It sits, ignored, in a darkened room with a concrete floor. It sits, on the bottom rack of a metal shelf, amongst luggage and boxes and Christmas decorations and a stray lamp shade. It sits, gathering dust in a liminal space between where the laundry is folded and the tools wait to be used.
It proclaims, in an ancient language I never learned to read, that I succeeded. Its crimson crest and gold seal announce that a woman whose name I no longer bear accomplished a long-sought goal.
It hung, for years, proudly in a room with windows, visible for all to see and projecting an aura of confidence and seriousness that I never felt really fit me.
But now it waits in the dark.
Certainly the process by which it came to its new home was torturous—I was confused and sad and angry, very, very angry. Angry, I think, at a world that promised me a dream, a balance, that I couldn’t make happen, no matter how I tried. And I grieved for the woman I was and for those dreams.
He doesn’t know that it’s there. He hasn’t noticed it. Apparently it’s not as interesting as the mop that lives near it. He has no idea how much earning it cost me. And he certainly doesn’t understand how and why it came to be where it is now. Or the sacrifice that the move entailed.
But he does understand the consequence of its new home. He knows that if he if he is scared or hurt, I come running. That the tickle attack or reading session will go on as long as he likes. That we walk, hand in hand, wherever he wants. In his mind, we spend every day laughing and playing together—there is no other option. I love that, and I love my time with him.
That’s why, for now, it waits.
Life on the Mama Track supports all women in whatever career and family decisions they choose. This post is meant neither as a recommendation for staying home nor an indictment of working full-time. It is simply my story.