Mind the Gap

“I see your last job was in 2011? And before that you stopped work in 2003, is that right?”

No. I never stopped work. I stopped going to work, but never working. I take a breath, preparing to launch my well-rehearsed answer.

I was an attorney, and then there were children, and now I am here…

I look at the gap on my resumé and worry about the questions I know will weigh heavily against me. Why did she leave? What kind of person works that hard for a career and then just leaves it? What’s wrong with her?

Probably a lot of things, but that’s not why I walked away. The first time I held my daughter she was a year old, left in an orphanage at birth on the other side of the world. I kissed her tiny cheek and she started in surprise, and I realized no one had ever kissed her before.  In that moment who I had been ended, and there was no choice between work and her. I would be a mother with the same ferocity I had had as a lawyer — I would heal her, I would heal us both.

I left because I wanted to, because I had the option and I took it. I spent a decade covered in Cheerios and boogers, reading thousands of hours of Sandra Boynton and rocking a colicky baby and a preschooler. I stepped out of one world and into another, and I am vastly better for it.

That gap on my resumé isn’t an empty void, a sign of something wrong — it is a sign I did something exactly right. I gave these two little people so much love and attention that now they don’t need me as much, and there is space for me again. I am filling this new time with words and books, and coffee, and bags of M&M’s. There is some hummus, but really, it’s mostly just M&M’s.

I look down the road to where I want to be and again, there is no choice. This is where I want to be, writing and telling stories. This is my new work. I don’t care if it is paid or not — I write stories and silly poems every day, read and review kidlit, and avoid housework. I am happy.*

*But I’d be even happier if you want to hire me. wink wink