Saturday, September 09, 2006

So much

There is so much to write about, so many thoughts, so many emotions. I think of Dr. Mon's post a while back, about feelings. I'm the kind who always wears my heart on my shirt sleeves, though I have become more reflective about life, somewhat more objective. That doesn't mean I feel things any less intensely, it simply means that while I'm feeling them, I'm able to intellect other sides, other takes, other possibilities.

I've just so much to say right now, that I'm finding it difficult to get started. I want to start a thread on parenting and careers and expectations. Hopefully I'll be able to tackle at least a beginning on that soon.

Recently, I've come to value even more my wonderful relationship with my wife, the life and family that we have forged together, and the future that we both look forward to sharing. I think of my mother's stormy 21 years with my step father, before he decided to have an affair with his married secretary, then marry her after both divorced their spouses. I want none of that. This marriage, this family, this life, are where I want to be. My life, for the most part, is filled with marvels. I am truly blessed with that.

And yet, there is a part of me that still seeks. There is still a gaping hole in my professional life that was neither expected nor deserved. This has been a rough week for me, a rough several weeks. I said to my mother recently that we've been on a roller coaster the past week or so. She replied, you've been a roller coaster since you graduated! Indeed.

Part of the ups and downs this particular week (since our final decision to move) is the result of my full-time parenting at the moment. It is a great joy and a tiring burden. Those who have never served as stay-at-home parents may simply never understand. I wonder at those parents who choose this life, embrace it, revel in it, thrive even. I respect them and admire them, but I fail to fully understand them. I wonder at my mother, who divorced my father (not without cause) and headed "back home" some 200 miles away, with three boys, aged 8, 6, and 4, returned to teaching and to college, where she earned two master degrees, while moving into school administration. A "stay-at-home" was not my model.

It is not that I don't delight in being a father. But it is that my hands at times feel tied, my life completely overwhelmed by duty, one which keeps me from other things I might wish to be doing. This would likely be otherwise, if I felt that modicum of satisfaction in my professional accomplishments. I recall all too well the many times I have heard from colleagues who are so fortunate to hold tenure-track positions, or tenure, that they know many colleagues, smarter, better teachers, more capable, whatever, who have failed to secure employment in their fields. All those times I heard those words, I suspected it was a bit of hyperbole on their parts, that there must be some reason they have a job and the others did not, that there was some logic to it all.

The logic escapes me now. I never thought I might be the subject of such a comment. But here I am, so far unable to land myself a post in my field. It is frustrating. The choice is mine, I know. It has always been mine. I could walk away. I won't be so rash. But I can't say what 6 months or a year will bring. I am determined to hold onto who I am, to follow my paths, to pursue my interests, to contribute to society, to my fields of research, in the ways that I can best do so. At the moment, I still hope that will be as part of an institution of higher learning, but I give up trying to predict.

In the meantime, I am tired. Parenting is exhausting: perhaps less so for those better equipped for its rigors, or better adjusted to its demands. And seeking, always seeking, reading job postings, sending out feelers, applying for jobs is exhausting as well. For me, perhaps, it is the waiting that most saps my energies, and while I am a full-time dad (the au pair returns the middle of next week), just about all I can do is wait, since I haven't the time or energy to do much else.

As I have said and thought many times in my life: this too shall pass. The move will be in its own way exhilirating. I thrive on novelty, especially when I have felt stagnant, when circumstances leave me in an endless eddy, ever circling back and around again. Sometimes you just have to pick up the kayak, and head to another stream. Hold on: the rollercoaster promises to return again.

1 comment:

Lilian said...

I fully understand both the exhaustion in parenting and looking for a job.

We love novelty too, I can't wait for when we get to move next year! :)