Baby, You Made My Decade
She stopped eating. Just like that. The childcare workers were frantic. Babies don't go without food for ten hours straight. But my girl did.
The doctor told us, "Some babies will go on a hunger strike if they're unhappy. Then the doctor asked, 'Has something changed in Sara's life?'" Well, yes. I'd gone back to work, and now, in her baby way my girl was saying, "Mommy, come home." Seven months old and she forced me to stand at the crossroads and choose: let her suffer, or quit my job.
How could I explain what she was asking me to forfeit? Could her infant heart understand the concept of identity and passion, needs and wants? I was a teacher. I loved my job. I went back to work, because I couldn't imagine life without this career I'd prepared for, prayed for, struggled to obtain.
For two weeks I faced the awful truth: my baby wanted me by her side and I could not be there if I kept my job. It was one of the hardest decisions I'd ever faced. But in the end, I couldn't ignore her plea.
I wish I could say that I quit my job and everything was joy from that day on. But no. I missed work. I missed my friends. I missed the social respect that came with having a "real" career. For three years I faced a new kind of loneliness that was only partly balanced by my love for my little girl.
Now the years have gone by, and today I am a home educator. Yes that's my refrigerator (above), cluttered with Greek and Hebrew letters. The feathered dress sculpture and the greenhouse are the work of my Sara's hands. The forsythia placed on my mug and photographed lovingly is the artistry of my second daughter Sonia.
It's been twelve years since I left my job as a teacher; but no, I didn't leave teaching at all. Still, I didn't know this when I stood at the crossroads and chose. I didn't know that encouragement was on the way and that sometimes it takes years to unfold. But I can say to my girl today, "Baby, you made my decade. Thank you so much for calling me home."
This story is offered to welcome the new site InCourage. Check it out; maybe you have a story to share too. The story is also told (albeit in a different form) in Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places.
More dress sculpture photos here.
Photos by L.L. Barkat. Dress sculpture and Greenhouse made by Sara B. Forsythia on Cup by Sonia B.
OTHER LL POSTS TO WELCOME InCourage:
Coming into Wild Roses, at Love Notes to Yahweh
Nothing in Return, at Seedlings in Stone