Just go ahead and scroll on if you’re sick of sappy. I’m just an emotionally charged novel typing mess these days. I understand.
Admittedly, I cry a lot these days.
MS sucks; and managing a professional life on top of Motherhood while dealing with medication side effects and MS symptoms can get overwhelming.
But, today, WORDS made me cry. Words.
Words have this uncanny ability to move us in ways that a physical touch can not.
One of my favorite quotes expresses this best:
“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” – Albus Dumbledore, J.K. Rowling
Today I went through noteables about Ketanji Brown Jackson, and watched a soon to be Supreme Court Justice speak the most relatable words I could hear:
“I know it has not been easy as I have tried to navigate the challenges of juggling my career and motherhood. And I fully admit that I did not always get the balance right. But I hope that you have seen that with hard work, determination, and love, it can be done.”
Tears. I cried, because the relevance this is to me. I smiled because I’m thankful to be a Mom, and I missed my little guy who is happily and healthily clueless to the guilt I hold as a Mother. (He was at school)
So many times in the first three years of his life, work crowded my mind as well as my schedule and in turn took away from who I could be for him. I brought some of the saddest stories home, they replayed constantly in my mind. I sometimes felt like I could physically feel the weight of my clients situations on my shoulders. Sleep was scarce, but I’d stay up just to have time holding him, whispering all my big plans that WOULD come to fruition.
In turn, he didn’t get the best of me on those days. There were childcare workers who held him when I couldn’t. There were family members who babysat him so I could go to work. There were milestones that I missed. As gut wrenching as it is to even type this- there were times he cried for me and someone else comforted him. That is a literal pain, that I struggled to bear. It was us two against the world, and having to leave him made me feel like I was less than. I still get triggered by comments I see along the lines of “I’d never take my baby to daycare. I’d never leave my baby until they are X years old”.
I was not always successful in balancing my work and motherhood. But, I consistently reminded myself that what I did then, impacted where we’d be in the future. My career was my only choice besides settling, failing, and not giving him the life he deserved. I provided. I planned. I worked. I climbed- sometimes what felt like LITERALLY climbed, my way from an entry level to each notch on the business totem pole that I could. Sebastian was THREE when I got a job that he could come with me to. I remained with the same company, but finally landed a transfer 4 years in to my post-graduation career, and three years in to his life. He was THREE when I got my own office, and set my own hours. THREE YEARS of his life that some days the most I got was snuggling him while he slept between my paperwork and computers.
I still, to this day, feel guilt. I am 100% sure it’s the very same guilt that Ketanji Brown Jackson feels, while sitting in a historic position (very well deserved). The guilt of a working Mother. I’ve accepted that in our youth we learn, and in our age we understand. I learned the value of hard work, and now I understand why I did it. But that learning process left a tremendous hole in my mind, that I have yet to shake. Coupled with guilt from feeling I cared so much for situations I couldn’t control, and for children that were not my own, when I should have invested that time in to him.
Driving to job number two- I knew I was only working it to afford childcare for my first job. BUT, I’d imagine a day where Sebastian said he was proud of me. It kept me going. Nowadays he tells me often, as a little boy who is proud of a perfectly cut pizza slice and when I buy cheese dip (). But, one day, I hope he feels the pride displayed in this picture by Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Daughter. I’ll keep pushing every single day, no matter what sickness, what deadline, what memory comes up. Because, “I’m proud of you” is exactly why I keep going.
To ALL the women out there, in the month of International Women’s celebration, ““Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” (And may we raise our little boys to respect them all the same)