I snap the traditional first day of school pictures. Nope. He will be in his very own crisp uniform, with his very own super white (not for long) shoes, with his very own brand- spanking new backpack slung over his tiny little shoulder. The littlest of our men will join his siblings and begin his very own adventures at school. His little family-focused life is about to broaden to include his teachers and classmates. He will make his very own friends. He will expand his world.
The knowledge of this has been weighing on my heart for a while. All of my babies will be in school fulltime. This has never happened. Not once in the 16 years that I have been a mom, have I been at home alone. I have been a stay at home mom for as long as I have been a mom. My family has been my world. I have been dedicated to taking care of them. My roles as a wife and mother have been my vocation. My husband and my kids have been the center of this vocation. This has been a blessing. This has been my calling. This has been my joy (most of the time).
But I am now feeling another calling. My vocation as a wife and mother is a life-long thing. But for the last 16 years all of my energy and my focus have been on Brian and the kids. The last year, in particular, was a big one. I have put all of my energy into getting my family settled. Settled into our new home, into our new community, into new schools. But they are all settled now. They have their place here in Steubenville. I can see why God has called each one of them to Steubenville. But I have struggled to find my own reason to be here. Up to now, I have been here because I am Brian’s wife. I have been here because I am DJ, Coley, Jacob, Isaac, Hannah, Gia, Noah, Aiden and Jonathan’s mom. I have been here because this is where my people are. But it doesn’t feel like enough anymore. I feel that God is preparing to reveal to me what I am doing here. I feel that I am being called to broaden my focus of my vocation. I am have decided to get a job. When I first talked to Brian about this, he thought that I was nuts. I kind of thought that he might be right. But I just kept feeling this nudge in my heart to look. I know that my family is always #1, period. So whatever this job is, it would have to work for our family. And then I saw it. The “perfect”job. It was as a secretary at Franciscan in one of the classroom buildings. The hours were a little more than I had originally been looking for, but definitely doable. After some thought and a lot of prayer, I decided to give it a shot.
I tried to find a copy of my old resume. But after looking for a while, I decided that it probably wouldn’t have really been much help. I have been out of the workforce for 16 years. I jokingly (sort of) said to my mom that I was just going to glue a picture of the kids to the page and say, “This is what I have been doing for the last 16 years.” Instead, I opted to list my job as a stay at home mom along with the other jobs that I had worked. I managed to convince a few people that I had worked with at our old parish to allow me to use them as references. I drafted a cover letter and sent it all in. And then I had to wait. And wait. And wait. And then I received a phone call asking me to schedule a phone interview. I managed to make it through that, second guessing myself the whole time. It is very unnerving to try to reenter the workforce after having been away for 16 years. But I just kept telling God that if it was His will, I knew that it would all work out. The next day I recieved another call to set up a face to face interview! What?!?! The first thought in my mind was that I needed to go shopping. I needed interview appropriate attire. It’s been a while since I have had a job, but I was pretty sure that yoga pants and a tank top weren’t going to cut it.
With my stomach churning and my hands shaking, I walked into the interview room to face three women. It was a pretty intense interview, but I felt like it went pretty well. I then had a second phase of the interview by sitting down with four of the professors. It took me a minute to realize that it wasn’t your typical interview, but more of a sit down so that they could see if they could stand to work with me. I left feeling fairly confident and then absolutely sure that I was a complete idiot for even trying and then back to feeling ok about it all. I decided that I had done everything that I could possibly do. I had left it all out there. I was feeling incredibly vulnerable. I was also feeling worried that I wouldn’t get it and equally terrified that I would. When the crazy started to fly around in my head, I would just remind myself that if it was meant to be it would all fall into place. As the next week passed I allowed myself to think that maybe, just maybe I would get the call offering me the position. I allowed myself to rest in the maybe.
Tuesday came and I was out and about getting groceries. I was in the check out line at Walmart when my cell rang. It was Gia calling to tell me that someone from Franciscan had called and I was to call them back. My hands started to shake as I wrote the number down with eyeliner (I couldn’t find a pen.). I rushed out to the van to put the groceries in the trunk so that I could return the call. I called her back and she started out by saying how professional my resume and cover letter had been and that I had performed exceptionally well in the online skills assessment. But that they had in fact, offered the job to another person with more experience. I didn’t get it. I thanked her as she encouraged me to apply for a few other positions that were available on campus. I just wanted to get off of the phone because I was afraid that I would start to cry. Which I did. I cried a lot. So much so that I was actually surprised at how upset I was. I don’t think that it was necessarily about that particular job, although I would have loved it. But I think that it was more that I had put myself out there. I had taken a step, a big step for me, and I had failed. After wallowing and pouting for the afternoon, I put my big girl panties back on and snapped out of it. I tweaked my resume for the other positions and applied to them as well.
I had said all along that I was putting it all in God’s hands and when it didn’t turn out the way that I was hoping for, I crumbled. I can’t even tell you how many times I have uttered the words, “It will all work out the way that it is supposed to, in His time. It will be better than anything that you could have imagined. Just give it to God and let him work it out.” So many times…It is really easy to say, much harder to hear. But true nonetheless. So I am 100% sure that there is something out there for me. Maybe it won’t be a job, per se, but rather volunteering. Maybe the hours for the first job would have been more than would have worked my family. Maybe I will get a call tomorrow, maybe it won’t be for 6 months. I just need to take a deep breath and keep looking and, more importantly, keep praying. I have taken the first step. Now I just need to sit back let God work out the details.