I once had a career in the exciting field of public safety as a 911 operator/dispatcher. It was a chaotic, stressful, unbelievably demanding career that absolutely thrilled me! Every time I went to work, put that headset on, and answered the call, I knew that I was born for it. The job was designed just for me, and I wanted to continue in the position for many years to come.
It wasn’t meant to be.
I miss the days of employment with “my” officers, working hard to get them information as quickly and efficiently as possible. I still have dreams (nightmares?) of answering phones, toning paramedics, and closing radio channels for emergency traffic. I still get irritated when a phone goes unanswered after two rings. I feel disappointment when I hear stories of pursuits that I couldn’t be a part of, although this might not be a sane reaction to such a thing. There are many days when I long to put on my headset again, listen to that slight white noise in between calls, try to manage bathroom breaks, and talk to people in their worst moments to see if I might be able to make their difficult times any better. To see if I might be a part of saving their day. To bear witness with them in their darkest moments, and let them know they aren’t alone.
But God has given me a new task.
I must admit, I haven’t been all that graceful about taking on the role of Homemaker. Coming from adrenaline-filled days full of mayhem to ones filled with dirty diapers, 1st grade homework, and snotty noses has been a huge transition for me. I’m no longer fighting off panic and disaster – I’m scaring away boredom and hunger pains. I haven’t done especially well with my own company. And although talking to oneself seems to be a natural side effect of dispatching, it has grown worse with “Mommy Brain.”
Now, with the routine of dishes to be done and laundry to be washed, with dinners to plan and soccer practices beginning, with an eight month old who wipes baby food or drools all over every item of clothing I put on him…I feel a familiar feeling.
These are MY boys. I will do anything to protect them. I will give up whatever is necessary to get them what they need. I will go without meals, hurry through bathroom breaks, work through all the emotions of the day – just to be sure they are cared for while they are with me. One day, I won’t have my baby boy to cuddle with or stare at while he sleeps. One day, my seven year old will stop blowing me kisses as he shuffles backwards from the car to the school door. One day, I will miss all of this boring routine.
One day, it will hit me just as hard as my last day of dispatching did. My boys will watch out for each other. They will keep each other as safe as possible. Even when I can’t be there to help. Especially when I can’t be.
But in the here and now, I will strive to do my best work. I will be present.
I will cherish every moment.