A mom at Abby’s 4-H sewing group asked me yesterday if I work.
Yes. This again. I’ve long railed against this question because it seems to place extra value on someone working outside of the home, it assumes that this work somehow defines the person doing the work and, honestly, it’s just not a very interesting question.
I know this woman well enough to understand that what she likely meant was something else entirely but didn’t have a useful question on the tip of her lips.
What interests you?
What do you like to do?
What inspires you?
What fills your days?
Tell me about yourself, I’d like to know you better.
I’m interested in you and wonder what stories you might have to share.
Tell me something good.
Let me glimpse your heart.
I answer the question “What do you do?” or “Do you work?” as though one of the other questions have been asked. And thus, I did this last night. I called myself a “Jill of Many Trades” and launched into a laundry list of work and passions and projects and volunteer roles I hold. I tell you what, that list is much longer these days than I realized.
I’ve recently added some very part time (paid!) work to the list. It’s 8 hours a week, which seems a small addition, but turns out to be a slightly larger pebble to add to the proverbial jar of life than I anticipated.
As I carried on telling this other mother about the various pots I have my fingers in, I felt my shoulders tense, my words tumbled faster, my heart rate raise. Right about this time, Abby came over and we had a very mother-tween exchange that almost sent me spiraling into angry-mom-tone.
Luckily, we only live two blocks from the sewing class and I excused myself to take a break and go water our gardens.
I’m not much of a gardener. I *do* appreciate the perennials that grow beautifully in our yard, the annuals we planted in pots for the porch and the gorgeous bush-tit nest that has been constructed in the rhododendron just outside our dining room window.
As I wandered and watered, I felt my grip relax, my eyes soften, my heart ease. Checking in on the apples developing on the tree, placing my whole face into the near-spent lilac bloom, reaching up to smell the honeysuckle, spraying down the bleeding hearts, going nose to nose with the near-bursting peony, spying on the bush-tits. Yes. Thirty minutes in the garden and this jar of life felt somehow larger, more able to accommodate the shifts and changes happening in our family.
Always intent to be of use. I am a Jill of Many Trades.
I am boundless if I simply keep my heart open, my toes wet and my eyes toward the growing things.