Every day I see Facebook posts from a friend who works as a nanny. She loves her charges to pieces and constantly posts photo after photo of their adventures together. And she tags the parents in all her adoring (and adorable) posts.
As much as she truly loves these kids, one day this friend will move on—hopefully to marry and have a family of her own—and these kids will be left with their near-stranger biological parents while their real parent (the nanny) has moved on.
I's not that this parental separation doesn't happen naturally in some cases. We all live with some uncertainty. But these kids have a life intentionally structured to include this devastating loss.
When I was pregnant with our first daughter, in 1987, I heard a speech by a religious leader that compelled me to reconsider my future plans. At the time (and from the time I was 13) I had intended to get a master's degree and work full time rather than “stay home and do menial work.” After hearing the given counsel, however, I began to think more deeply about how my personal desires conflicted with the responsibilities of parenting my husband and I had chosen to undertake.
As the pregnancy went on, I decided that for the sake of our child to be, I would sacrifice my entire life and all my dreams to do the “right thing.” After our daughter was born, I realized that human beings are of infinite worth and far more important than singing on a stage, writing computer code, filling out tax forms, or any other possible career I was likely to pursue.
“Sacrificing” for my children was actually a greater blessing to me than to them. This is the most important work and all the rest of humanity should be centered around it, around them. I don't care what you're doing or how important the work, it simply doesn't compare. There is nothing menial about raising a child.
Nothing changed my life more for the better than when my husband and I decided to work together to focus on our children and their well being. Whatever my children decide with their spouses, I hope this one lesson stands out to them: people are more important than things or status or anything else they will ever encounter.
Have you ever made a choice that was a complete 180° from what you planned? How did it change your future?