Her words helped change my story.
Just because I didn’t physically birth my daughter doesn’t mean I didn’t deal with typical new-mom emotions. I was so excited to cuddle with seven-hour-old baby that I chose her over sleep. It was surreal pulling away from the hospital with this little, tiny baby girl in our back seat. I wanted to show her off the world and tell our story. And when it came time to go back to work, I didn’t want to go.
But I did. Mostly because I told my boss I would be back when Cate was six weeks old.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I could be a reporter and a mom. For three months, I managed to do OK at both, but I knew when Cate started walking and talking, managing to get by wouldn’t be enough.
I depended on my job for insurance and our family’s predictable every-other-week income. I knew getting on another insurance plan wouldn’t be easy because of pre-existing condition of Type 1 Diabetes. And my husband work. In fact, he worked hard. But he was and is self-employed. I may not have made tons of money, but I knew exactly what my check would be.
These two things weighed heavily on my heart.
But I’d look into my daughter’s gorgeous brown eyes and know she needed me more than I needed the comforts of security.
Yet, still, making the decision to quit my job as a busy small-town reporter was hard. Mostly because I really loved it.
I talked to many, many people about it. Pretty much everyone encouraged me to stay home with Cate. Nothing my friends and family members said was new: Your kids are only small once. This season of life will fly by. The early years of life are the most formative. If you can do it financially, do it. You can always go back to work when the kids are in school.
But one conversation brought clarity.
I was in Louisville, where my family lives, for my sister’s wedding the first weekend of August 2007, making Cate just 3 months old. After my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandpa and cousins had [mostly finished] dinner at Outback Steakhouse, my crying baby and I were outside the restaurant. I’m sure I was willing the breath of fresh air to calm Cate, but, truthfully, I don’t remember how I was feeling or what I was thinking.
But I do know this quit-or-not-to-quit question was weighing heavily on my heart and mind. My aunt Kim ended up outside with me and we talked about motherhood and jobs and decisions and purpose.
I don’t remember her words, but I remember her sentiment. Life goes fast. This baby won’t be a baby for long. She’ll grow up fast. You don’t want to miss any of it.
Something inside of me clicked. What was in my heart made it to my head. And I had clarity, with much thanks to my aunt who happens to also be the same woman who gave me my first Bible as a Christmas present when I was in high school.
In my heart I knew I wanted to be really good at one important thing and not settle for being decent and two things. God put my family together like he saw fit. And I needed to care for my family with everything I had.
Soon after I came to this decision, I told my boss I’d be quitting the job I loved and studied to do because I had another job to do. This new job required me stepping out in faith, giving up some security and dependence on things of this world, and trusting the promises of God. For myself. For my husband. And for Cate.
Not once have I regretted that decision. But I have come back to that blurry conversation with my aunt. Cate may only be 3 1/2 years old, but I have seen enough to know Kim and everyone else was right. I don’t want to miss this because it’s certainly not going to be like this for long.
Compassion International wants to hear stories of someone’s words changing your life. I’m sharing mine, even though I was 28 years old. This moment not only changed my life, but my daughter’s and now my son’s too. Feel free to share yours too.