Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What Makes You Stay

My dad & stepmom just got new carpeting in the entire house, plus new living room & bedroom furniture. That probably doesn't sound like such a huge deal. But let's consider that they've been married for 15+ years. Most of the decorating in that house was done by my dad's second wife or my mom. It's not that he particularly enjoyed the decor that was in the house. He just didn't see the point in changing things, because he wasn't sure that my stepmom was going to stick around.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, the downstairs portion of the house (the garage area) was almost completely flooded. The majority of the things that got ruined belonged to my stepmom. As they were putting stuff in a dumpster, she turned to my dad and said, "Do you believe me now when I say I'm staying?"
I was asked to take on a pretty big project earlier this year. It was a chance a lot of people I know would have jumped at. I didn't walk in to it blindly. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, and it continues to be. And I love it. I love the late nights, the spreadsheets, the emails. What I didn't anticipate was being called the names that I have been or the threats that have been directed towards me. It would be so easy for me to wash my hands and say, "I'm done. Someone else needs to take over. It's not worth it." But it is... it IS worth it. And there are these amazing, once in a lifetime moments that have come from being part of this that I wouldn't trade for the world. So I stay.
What makes you stay? What makes you look at everything around you, everything that points to the fact that you should walk away, and still decide to stay? How do you know when it's worth it, despite what others say? When your heart is tired, what makes you hang in there?

1 comment:

Nanda said...

Hi Abbie,
Wow, that is a powerful blog.
Beautiful, beautifully written, sensitive.
What makes me stay? I know it sounds soft, but the answer is: my kids. I was in my last year at university when I found out I was pregnant. It was a big shock to me and my boyfriend, now husband. I was slightly behind on a few courses and I still had my final internship to do. I started my internship and finished it well into my third trimester. I still had all these courses to finish. I did, it took me four years to wrap everything up, which means that in total it took me eight years to get my degree. In the meantime we had two kids, took care of my mother in law, bought a house, had my mother in law's funeral, etc.
As soon as our son was born, I knew, I wanted to stay at home. I am the government's nightmare. I am a highly educated woman and I decide to stay at home with our kids. It cost us a lot of money, it cost me my career, it cost me "friends", it cost us a bigger house/car/holidays, whatever.
But you know what, it was worth it! We are happy, relatively stress-free and in awe of our children. We enjoy the little things. When we look at other people with their big careers, we think, wow,look at what they have. But we also think: look at what they have missed.
We choose the simple things in life. We let go of the materialistic side of life. What makes it worth it? When one of our kids say: I am so happy that you are always there. I am so happy that I get to cuddle with you in the middle of the day.
Those quotes are worth more than the lottery jackpot. When the kids say: I love you mom. Just like that, out of the blue.
Deciding to be a stay at home mom was quite an easy decision. To stay a stay at home mom...it was hard. There were times that I screamed, there were times that I wanted to run. And I ran a couple of times, as soon as my husband walked in the door, I walked out and stayed out for a couple of hours. Now they are in school, so it gets easier with regards to time for myself.
My heart is tired, it has been for years. But then again, we have children and I consider them my heart that has grown a head, arms and legs. That is what children are, thery are your heart, and whether your own heart is tired or not, you keep going, you keep loving, you keep hanging on.
Big hugs,