I had my first dream with dad in it last night. At least the first dream where I clearly remember talking to him and looking at him and knowing he was there. I think I had one other dream where I woke up with the vague feeling that “I had a dream with dad in it,” but I couldn’t recall any of the details.
Last night’s dream was awfully telling though. We were driving in a car. I was driving. Which is weird since if dad and I were going somewhere he almost always drove. He asked me abruptly, “So, what are you going to do?”
I knew what this question meant. It said so much more than just what are you going to do? He was also asking, “Why haven’t you started studying and getting everything together for going back to school? You’re supposed to be working towards your Masters in Elementary Education. That was the plan. That’s what we had figured out. That’s what I wanted you to do. So, what are you going to do?”
With my heart pounding hard (which always happened if I had to tell him something that I knew wouldn’t make him happy), I said, “I don’t know, dad.” (How honest). “I’m trying to take some time and figure out what I want to do…what I want to be when I grow up.”
He gave me a look that said a lot. His look meant, “Well, what’s taking you so long? Why don’t you have a plan?”
I shot my best sullen teenager look at him followed by an eye roll. Clearly I was saying, “DUH, dad. I’m taking my time and not sure what to do with my life because the rug was pulled out from under me when you suddenly died…weeks after setting up this plan.”
His return look clearly says exactly what he wants for me, “But getting your Masters will give you job security and retirement savings.” (Always the practical one, my dad.)
“I don’t think I can be a full-time teacher and a full-time mom.” And then I finally get the nerve to say what I was never able to say in real life, “I don’t want to.”
I woke up. I woke up with the feeling in my gut that I’m disappointing my parents. My dad.
My heading back to school plan, was all dad’s idea. He saw how I struggled to line up more music classes for this school year. Obviously, there’s very little job security in running my own little business, in trying to line up more venues. It’s hit or miss. You can’t count on it. And you certainly don’t get any benefits – health insurance or retirement savings plans – from it.
Whether he was thinking of himself (like, he knew the end was near somehow) or if it was the obvious – the fact that Mike’s had Cancer twice – and therefore, we’d be really smart (and stupid not) to have a plan in place where I can immediately work and support myself and the kids should something happen to him. It was with all this in mind – looking out for my future security – that prompted the discussion of my going back to school.
I get it. I get that that’s the practical thing that I should do. I understand that that would be smart. I talked myself into the plan, and I had gotten mostly excited about the idea. But deep down, underneath it all, I just still didn’t want to. It wasn’t my plan. My plan (and Mike’s plan, therefore our plan) was that once Kayli is in school full-time I work to add more music classes. Maybe I get something that’s a more permanent gig – being the part-time music teacher in a preschool or private school – but also sticking with my business as THAT makes the most economical sense for the time spent. I’m also REALLY good at it. And I think (when my life is normal and I’m not in mourning), I think that I really like it. It’s hard right now to say.
So, I was going to teach music classes still – more, if possible – but only part-time so that I can also write. And take time to come off of my anti-depressants from the postpartum depression…from my now 7 YEAR old baby. I was going to be available to occasionally volunteer in the kids’ classrooms, maybe even chaperone a field trip or two. I’ve never been able to do that since I’ve still got my little side-kick at home. I want to be home before school and after school. I want to be here if someone gets sick and needs to stay home from school.
I want to get a dog. I want to have a dog that I can take for a long run in the middle of the day after starting laundry, putting dinner in the crockpot and when I’m having writer’s block. Does this sound like a totally self-involved, greedy, lazy plan? Am I really contributing to our family and society and the rest of God’s peeps, if I go for a run in the middle of the afternoon when I could be teaching other people’s children or working or somehow impacting the greater good?
Greedy? Maybe. Probably a little.
That was my plan. But now I question everything. What do I do? What do I even want to do? What makes me happy? What would be practical (and therefore, the smart, mature, provider-for-our-children) decision?
I don’t know. Which is why right now my decision is to do nothing. To not change anything. To try to just keep on keepin’ on.