When I was a little girl, I had a very clear image of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be someone’s wife and have a baby. That was as far as I got. Nothing else really seemed fun.
As I got older, I realized that I one day, I would actually have to get a job. Go to college. Make money. Uuggggghhhhh…. People, I was gonna have to work.
At that point, I had no choice but to twist that “clear image” up a bit. I needed to figure out what I was going to be. Become. Do. For a living.
My first thought was to become a veterinarian. I loved animals….dogs, cats, and horses were at the top of my list. I thought it would be so much fun to go into my clinic every day and work with my furry patients. So, during my senior year of high school, I started to observe our veterinarian. The first surgery I watched being performed was the neutering of a huge German Sheppard. I passed out. So…….plan B.
My grandmother, dad, and aunt were all nurses, so I figured, “well…it’s in my blood…” So, after graduation, I applied and was accepted into Auburn University with Nursing as my declared major. I applied for a job at a surgical clinic in Auburn to get my foot in the door and began working just weeks after moving into my apartment. One of the things I had to do on a regular basis was add “before and after” pictures to patient charts. Most all of the pictures that I had to file made me completely nauseated & I quickly realized that if blood and guts were even slightly involved, nothing in the medical field was gonna cut it. And neither was that job. And there was no plan C.
I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and I was quite miserable, so I decided to move back home with the parents. And guess what…I met Rooster.After we had been dating for about 7 months, I enrolled in Columbus State University with Early Childhood Education as my major. I was pretty sure I could handle any blood I might see as a teacher and I really liked kids…and the idea of having summers off…so it was settled.
While I was in school, worked at two very prestigious private schools in my area. There, I was introduced to a totally different lifestyle. I babysat for some of the parents and let me tell you, the houses these people lived in were no joke. Everything was so expensive and huge. The kids were adorable. Their clothes….that was how I was going to dress my children. Their bedrooms….outside play houses…they were given everything and more. I wanted to be one of these mothers…one who had it all.
By the time Rooster and I had been dating for about a year, I was starting to hear wedding bells in my sleep. I fell in love with this guy and knew he was the one. We would talk about getting married and where we wanted to live. We would drive around in Green Island Hills and pick out the
houses mansions we loved the most. We talked about how we would afford all of this one day and I was super excited. Just hurry up and propose to me already, boy!
Two years later, I graduated with a BS in Early Childhood and began teaching 3rd grade at one of the local elementary schools. Four months into teaching, I married Rooster and
one 50% of my dreams had come true.
At this time, I was invited to join the Junior League. If you’ve never heard of the Junior League, Wikipedia defines it as this:
Junior Leagues are educational and charitable women’s organizations aimed at improving their communities through volunteerism and building their members’ civic leadership skills through training. According to its mission, “The Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. (AJLI) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.”
Becoming a member of an organization like this was truly flattering. All of the mothers I babysat for in when I was in college were League members. I knew so many of them and some of the husbands…this was going to be a great opportunity for me and Rooster. Junior League members are often very wealthy, well-educated, well-known, and extremely active in their communities….this is the lifestyle I wanted us to own.
I ended up absolutely hating my career as a teacher and when I say hate, which is an extremely strong word, I mean it. During my third year, I had my first baby and leaving her every morning made me absolutely miserable. So, not only did I not enjoy teaching, I also was getting somewhat depressed because I just wanted to be with my baby.
My dreams had now come true 100%, but I was miserable. Rooster, however, quickly came to the rescue. He let me quit my job to be home with my baby. Thank you Sweet Jesus.
So, now, everything was PERFECT. I was completely set up. I didn’t have to work and I was a member of the Junior League. I had a husband that loved me enough to take on all the financial burden alone, we had a great church family, we had friends and family that we loved dearly, and did I mention that I didn’t have to work and was a member of the Junior League???
Several years passed and by this time, Rooster and I had not only one, but two little girls, Maggie and Lola. I was happy and had everything that I wanted. My little girls were adorable. They had the most precious clothes, the cutest personalities….my husband was my everything..handsome and loving…we lived in a cute little house and I drove a nice car. We had made plans to put the girls into private school when they were of preschool age and every time I would think about it, I would get sick to my stomach.
It was now my 6th year of League Life. In the beginning, I went to all the meetings and some of the social functions. I had formed relationships with a few of the girls, but not many. I worked each year’s Attic Sale and volunteered just as I was supposed to, completing all of my hours.
However, when Maggie was 3 and Lola was 2, I started signing up to fulfill just the bare minimum of my community responsibilities. I started missing meetings…I started getting fined for not putting in time, and I didn’t care. I dreaded leaving Rooster and the girls. I would get ready for a meeting and decide right as I was walking out the door that I wasn’t going. The weight that would fall off my shoulders when I would turn around and walk back in was unreal. I had no desire to go out to dinner with women that I barely knew and pretend that I was interested in what they were talking about. It’s not that I didn’t like them, I just felt like me being there was a waste of everyone’s time. As much as I wanted it in the beginning, I just was not Junior League material. Like, at ALL.
If you were to go back and re-read this post, you’d remember that when I was a little girl, all I wanted to do when I grew up was get married and have a baby. That was my dream. That is what I wanted to be…a wife and a mother. Period. I mean, that’s what I wanted my career to be. Not a veterinarian, or a nurse, or a teacher. And definitely not a member of the Junior League. (no offense if you’re in the League)
After I finally realized I had been dressing up for Halloween on a daily basis for goodness knows how long, I left the League and I promise you, was not missed by any of them. And it was the best feeling. I was throwing away my costume… and the fact that no one really cared, was a bonus.
So, now I had a fresh start and I really wanted to figure out what God wanted me to do. He had been there all along…even before I declared my dreams as an innocent little girl.
I did have this yuck feeling when I thought about sending Maggie and Lola to school. I bet that there are a lot of moms, especially stay at home moms, who possess quite the opposite feeling. (chuckles...) It took me hardly any time to discuss with Rooster, the possibility of homeschooling them. After one conversation, it was a go.
Then we decided to quit using birth control. You can read all about that here.
So, we’re homeschooling and having lots of babies….and I’m still not working!
(That was totally a joke.)
But so much more changed. My understanding…our understanding…of what truly mattered most was flipped upside down. I mean, many of the things that were priorities before we had children were erased from our list. The things we wanted our children to learn or do…the way we wanted them to learn it…all of that changed. We realized so much. Rooster and I grew so much closer and felt so much more together. It was probably the most important time in our marriage so far.
We decided that we wanted to take our family in an entirely different direction. We wanted to move from the city to the country. We wanted to have animals that would work for us and we wanted to become more self-supporting. Gosh, we have so much to learn and are so far away from our ultimate goals, but we’re getting there.
I’ve realized that I love the simple life. Not that my life is simple, but it’s definitely not complicated like it once was. The small things make me smile.
When I look back at where I was 20 years ago to where I am right now, it almost makes me laugh. Not about where I was 20 years ago, but where I am right now. The things I do every day are comical, y’all. If you were a fly on the wall at my house, you would probably spend most of the day with your mouth wide open and your eyeballs as big as saucers, but as soon as you were spotted, Rooster would go get his Bug Assault Gun and that, my dear friend, would be the end of you.
Some days it’s a jungle around here…other days the circus comes to town. My house somehow turns into an amusement park and if I’m not looking, my kitchen can get transformed into a Golden Corral.
I am absolutely never ever shocked when I look into the bath tub and see that an entire tube of toothpaste has been completely squirted all over the place. Frogs are frequently invited by the little girls to take a bath with the little girls. Chickens have come into my house and layed eggs in my laundry room. The list y’all….I mean, I could write a book.
I guess my reason for writing this is to show that we are who we are. We change as we grow up and become adults, but the desires of our hearts that God instills in us never fade. Losing yourself can become devastating. Trying to be someone you aren’t is literally exhausting. Forgetting the things you love the most can turn you into a complete mess.
So, I had to learn some things the hard way. Not wearing shoes can really hurt my feet, but being barefoot & pregnant…perfect.