Approximately three years and almost a month ago, my contract ended with VCU Health Systems as a Resident Chaplain. Since that time, I have been a stay-at-home dad, and have experienced all the magnificence of serving that role, and also some of the hardships regarding personal identity, social interactions, career development, etc.... I've had the wonderful experience of candidly writing about being a stay-at- home dad. Shameless Plug. Most of all I've had the up and down struggle where I want to go back to work full time and having a difficult time finding employment, not ready to put the little one in school.
As the munchkin shows daily that she is, and has been ready for a preschool environment, I've allowed myself to really strive to go work full-time especially since the relocation to TN. As I made it Facebook official yesterday, I've been hired; and I am so lucky/thankful and I am actually blessed enough to land a "dream job."
(This is where the Full Circle part comes in.) I'm going back to the place where I started my employment the summer before my 9th grade year: the Y. I put about 10 seasons in at that facility, and when I left back then, it was reluctant. Yet my journey through today has equipped me to go back more prepared and ready to actually "go back". So, full circle? Sure. Giving back to the organization in the exact facility (with some updates/additions/improvements); giving back to the "home community"; and through some new programs some giving back to my elementary school/high school/undergrad and other schools in those systems. Excited? You better believe it!
Now here is the hard part: change. I'm a creature of habit. I like my routines. I have overall enjoyed the past three years and one month of non-employment/part-time employment. So on Monday, as I really commute to work for the first time, I'm taking the munchkin to preschool (at the church where I used to be Youth Minister...giving back.) All of that, well, scares and excites me, while eliciting a sadness regarding the end of our partnership in crime AND the fact that in a blink of my eye, she'll be 18 and going to college. Wasn't it just last month when she laughed for the first time? Last week she started walking? Yesterday talking? This morning riding her bike? Yeah, it feels that way. She's so small, but so big.
So as I readily and excitedly head back to the realm of full-time employment, I also drag my feet and envision her new teacher having to tell me, "She'll be okay. Aren't you late for work?" I'll agree. Rip it like a band-aid, and tearfully shuffle back to the Jeep, hoping that the one mile drive to work up Cook Drive gives me enough time to recollect myself.
Monday. It'll happen. We could use an extra prayer or two.
Speaking of Full Circle. When I started this stay at home gig, sometime after my wife reluctantly trudged off to work, but prior to 8am, Little Bit would wake up and need to be fed. I dutifully changed her, fed her, and rocked her right back down for the early(not time to start the day yet) nap. We would tuck in on the spare bed, pillows/wall blocking her on the right. My right arm shaped liked an "n" pulling her close to me. Essentially she was tucked in against me. We would sleep and log another 45min-60min of sleep. Slowly that dwindled and changed.
Today, while the Munchkin was refusing to take an afternoon nap, and I was trying to get one in before I lose all nap privileges, she shuffled down into our bedroom and hopped the bed. I asked, "wanna take a nap?" "In mommy-daddy's bed? Sure!" She scooted under the covers and scrunched right up to my right side, just like we used to do. Perfect way to end this chapter for me. Hope she'll try again tomorrow and Friday. Full Circle.