It's official: I return to full time work outside the home for the first time in almost exactly 2 years September 1. With lots of family in town, a trip to the beach planned, and a few freely flowing days remaining, I can look back on a time apart from the Tyranny of the Urgent and say it was a time that the lives of our daughters were stabilized. Though children are resilient, we learned to re-prioritized the simple things that gave all of our worlds centeredness: evening meals together, a consistency in teaching life skills, faith practices, and time for simple joys. In some ways, I believe that this time apart will give my family the ability to stay centered in even more challenging vocational times.
My dear wife, after a summer of getting acquainted with her new context and job description will become more involved and influential with her work. I will become acquainted with a new, yet old context in my experience. Daughter #1 will put her new budding academic skills to the test, and we will learn if these two years of reshaping her life and giving her the support she needs will bear fruit in peer relationships. Daughter #2 takes her first extended move into a self-aware and social world in preschool. I will look upon these days of work sabbatical and stay-at-home parenting with great fondness. Parenthood doesn't really end, but it evolves. In my drives to work next week, I will feel the twinge of melancholy intermixed with thankfulness.
What I hope I have learned in the past 10 or so years is that I need not be held captive by the Tyranny of the Urgent (moving back and forth from emergency to emergency), or delusions of personal status at the expense of integrity, call, or my primary relationships.