Monday, May 10, 2010

A Belated Happy Mother's Day to All!

Remember when you were a kid and you had all kinds of dreams of the places you might go and the things you might do? Truth be told, I envisioned an apartment or condo, all plush and modern, in a high rise in NYC, Chicago or LA. A sports car. Expensive suits. Fine dining. Travel to exotic and cultured destinations. And a high paying, powerful job in business. Partner in a CPA firm or CFO of a Fortune 500 company. There was no husband or kids in my plan. Instead, I'd expected stock options, expense accounts, and, of course, minions.

Funny, but somewhere along the line I seemed to have run off track. Big time.

I guess the detour started when I fell in love. I don't remember when or how my expectations changed. They just did. Somehow the seventy-hour-week CPA job became the fifty-hour-week accounting position. The condo in the city became the home in the suburbs. The me, me, me became us, us, us.

The biggest detour of all, though, happened when I became a mother. And I'm not talking about the pregnancy part - the entire time I was pregnant I assumed post-baby life would go on pretty much as pre-baby life. I'd intended on going back to work and making my career happen. I'd just have a little kid toddling after me, right? Wrong.

Three months of maternity leave with my daughter pretty much nixed the remaining part of my plan. It just so happened that I couldn't figure out how to be a mom and an accountant at the same time, and we were fortunate to have enough in savings that I could stay home for two years and we'd be fine.

You can guess what happened next.

Two years at home turned into eight. Eight turned into eighteen. The sports car became the van. The expensive suits fell by the wayside to make room for jean and T-shirts. Dinners consisted of chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. And my travel plans revolved around state parks and camp grounds. Disney World was as exotic as it got. And minion? Right.

I sometimes regret having given up what would've likely been a great career to be a full-time mom, but sometimes plans change. So do we. I wouldn't change the way things turned out for anything in the world. Except ... I'd still like a minion. Or two.

Me, my mom, my daughter!

So how 'bout your life? Has your plan come together like clockwork or have there been a few detours along the way?

A belated happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there!


Betina Krahn said...

Mother's Day was peaceful and bright. I had a chance to hear from my sons and to see my sister and niece and give them a little present. I always remember my older sister on Mother's Day because she was my "little mother" when I was young. Six years older than me, she babysat me and stayed home from school to take care of me when I was sick. (at my working mother's request) She taught me a great deal and I aspired to be like her when I grew up. Still, my mother was quite a force, too. . . a big believer in education, who told me the world was my oyster and made me believe it.

Thanks Mom. And thank you, Helen, for the lovely post.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Detours, detours, and more detours! *laugh*

Rula Sinara said...

Hi Helen!

I've also taken major detours in my life. I think the important message is that it's okay to make changes, including those regarding career choices. Education and experience is never wasted. It will always be a part of who we are and how we think. Life isn't static, so why should we live like it is?

That said...I'm so, so, so glad you became a writer!


Terry Odell said...

Life plan? Nobody told me I was supposed to file a life plan!

The closest we came was decided we wanted to have two children, Zero Population Growth being a big thing then. When child #2 was twins, everything went its merry way.

Cindy Gerard said...

Sweet post, Helen. It made me smile.
We spent the day at our kids. Laughed almost the entire time - how can you not when there's an 8 year old diva, a 6 year old scholar, a 4 year old Kid Chaos, and a 2 year old red haired, brown eyed charmer with a koolaid grin?
I grew up in small town (SMALL town as in 750 people) Iowa. Our biggest dreams involved traveling somewhere with stoplights :o) I had no life plan. Life, has more or less happened and I've been a very lucky girl that the 'guiding' hands have been benevolent and for the most part kind.

Helen Brenna said...

Betina, my oldest sister (12 years older than me) took care of us young 'uns a lot. Don't remember it much though because she was off to college by the time I was 6! I've never thought to thank her on Mom's Day, but I did dedicate my upcoming June book to her! And mentioned something about diapers in the process!

Helen Brenna said...

Kathryn - glad I'm not the only one!

Helen Brenna said...

Rula, you're so right. I've never regretting having my accounting degree. It's come in handy on many occasions, and led to several good part time jobs over the years.

And thanks! You're so sweet!

Helen Brenna said...

Terry, I always have a plan. It's odd how things never seem to go the way I expect, but I keep trying!

Twins! I remember wanting twins until I had my 1st child, and then I couldn't imagine what that would be like. Eke!

Helen Brenna said...

Cindy, I grew up in a small town, too, though not quite as small as yours. I think that's why I thought big, big city. I'm always surprised by the number of my classmates that either stayed in my hometown area or moved back.

Yes, your "no plan" worked well!

Michele Hauf said...

That is an awesome pic of you, your mom, and daughter, Helen!

I had similar plans. Big city. Big job. Big fancy apartment.

But I think I'm happy with the detours life has presented, and am actually looking forward to many more unexpected turns. It'll be an adventure!

Kathleen Eagle said...

I love the photo, Helen. Three strong women.

One of my favorite poems is Frost's "The Road Less Traveled." I've always been a planner, but some of the most exciting turns in my life happened when I "took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

I'm still trying to stick with my comfort zone, still lured away periodically or just plain foiled. I never thought I'd be this involved with raising grandchildren. In fact, I've learned the truth of a maxim I've been fond of spouting (generally meant for *other* people) which is "Never say never."

Foiled plans sometimes turn into unexpected blessings.

KylieBrant said...

I also always had a plan, lol. Motherhood threw me a curve, but I did continue to work, get a Masters Degree and juggle home and family. Oh and when the five kids were 10, 9, 6, 4, and 4 I decided to try writing books too. I've found that the curves life has thrown me have usually turned out to be the very best kind!

We spent the weekend with our youngest grandson, so that was loads of fun! Saw my oldest when we did the baby hand off but my kids are too far away to come home for the day. I talked to all of them, though. My third son's birthday was also yesterday, so lots to celebrate.

Helen Brenna said...

Michele, if the second half of my life is anything like the first, there are bound to be more than a few unexpected twists and turns. Maybe I should just throw all my plans away now! lol

Thanks on the photo, Kathy and Michele. I knew I wanted to post something about MD, so my dh took a couple shots yesterday.

Kathy, this time you have with your grandkids is amazing! You will have a very special bond with them.

Helen Brenna said...

Kylie, you truly are Super Woman! There's absolutely no way I could've done what you've accomplished. My son's bd was yesterday, too! Sweet sixteen. hehehe He took his driver's test this morning and passed!

Christie Ridgway said...

I love the photo! A beautiful shot.

I always wanted to be a writer and write books so that part of the life plan is good--though I detoured a few years as a computer programmer.

I live in a town quite similar in many ways to the surburban NoCal town I grew up in and I feel like I can go anywhere in my imagination! Thank you, books.

I had a nice day yesterday, especially the card that Son2 drew for me. He also wrote several very nice sentences that made me so happy!

Helen Brenna said...

Thanks, Christie! Can NOT see you as a computer programmer. Writer fits you just fine.

Glad you had a nice day. Our kids can really step up to the plate at times, can't they? lol

Kathleen O said...

My Life Plans have changed so many times, I don't know what the orginal life plan ever was...

Leanne said...

Helen, what a beautiful blog and beautiful photo. I'm so glad you took the detour to be a writer! We're all the better for it. Went for brunch with my husband, daughter and son-in-law then picked out two hydrangea bushes to be planted immediately!:) Happy Mother's Day to you and good luck with your son's launch into the world of driving. Gulp!:)

Helen Brenna said...

Kathleen, you're flexible. That's good. Me? Not so much. lol

Leanne, thanks. Sounds like a nice day. We have a couple of white hydrangea, but the blue and pink ones are so pretty, I'm tempted.