I knew what I was signing up for when I got my first job as soon as I turned 16. Responsibility, income, a new role. But I always took pride in working for my money. I may not have managed it very well when I was younger (and I’m still sometimes an impulse buyer), but it was my money. It wasn’t full time by any means since I was still in high school, but after school duty was calling… so I went.
I joined the military on active duty at 19, had a kid by 22, and deployed by 23. My squadron told me I was deploying when my oldest was still new to this world at five months old, with six months to prepare for my upcoming deployment. After her first birthday, shortly after Christmas, just a few really short weeks later I was at the airport (deployment bags in hand and my daughter on my hip) and the woman on the intercom said it was the last call for boarding. My overseas duty was calling and as my heart shattered, I had to go.
I came back from said deployment, eager to see my daughter, and ready to be home. I was speed walking through the airport, passing the much needed restrooms, but I didn’t care I’d pee my pants if it came down to it. I was coming down the hallway and could hear the distant laughter of my daughter drawing nearer and nearer. My
duty lifeline was calling in a sing-song of laughter…and faster than lightning, did I go.
Monday through Friday I work a 9-5 (it’s really an 8:30-5 but who’s tracking?). I work for someone who has made their dream a reality. I invest my time so I can reap the reward of a middle class paycheck to be able to help provide for my family. So Monday through Friday at 8:30 am as I pay someone else to help raise my children, I have a duty to fulfill… so I go.
I worked all week and looked forward to this weekend… until I realized I may no longer be active duty but I am still in the reserve and instead of enjoying the weekend with my family, its my military drill weekend and have to work it to be able to maintain a military career status and reap the many benefits that come along with it. I get to see all the faces of my military coworkers for two days bright and early at 6:30am, so I reluctantly roll out of bed at 4:30am after hitting snooze, get dressed into my uniform, hop in my car, and I go.
After working all week– and sometimes 12 days straight– and checking my phone constantly for updates on my kids, when my temporary duties are up, and I’ve fulfilled the needs of my jobs I sign out of my computer, gather my belongings and I clock out.
This past month or so has had me reflecting on all the things I do and all the hats I wear. Although I keep my ABU (military) hat on the dash of my car as a reminder that I serve my country for anyone in the range of my family and friends to the man who could care less about why I’m serving. My duty as a mother is my most important and it is the hat I wear with most pride. It’s a never-ending job and requires most of any and all resources I can provide. Becoming a mother has changed the way I view my life and what I define as successful. I can be great in all other areas and “succeed”, but if I fail in this one particular aspect of my life, to me, I will have failed at all the others. I understand the need to provide, and as a family we have that. But while I am alive I am going to give my mom-duties, and my babies, my best me yet…
duties babies are calling… and to them–without fail–I will always go.