I was offered a job.
A big, real job.
Instead of feeling excited, I felt a little sad, and unclear, because I have a tiny, beautiful job right now.
The big, real job could also be beautiful and the realness and the money would be good for my future.
I have done a poor job with making my life about my future.
I mostly make my life about my present.
I care a great deal about whether things are good, ethical and nice, which doesn't always fit with a future plan.
My mother said "I don't think you should take it. It's not you, to be concerned with a career."
Which felt a little hurtful, because I feel like my work with children has been a career, but I know what she meant, I had not, in my life been very concerned with keeping up with the Jones.
That much is certainly true.
"Mom, I am going to be eating cat food, if I'm not more mindful about laying the groundwork for the future."
"You can live with me, I don't eat cat food, besides, I'm going to die soon, you can have everything that's mine."
My mother is not what anyone would call gentle, or sentimental.
She was a teen mom, a single mom, that worked very hard for her numerous successes.
When I was a child she was in the Army reserves and would go on active duty from time to time, always telling me cheerfully, as she walked out the door, "you make them bury me, if something happens! Don't spend a dime of our money!"
I knew my duties well as a child; keep my brother in line, keep the house together.
Don't be a schnook.
Don't get taken.
Don't be anyone's fool.
Act as good as you look.
Look good so no one will think you are trashy.
My mother grew up with farm people, with self made parents, that worked sun up to sundown, and the notion self expression or self esteem was foreign.
I was always my grandmother's pet. Allowed to be inside when the other children had to play outside and stay out from underfoot. Allowed to be sentimental and gentle and pampered a tiny bit.
My grandparents cared for special needs foster children, all through my mother's childhood and mine.
Cared for them like they were their own.
There was always a heavy burden similar to noblesse oblige that permeated our family, and while I feel like my work path has followed, my mother would characterize me as very self directed.
My grandparents were utterly horrified and perplexed by my career choices, by my liberal arts education.
"All that money, to wind up wiping butts!" My grandmother would say, and shake her head.
I chatted a bit online recently with an old boyfriend, and we both agreed that the most significant thing in our adult lives, is that we have a nice family.
He wrote in praise of his wife and children.
I feel lifted up when someone understands my perspective in that way.
"I think you will be FANTASTIC, in this role", the lady that offered me the job said.
I think I will be fantastic in this role too.
I think I will be driven and passionate and fantastic and a little different from the usual person that usually does the job.
I will feel a deep sense of duty and purpose to do a good job, I will avoid cat food.