Late yesterday morning I returned from Maine with The Shepherds and my olfactory senses were happy-fied by evidence that Glen-the-friend-and-painter had been true to his word and dropped by while I was gone. The trim in the living room was all kinds of shiny with its fresh coat of Benjamin Moore Linen Sand in Satin Impervo and neither Monty nor Fred showed any signs of having participated in helping Glen do his work.
Glen is a neat human. One of those you have to admire because he just knows himself so well and he is all about family and good stuff. When Glen was younger, he had a plan. He was smart (smaHt), went to college to be a lawyer, and studied law. He passed the bar, became an actual lawyer, and lawyered in a hoity-toity way.
Not really, I just added the hoity-toity way.
And then he realized that lawyering, although it was great money, required a lot of hours. And those hours conflicted with his ability to fully participate in his kids growing up (also, he has a great wife who the Nearly Perfect Husband has some sort of Starbucks-oriented emotional affair going on with, so Glen probably wanted to oversee that too).
Lawyering, I mean.
He quit Lawyering.
And he built a painting business instead.
And not only is his painting business rocking (he is really, really good at what he does), but he has organized it in such a way that he can even get his kids off the school bus every afternoon.
That makes me smile for two reasons.
One, it’s cool because Glen is a good person who didn’t get all caught up in the dogma of that sometimes keeps us on a certain path because ‘that’s the path we chose’ and/or just because the money’s great.
Two, because Glen reminds me that, once upon a time, The Nearly Perfect Husband and I sat down at the kitchen table and each wrote separate lists.
We both had our own hoity-toity careers at that point, and work was taking a bigger and bigger chunk out of our time together and with the kids. We had a rule that we would never both travel at the same time, so that one of us was always home with the kids overnight. But it came to a head the night we raced to the calendar – and I mean raced to the calendar – to claim a certain few-day block that each of us thought we desperately needed in order to fulfill our duties to our respective corporate jobs.
I don’t even remember who got to travel that time.
Who got to travel.
As if packing up and leaving your family to head out on a business trip is a prize.
What I do remember is that, some time shortly after that, we agreed that this life was crazy. We had both worked our way to the executive levels of our respective companies and had the salaries and oodles of perks that went with our hoity-toity titles.
We had a nanny who came in during the day, and brought our young kids to parks and playdates while we sat in meetings and made ‘very important decisions’.
And it was a magical weeknight if we were all home by 6:30 to have dinner together.
So we sat down, The Nearly Perfect Husband and I, at the kitchen table of our very first house, and each made a list.
A ‘what do we want in our lives’ list.
I can’t even remember what I wrote.
I don’t even remember what he wrote.
Except for one thing.
When we each handed the other our list, I remember that one of his top items was, “I want to be able to get the kids off the bus sometimes.”
Gawd, I love that man.
With that one wish, our lives changed.
Oh, I’m not saying it was easy or tear-free (on his part, especially when he did the household financial projections including college tuition support… on one salary).
But was it worth it?
Is John now just shy of developing a nibbling-on-fingernails habit because The Plan called for me to go back to work when the kids were all in college, and ‘back to work’ seems to now indicate a career – not once again in international-high-tech-internet-something with a hippity-do-da lofty salary – but … gasp … as an aspiring writer?
Oh ya baby!
That man is just quaking in his … socks.
Right now he is wearing socks.
If I’d said ‘boots’ it would not have been authentic.
And authenticity in writing is what I’m all about.
So anyway, I’ll certainly share more about the ‘journey according to the list’ in future posts (remind me to tell you about my very first day as a stay-at-home-mom … not my finest hour (but very productive!).
In the mean time, stay warm.
The freakin’ groundhog was a Gawd-damned liar.
But I do sense that spring is indeed just around the corner.
Thanks for readin’.
p.s., more pictures of frozen maine from yesterday: