Friday, April 6, 2012
How I Got Here
I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I'm not sure what influenced me more--the teachings of the Church regarding the divinity of motherhood or my mom's own powerful example of motherhood. When I was a child and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always responded that I wanted to be a mom.
When I was in college, it didn't feel like it would work out. As a senior in high school, I steadily dated a young man who went on his mission during our freshman year of college. When he returned home, we dated a little bit but it didn't go anywhere. As I look back I recognize that it was mostly my fault. I was impatient and didn't want to wait around for him to make his move, so I moved on. In the end, the next young man broke my heart and moved on to someone else. The damage I had done to the first relationship was irreparable, and I graduated from college still single, somewhat broken-hearted, and wondered if my dream of being a wife and mother would ever come to pass.
Being single opened up a world of possibilities. I toyed with the idea of taking the LSAT and applying for law school, just because I could. It seemed a romantic, exciting prospect (too much TV). I also considered serving a mission. Another option was to go for a graduate degree. However, I went with the last option, which was to find a job in the field for which I had studied and start my career.
That field was elementary education. In the year 2000, it seemed almost everywhere in the southwest needed teachers. In states like California and Arizona, you didn't even need certification. They offered emergency certification for your first year, higher pay than almost everywhere else, and you could get certified during that year. I decided to try California. It was an exciting prospect to move to California.
I took a job teaching second grade in a tiny school district in a little town in the high desert area of Los Angeles County. I took that job after interviewing and meeting with several principals in school districts all over Southern California and even one in Northern California. The job just felt like the right one for me.
And so it was. I moved to Southern California to my very own apartment. I didn't know a soul. The first thing I did upon deciding that was the job for me was to find the LDS Institute. I found a place to live on recommendation from some other teachers. I also met a few teachers at my school who were LDS and they helped me through the transition. My parents were far away in Michigan; my brothers in Japan and England and Utah, and the nearest family I had was my aunt in Northern California. I started attending Institute every Wednesday night and the local singles ward on Sundays and all other activities. I was very busy, teaching, attending school meetings, singles ward activities, and Institute classes whenever I could.
Through Institute, I met a young man who was recently returned from his mission. Our courtship was very fast, about one month, and our engagement was about six months. We got married on June 21, 2001. We stayed in Southern California for one more year while I taught school and he finished his associate's degree at the local junior college, playing football and also working.
We moved to Idaho with the intent for him to finish school. I found a job teaching a bilingual kindergarten. He worked part-time at Sears and part-time as a second grade teacher's assistant. I became pregnant, and our circumstances changed. So we packed up and moved back to California, where my husband got his old job back on the fast track to management and I stopped teaching and became a stay-at-home mom.
Since then, I have devoted my time and energy to making motherhood my career. I have struggled on and off with the isolation of it all, but recently have realized that this is my dream life. I always wanted to be a mom and be the primary caregiver to my children, stay at home with them, and teach them, and I get to do that. I am so grateful for that.