For the first time in 15 years, I am not on the soccer fields this weekend.
It is the kick-off weekend for our fall season, and the début for both my boys on their high school varsity team. And I am not there.
Instead, I am doing something for myself, and the people of Canada who are fighting the good fight against cancer. I am the headliner for the Yoga4Hope festival in Windsor, so I am doing a good thing.
Yet, I am pretty sure a lightning bolt is going to strike me down.
How did I get here? It’s a long journey to letting go of the ones you love, but sometimes it is necessary if they are to take flight on their own. It’s also a long journey to “no.”
You see, everyone knows I am easy. Do you need someone to organize a fundraiser? Sure, no problem. Do you need to create packages of booster club spirit products? I can do that too. Bake cookies for a sale? On it.
But this year was different. First, I got a little sick—nothing uber-serious it turned out—but it was enough of a scare to get my priorities straight and put myself first.
Then, I was invited to teach the Canadian festival. I said no last year because I couldn’t miss the opening day of soccer! But this year I said, “Opportunity has just knocked twice. What are the odds it will come around again?”
For parents everywhere, September is a time of sign-up sheets and PTO meetings. We are often judged by how much time we can spend at the fundraisers and in our children’s schools. It can feel like the parent Olympics.
But this year I said “No!”
Please don’t think that I am skipping off to the mall with all my spare time. I am doing something much more important. After 15 years of staying home with my children, I am finally paying a little attention to—wait for it—me!
Here is the thing: When a caretaker takes 15 years off from her career to raise children, the world doesn’t wait. It went on without me, and I want back in.
Finally, I am able to begin again, to write and travel for work and find my way. Although I don’t regret the time I spent in the home, it’s freaking hard to start over. Not to mention the salary it cost me.
But I’m not going to lie. I’m about to teach the biggest class of my life and I’m thrilled. I hope I can make a difference in other people’s lives who suffer with cancer.
I know my boys will be fine. They will have their début on Varsity which they earned with years of hard work. Each had broken bones and torn ligaments. One threw up at try-outs.
This is their moment, not mine.
But the 500 miles a week I put on the family car driving them to practices and games, the years I spent on the field, the hours I spent laughing and crying at their ups and downs, this earned me a place on the sidelines today.
Yet, I have let go so my boys can fly, and I can stumble along as we find our way in the world.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise