I was in a public restroom the other day changing a poopy diaper when she walked in. I first noticed the distinct click clack of high heeled shoes hitting the tile floor and then caught a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye. I couldn’t help but stare just for a moment. The girl who walked into the restroom was about my age, smartly dressed in a black, sleek, professional dress. Her shiny black stilettos were perfectly scuff-free, her hair appropriately styled, her makeup flawless, and she walked with an air of purpose. I have no idea who “she” was but we may as well just call her “My Past Ambitions for Myself”.
As she walked by, it was a bit like standing with my very own Jiminy Cricket and watching an alternative life path unfold before me. She represented everything I had expected myself to become… accomplished, successful, and an important part of someone’s business plan. Compared to this girl, I felt a bit like a hobo. I was dressed in a non-formfitting sundress paired with an old sweater and I had flip flops on my feet. My hair was in it’s normal state of mess; I did not feel glamorous at all. And I was wiping a poopy butt. Definitely not glamorous! It was the owner of the poopy butt that brought me quickly back to reality with a loud “MA-MA!” which I interpreted as “lets get a move on here, I’m feeling a little drafty.”
Over the past few days I’ve had some time to contemplate this restroom encounter. Have I really fallen so far from what my past ambitions have been? I’m a mom now. That wasn’t necessarily part of my plan. But that’s my reality. I don’t attend staff meetings, have important projects to work on, dead lines to meet, or bosses to impress. I don’t get to wear high heels, smart outfits, or go on business trips. What I have instead is dirty dishes, dirty laundry and meals that need to be cooked. And I have a little person relaying on me to teach them everything they need to know about the world. Whoa. I’ve been thinking about that fact quite a bit since this restroom encounter. There is a little person in my care that knows nothing unless I teach her… how to use a fork, how to say please and thank you, how to use the potty. Some may scoff at these ideas, but think of how thankful you are that you now know how to use a potty! As time goes on, it will be my job to teach other lessons; like how to be kind, how to comfort someone, how to stand up for what is right, how to make a good decision.
I do have a dead line for these tasks. It’s in about 20 years. In 20 years I will hopefully be able to step back and see a grown person that I helped shape and hopefully helped become a lovely human being.
I knew right from the get-go that this job is not glamorous; I don’t get to wear high heels and it’s hard at times to feel like I am really making any sort of contribution to this world. However, I don’t think I would trade my current job description for the one “My Past Ambitions for Myself” had originally hoped for. The prospect for high returns is too great to pass up and the challenge to great to shirk away from.