During my preschool years and even into my elementary years, I know my parents, particularly my father, sacrificed time they could have been spending doing fun things with my brothers and I to work towards preparing a better future for us. I don’t remember knowing that they were doing this, but there’s no faking the memory of Mom piling us in the car to go visit Dad at work at the gas station or Dad calling Grandma to ask how to make spaghetti because Mom was at night school. They did what they had to do to give us the wonderful upbringing we enjoyed.
Now, on this beautiful autumn 3-day weekend, as I scan facebook pictures of my friends and their families apple picking, visiting lakes, and going to parks and I reflect upon our day of baby food making, laundry and housecleaning yesterday and see books and articles that need reading, indexes that need creating and more baby food that needs making today and tomorrow, I just hope that it will all be worth it. My oldest may not remember that Mommy couldn’t go to the park today, but I want the opportunity to make those kinds of memories later and if that means sacrificing the time now, so be it.
However, my biggest fear, that which results in moments of back-shuddering bouts of weeping, is that this is all for naught. What if I miss out on these times now and all of this work contributes nothing to my family’s future? What if I’ve wasted time fighting for something that is never meant to be? Sometimes I feel like I’m swimming upstream and, as I look over my color-coded calendar for the next two months, I constantly second guess the direction I am headed in, which is really no big revelation as I’m simultaneously doing two different things in the hopes that one will pay off in the short term and the other will pay off in the long haul. Therefore, it’s not so much a singular direction as a trudging through the woods between two different paths. Is this one of those times when I should just buck up and forge ahead or am I struggling too hard against the current and would be better off just going with the flow?
I don’t mind the hard work. I just want to know that it will pay off. And that is not a given. For someone who has done her fair share of work, but always received some form of payment for it, be it monetary or personal satisfaction, not seeing a pay out in the near future is extremely difficult. I just need to know, am I doing the right thing?