“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali
This morning was a tough one. My arms were filled to the brim. Two backpacks, two lunch boxes, two nap mats (one with a broken strap), one rather awkward plastic-wrapped bale of size 3 diapers, and one hesitant 15-month-old who only today didn’t want to walk on his own power and insisted on being held, too.
My heart though felt slightly less filled.
When I made the decision to take a career pause in November, it was on the condition that I got to keep my assistant. I decided my son would stay home with me while I freelanced part-time. He wasn’t the best associate when it came to staying quiet during impromptu conference calls, but he was a ruthless time-keeper when it came to lunch.
Just like maternity leave, we were once again inseparable. Just me and my little guy.
Unlike maternity leave, he started to crawl, then walk and now this half speed-walk, half balancing act when he tries to hurry to an open door. He says ball, daddy and an excited “woo woo” at the sight of any four-legged animal. His favorite toys are putting the cat food pellets into the water bowl and plundering the kitchen cabinets. It’s like he’s a contestant on a game show and cannot wait a moment longer to find out what prize is behind the next closed door. He is most thrilled when he wins the spice rack.
I have loved being able to have more than a weekend’s length of time to soak up his babyness. He’s accompanied me on nearly every grocery store run and made the cashiers swoon over his dimpled smile. I’ve changed virtually every diaper, prepared and cleaned up each mealtime, spent hours at the playground, read Goodnight Gorilla and Little Blue Truck before many nap times, and genuinely cherished the moment-by-moment progression toward toddlerhood. I didn’t have the same opportunity with my daughter, so this was a real blessing to my heart and one that I appreciated most of the time.
Over the last several months I’ve spent time looking inward and outward. I’ve taken up meditation and with it a practice of being more mindful in my moments. In welcoming that change in to my life, I discovered this passion to shout it from the rooftops in hopes of helping others lead more present and life-well-lived lives. I gave birth to an idea while caring for my second born. And it’s an idea that needs me now if it is going to thrive.
But it was damn hard handing my assistant over to his new boss this morning. He started to cry, and that little sliver of my heart got turned over to Ms. Felicity along with a blue seersucker backpack. If I had told my November 2015 self that I would be sending him back to preschool only seven months later, I likely would have reconsidered the whole idea to stay home in the first place. And then I may not have ever found this energizing, entrepreneurial spirit that was probably always there deep down but I finally had time to listen and now unleash.
You may be able to see the bend in the road from a mile away and plan accordingly, and other times it may catch you completely off guard and make all the difference. I can’t say that having an almost entire day to focus on what’s been tugging on my heart didn’t feel like a mini vacation. And I have a feeling this course change will add another touch of sweet to the rest of that pie.