“Hi Mom, what’s up?” My tone was regrettably more clipped than it should have been. Though I enjoyed talking to my mom, I couldn’t afford the interruption at work. Sometimes Mom liked to prattle on about the latest activities at her church, and I really hoped this wasn’t one of those times.
“Shane called me from school. He said he forgot his lunch.”
“Why’d he call you? Why didn’t he call home?” Shane is our oldest son and was in the fifth grade. I was perplexed as to why he would phone his grandparents about his forgotten lunch, when they lived almost an hour away. Our house, where my husband has his office, is less than a mile from our son’s school.
“He said he tried calling home, but his dad didn’t answer.” That’s right. He’s at a client appointment.
“So why didn’t he call me?” Though in the next town, my office was about a ten minute drive from Valley Elementary.
Mom hesitated briefly before answering. “I asked him the same thing. He said you’re very busy on a really important project, and he’s not supposed to bother you.”
I don’t remember the rest of the conversation with Mom. Something about I’d take care of it, thanks for calling, bye.
As I flipped open the rolodex in search of the school’s phone number, my husband called to say he was home, heard Shane’s message, and would deliver the forgotten lunch.
I methodically replaced the receiver on the cradle, turned away from the transparent office door, and let the warm tears flow unabatedly.
Why hadn’t Shane phoned me? Where did he ever get the idea that…?
I know we never told our ten-year-old son that he couldn’t call me. Or had we? Did he want to call when he got home from school, but my husband would tell him not to bother me? Had he tried calling sometime, only to be told by the secretary that I was in a meeting and couldn’t be disturbed?
And I know we never told him I was working on a really important project. Except…I was away 50-60 hours a week… I worked weekends and into the nights…I was not at home when my boys woke up in the mornings. And just months earlier, I had escorted our youngest son to his first day of kindergarten, kissed him good-bye, and headed straight to the airport to board a plane and be gone for an entire week.
So maybe we never said, “Mommy is very busy on a really important project and you can’t bother her,” but we sure were living it.
Thus began an intense, gut-wrenching assessment of my priorities. How had it come to this? Why did I thrive on the accolades I received from successful board presentations, speaking at conferences, analyzing computer reports? Why did I sprint from a stress-filled day at work to volunteer at school activities, charity organizations, church committees, and youth sports programs?
Why did I crave the titles of Assistant Vice President, Product Manager, Treasurer, Prayer Chain Coordinator, or board member? Why must I display my degree and my titles and my awards for all to see?
What’s wrong with being “Mommy,” and only Mommy?
That morning, my son’s call pierced my heart. That night, my husband and I hit our knees. And in that moment, God transformed our lives.
Could I really take a break from my worldy self- importance? Could we survive without my salary—which accounted for more than half of our household income?
And what about my college education? Wouldn’t it be wasted if I were home? What would I say when people asked me what I did for a living? Well, I used to have a really important position at a bank, but now I’m just a stay-at-home Mom.
After passionate prayer time, and overwhelming affirmation from God, my husband and I knew without a doubt that I had to come home—full time.
So, on my oldest son’s eleventh birthday, I handed my letter of resignation to my boss. And one month later, I walked out of my picture window office with the oak desk and plush executive chair, for the very last time.
And two days later, for the very first time, I truly appreciated and celebrated Mother’s Day.
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