My Resume

16 08 2009

I’ve been looking up old friends on Facebook, which has been a lot of fun.  The only difficulty comes when they ask, “So what have you been doing for the last eighteen years?”


Surely I must have done something!  Let me think.  I had four kids.  Yeah.  Oh- and I cleaned a lot.

What a great summary of the profit of nearly two decades!  I have friends who started their own company, an ex-roomate who became an international real estate princess, an old boyfriend “in publishing,” several friends with great-sounding jobs like “Principal of an exclusive fine arts school,” “Head Coach,” or “Software Guru.”

Me?  I’m the queen of all I survey: a sink full of dishes, a hamper full of clothes, and a yard full of kids that could, frankly, use a bath.


I must do something to buck up my spirits.  After all, my life can’t have been as boring as all that, or all my friends would fall asleep when I talk to them.  What have I been doing for the last 20 years?

Well, I went to college at the USC honors college in Columbia.  I met my first husband, took a trip to England and France back-packing around and staying in youth hostels.  I didn’t write a book about it, for which the world should be grateful.  For four years I had a great time in academia, reading literature of all kinds, writing 50-page papers, learning French, exploring science, and taking drawing classes.

In my free time I worked at a real estate office, eventually moving from receptionist to personal assistant.  I did exciting things like typing and drawing ad material for post cards.  I graduated Suma cum Laude and got married in the same month.  Sadly, the marriage only lasted a couple of weeks, though we drug the dead body around trying to revivify it for several more months before separating.

In the next year, I went back to school to become a nurse, met my current husband, got pregnant, finished my second year of my RN degree and finalized my divorce.  With an on-going talent for multi-tasking I remarried and had my baby in the same month.

After this my history becomes blurry, not so much because nothing happened as much as because I didn’t get a full night’s sleep at any point in the next ten years.  I left nursing school when my husband got a new job in another city.  We moved seven times in three years.  We lived in Canada for about nine months, I remember that.  Donal grew like an over-fertilized weed.  We had a second baby in a home-birth, a daughter, who continues to delight us both.  I continued to live to sleep.  Neal came and went on consulting jobs.  My conciousness kind of came and went, too.  We spent some of our leisure time playing around in the SCA.  Neal made himself a suit of armor, I sewed dresses for me and cute clothes for the kids.  I read a lot of library books while I sat on the porch and watched the children play in the sand box.  We finally paid off our school debts.  I struggled with depression, and Neal took care of me.

At some point my nerves and my health broke.  Neal moved me in with his parents so I could have some help with the kids and care while he was consulting.  I eventually took a small apartment in the same town with them, and Neal continued to fly home when he could.  Finally, he found a job that didn’t require travelling, and we moved to Wilmington.

In the next eight years, we bought two houses and had two more children.  I received Christ, we joined a church, I joined a homeschooling group and began schooling my children.  I spent two years writing a humor column for a local Christian news monthly.  We grew a garden, kept chickens, and adopted some cats.  I served on the board of the homeschool group for about four years.  We took a couple vacations, celebrated a lot of birthday parties, made some friends, and renovated our house.  I can remember that it all seemed like a good idea at the time, but I was still only semi-concious through most of it.

Finally, Neal lost his job in the middle of the renovation.  Unable to find work in Wilmington, we scurried to finish & sell the house, and moved here.  We’ve been here nearly two years.  All of my children are finally sleeping through the night.  Most of them are potty-trained.  We continue to homeschool.  I’m trying to paint the house.  I spend most of my time trying to balance the budget and balance our diet.  I teach.  I research learning methods.  I do a little painting, a little writing.  I try to be a good and loving friend, but sometimes I let important things slip.  I still read a lot of library books.

I guess this year has been a watershed year for me.  I’ve been homeschooling for eight years.  I have fifteen to go.  We’ve had our last child (I’m pretty sure- adoption’s still an option).  One of my best friends died last month in a freak accident, I’ve been having some health problems, and the question of mortality is nibbling on the edges of my mind.  I’m nearly 40.  When I was eighteen people used to say I “had a lot of potential.”  Now they say I have four kids.

I really can’t think of anything to say when people ask what I’ve been up to for the last eighteen years except that I’ve had four kids.  I’m afraid those two statements are going to be bracketed on my gravestone: “She had potential and she had four kids.”  The summary of my life.

I still feel, vaguely, that something wonderful is supposed to happen to me between the time that I was born and the time that I will die.  I think a lot of people would be happy with what I have: a home, a husband, a church, a family.  But I keep peering around corners hoping for the suprise, the rainbow, the sudden, unexpected, glittering wonder that will make all the other stuff look ordinary.  The culmination.  The prize at the bottom of the box.  The pinnacle.  The moment when I know who I am and why I am here, that moment in which I know that I know that I know that I fulfilled God’s calling on my life.

Is it irrational to look for something like that?  Or are the every day wonders all I will get?  I’ve had quite a few of those- wild cherries off a tree on a dawn walk, baby kisses, lilies from my husband, perfect sunsets, walks in the snow, birthday surprises, and tearful hugs.  Maybe this is all anyone gets.  Maybe the quote is true: “There are no extraordinary things, only ordinary things done with extraordinary love.”

But something in me just won’t stop hoping.  Maybe in the next 36 years, maybe there will be something wonderful…




One response

26 09 2009

I love your resume! It looks like pretty cool stuff, from here. Keep your eyes and mind sharp, so that when opportunities come you can make good and thoughtful choices.

But it would be a shame to let your own expectations of what a faithful life is “supposed to look like” interfere with your true sense of how much you have, how much you’ve accomplished.

Things to keep in mind:

(1) I was well into my 40s before I obtained my first software patent,

(2) I got many many MANY rejections before my first manuscript was accepted for publication,

(3) Although I’ve been able to travel a good bit (most recently to Queensland / GBR for leatherback and green turtle studies), it has all been WORK related, and there’s only a day or so at each location to actually enjoy the scenery etc.,

(4) Megan’s chess tournaments are just annoying. USCF wanted to fly us all to St Louis early for a photo session, but there’s an ELKS convention (of all things) in the same hotel as the Women’s Championship tournament, and there are no rooms available that week. None.

(5) So, when life seems cooler or more important in the other guy’s yard, remember: It’s your Resume. Not the right time to be fact-oriented. Take my lead in 1 thru 4 above, just make some stuff up. O:-)

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