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Because I Can

2010 May 8
by Pamela

In my former life, my life before filling sippy cups and playing with princesses, I was a professional fundraiser. I worked for a homeless shelter, a drug treatment facility, a Christian college, a state university, and an out-patient facility which provided therapeutic services to children with special needs.

It was all very fulfilling work.

But I had a strong sense that I wanted to be home with our children. Wise women and men warned me that “time was short” and to “cherish these days”. I heard the advice so often, from so many people of different faiths and persuasions, that I believed it must be true.

And it is. I’ve heard it said about raising little ones, “the days are long but the years are short”. Such truth.

My work used to have larger implications. I had fundraising goals and meeting them meant that hundreds, even thousands of people would get therapy they needed or the education that would propel them to the next level.

Now is different. My world has become small.

The implications of my work can hardly be seen. The sippy cups get filled, spilled, cleaned up, and refilled. Baths are given, hair is put in piggy tails, stories are read, dinner is made, eaten, cleaned up and forgotten.

I sometimes wear the same outfit for several days. I never get to shower everyday.

But there is much in my life, more than ever before, that brings me real fulfillment.

* Sitting with Elizabeth every morning while she watches Elmo and I read my Bible.
* Learning to pray unceasingly because I no longer have the free time to carve out for long periods of prayer.
* Getting two piggy tails in Mary Claire’s hair perfectly straight.
* Forging authentic and deep relationships with a few women who I cherish as sisters
* Keeping up short and fun correspondence with friends on Facebook
* Washing my floors on my hands and knees (if they could stay clean for longer than an hour I’d be ecstatic)
* Learning about homeschooling, foster parenting, organization, good books, and cooking
* Reading blogs about the lives of people who are living a life worthy of the fight
* Entertaining more, freaking out about entertaining less
* Preparing a meal for someone who needs it, because I can
* Memorizing scripture
* Saying “why the heck not?” and letting the girls change outfits for the 100th time in a day, preparing an impromptu tea party because they asked, meeting a total stranger at the park and talking for an hour, taking my time at the grocery store so others feel free to stop and chat because I can
* Finding a lost dog by the side of the road, coax her back to our house, and then secure a dog house, food, and cozy blanket for her until I can get fliers out for her owners to know she’s safe and sound.

The desire was always in me to do all of the above. But the time wasn’t available. Or the energy couldn’t be “wasted” on such things because I was in constant survival mode. Now spending an hour to help a stray dog is not only feasible, but a way for me to demonstrate love and concern for God and our girls.

I have so much more time than ever before. In my previous life I was able to do some things that brought me accolades and I won’t lie, I liked receiving them. But the things I’m doing in this life are so fulfilling to me personally that I rarely think about not getting credit anymore. Sometimes when women who work full-time say they do so “because they need more” I wonder if it’s because they don’t realize how fulfilling little things done with great love and care can be.

Someday I will write about my husband Bob and the many steps and sacrifices it took to bring me to this thing I call my current “life”. Tonight I sit back and marvel about what I get to do.

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