I have been thinking about how easy it was for me to decide---on the spot----to transfer my care to the doctor I consulted with last week. I am usually not a snap decision maker. I have an innate tendency to cogitate over options before committing. I think I am doing less of that with age, and I’m glad. Maybe I have finally learned that few things in life are irreversible.
My dad was the first person who influenced my decision-making. After working 1 day in the local nursing home (senior year) as a nurse’s aide, I came home and said I was not going to work there…..I was going to quit. I did not like old people, I did not like the smells, I did not like the hard work. My dad said to me, “You will not quit after one day. You are going to give it a week. You work 5 shifts and if you still feel that way, fine. But you need to give it a chance.”
What was my career choice? Gerontology. It was an easy choice. Dad, have I ever thanked you enough for your tough love that day?
When it came to deciding on my first job, I had several options. Once again, Dad said to me, “Mary, all other things being equal, take the job that scares you the most. It will be the one that challenges you the most.” I did just that. And I grew by leaps and bounds.
Deciding to marry Dick was something that evolved after the two of us dated for 2 years and had many long and winding discussions about the subject. It was a decision long in the making, but it was the right decision, and easy to make once we were sure.
I think the easiest decision I have ever made was deciding to put my career on hold and stay home to raise our son. With a goal of getting back to work in 2-3 weeks, I was absolutely blindsided by the intense love I felt for this precious miracle, and I knew right away that I wanted to be the one to raise him. I was a fairly large fish in a fairly large pond career-wise, but it all paled next to the option of leaving my boy in someone else's arms every morning.
We knew that the greatest day care in the entire city could not give Sam what I could. Who would spend hours reading books to him each day? Who would stimulate him intellectually like I would? Who would spend long lazy chunks of time snuggling together, whispering words to each other that only we understood? Who was going to spend one-on-one time with him building forts, talking about Jesus, teaching him about consequences of actions, and singing silly songs? I wanted my shoulder soaked with his tears. I wanted my camera to capture his first step. I wanted my voice to comfort him and laugh with him during the day. Who could love him like his mama could?
Yes, he would be safe and fed and have activities at day care, but he would not have his mama, and in that role, I knew we only had a one-shot opportunity to give him the best start in life we could. We had a 5-year window before he would be influenced by peers and teachers. And I wanted to fill that window with the security, love, family values, confidence, creativity and structure that I knew all children needed ( I loved Developmental Psychology!) and that WE felt was best given by a parent.
Dick and I believed without a moment’s hesitation that putting my career on hold and going to a one-income family was the absolute right decision for us and for our son. Jobs are always there, we decided. I was given this incredible honor and gift to be this baby boy's mom and I wanted to savor every single moment. It was an easy decision, Oh, such an easy decision. And one that still bears fruit today.
The philosopher Pythagoras once said that choices are the hinges of destiny. I like that image. You open doors and you shut doors with your decisions. Which way the hinges bend is always in your hands. I feel as though I opened a large door with my decision about “hiring” a new oncologist. It feels right. I feel that “peace that passes all understanding.” It too feels like a decision that will bear fruit in years to come.
As for our decision to remodel our bathroom and rec rooms? Perhaps not wrong, but certainly painful. As I put on my Facebook status, if I EVER mention home renovation to anyone again, please shoot me. The only thing THAT decision is bearing is our frustration and impatience!!