Tuesday, June 22, 2010

“Nothing Gold Can Stay”

These days, my life is simply a series of balls that stay in the air at all times. Full-time mom. Starting a new company. Trying to stay healthy. Day care. Swimming lessons. And, as of yesterday, working full time.

As I sit at a desk doing this new job in a familiar building surrounded by people I worked with more than five years ago and am happy to be working with again, all I feel is grateful. Grateful to get up early and get Kensie ready for her day. Grateful to be in the mix of the congested highway leading to work. Grateful to drive up the stone-lined path to the beautiful building I once (and will never again) took for granted. Grateful to have a job in my field in this economy (“temporary” is fine with me!). There are so many people in this town and in our country right now who can’t find work at all, and I get to come here every day and earn money to support myself and my child in a beautiful setting with great people doing what I love. I. AM. BLESSED.

I haven’t always felt this way about working. When I was younger, I took that privilege for granted. I changed jobs frequently. I moved around a lot. A job was just a means of getting cash to support my lifestyle, little more. But when I had a child, my view began to change. Suddenly, I had this constant reminder of my responsibilities—to my daughter, to myself, to those around me, to the world (new moms tend to exaggerate things)! And when the economy tanked and I lost a couple of jobs, I began to truly appreciate how lucky people who have stability in their lives are. And that’s when I decided it was time to find a way to ensure that my daughter had a bright future. I’ve always loved what I do, and I’ve been lucky enough to work within my field since I was in college. But I’ve recently discovered that loving what you do and having a chosen career path are simply not enough anymore. So now, I’ll try anything that will keep my daughter fed and playing happily in her Target rompers!

Nothing is permanent. Jobs, homes, friends, lovers, nature. It’s something we all know but most of us choose not to think about. Look at the catastrophe in the Gulf. Growing up, it never occurred to me that I may not be able to share with my children the beauty and tranquility of a place I visited multiple times each year of my life and saw as a second home. I never once thought that something so horrible and possibly irrevocable could happen to this sacred place. I was going to take Kensie to the beach for her third birthday celebration this summer, but not now. People there are getting sick. Children are playing on beaches right next to clumps of oil mixed with God knows what. I can’t take my child there now, and it breaks my heart.

Change is inevitable. Nothing stays the same; it just can’t. As Robert Frost so eloquently wrote:

“Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”

Inevitably, this phase, too, will come to an end. But I plan to appreciate every moment of every day, because, in the end, isn’t that what matters the most?