I packed the kids up today and drove ninety minutes to visit my sister, who is currently attending my alma mater. She actually is an RA on the same floor I lived on ten years ago this semester, her room just around the corner and down the hall from my old room. I stood there today, with my children, looking at the door to my old dorm room.
“Look,” I said, “There is where Mommy used to live.”
“Oh,” Joshua replied. “Can we go get hot dogs now?”
My son hangs around my neck as I type this, lost in memories of college. I was headed to law school, but my advisor recommended that I work a few years as I would stand a better chance of acceptance then.
I never went to law school, never finished graduate school, never even worked a job that required a degree. In the eyes of the college I graduated from, I am most certainly a failure. They pride themselves on their high acceptance rate into graduate and professional school, they tell all prospective students about the large percentage of students who go on to high profile, well paying careers. My beat up, 1998 Chevy Lumina looked strange in the parking lot today next to the current students’ late model cars.
I tell myself it is okay to have chosen a low paying, low status, dead end career. And it is.
You see, I met my husband because of my job. Had I not decided to totally change gears and go to paramedic school, there would be no Joshua climbing up my back right now, no Olivia whining in the living room because she wants a bottle and to go to bed. My apartment in the other life would be clean; no toys scattered across the living room or board game pieces piled high on top of my desk. I would have a wonderful career that I’m sure I would love.
But not love as much as the sticky fingers running through my hair, the little voice yelling, “Come on, Mommy! Let’s play a game!”
There are a thousand roads we can walk down, a million paths we can choose. And perhaps more than one is right, and more than one road will lead to happiness.
But only one could lead me here, and for that one choice so many years ago and the hundreds of choices that led up to it, I am everlastingly grateful.