Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The life you choose

I was recently challenged to think about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Then I was challenged to actually think about where I THOUGHT I'd be now, back when I was in high school and college. It was an interesting thought process and conversation as I realized most people are not where we THOUGHT we'd be. Life doesn't usually go as planned. At some point, it usually takes a turn you were not expecting and most of the time, it's a BIG one. The kicker? Most people wouldn't have it any other way. The unplanned things in life are what change us, what shapes us into who we REALLY are. Think about it, where did you see yourself in your senior English class? Is it anything close to what you are doing now?
For me, I finished high school and was very driven to get into college. I never LOVED high school. I knew I was ready for college. I enrolled in summer classes the day I left for Cancun, Mexico on my senior trip (WHAT were my parents thinking?). I had a mind of my own and it was made up. I wanted to be "on my own". I wanted to life my life without the influence of anyone else (especially my parents). I was going to Auburn. I would do whatever it took to get there. I wanted to be ALONE! Sure, I'd probably get married. But for a while I wanted to finish college and get a job. You know, the one you just LOVE. (haha!) I wanted to do something that mattered! I wanted to discover something, invent something, make a difference in my work! I saw myself working in a research lab, one where we try to invent things to cure cancer or help some other incurable disease. I wanted to be part of a big, successful company. I wanted to be indisposable to them. They NEEDED me. (please note the bold phrases for later reference)
I thought I would eventually get married, at an older age (30ish). Kids were a take it or leave it thing. I didn't want to be tied down, have to stay home or be bothered with finding a sitter so that I could do "adult" things. And if I did have kids, oh, yes, you bet your bottom dollar, those kids would be enrolled in daycare. Yes, I would have such an important job that I'd have to be back at work in 6 weeks and those babies would be in the loving care of the local daycare.


I'd never even considered marrying an ARMY guy. Honestly, I didn't even know there was an elite school for the Army. I thought Army football was just a bunch of enlisted guys playing good football. (yes, some natural blonde) And this ARMY lifestyle wasn't exactly going to fit into my "ever after" plan. So maybe it wasn't the day we met, or started dating. I do know it wasn't long into that "this is THE one" relationship that I knew things were going to turn out differently than I had imagined. I still had NO idea how much.

Fast forward 10 years.

Here I sit, blogging away. I'm also addressing Christmas cards, folding clothes, eating lunch and making chex mix for friends and neighbors. It's called maximizing naptime.
My life now is a full time employee of deFoor and sons. My bosses are 2 boys under 5. My BIG work projects are enduring year long deployments. It's NOT how I saw my life played out in high school.
It's SO much better! (Told ya I'd say that!)
It's not what I had planned but it's everything I ever wanted. Let's recap...
I LOVE my job.
I'm doing something that matters.
I discover new things.
(Just last week I discovered that you CAN mess up jello)
I'm doing something important.
I'm indisposable.

See, everything I never knew I wanted.
When I began this SAHM thing, I was worried it would be viewed negatively. I was afraid I'd wasted my college education. That I wouldn't be challenged, intellectually. I was afraid I'd be ALONE! Yes, I just said that. I quickly learned that when you are a mother, you are never alone and I mean NEVER. You also are continually challenged and my college education is INVALUABLE. I'll always have it and be able to tell my kids about the importance of higher education.
Another pivotal point in my life (before kids) was September 11, 2001.
It was life changing for all of America but none as much as those directly affected. I consider the United States Armed Forces directly affected.
Jason graduated West Point in an Army that had not been in a full combat war in decades. Peace time Army was the term used for years. That day, in mere moments, our life changed. We were not married yet, but we knew we would be. It meant he and his comrades would see combat and we had no idea then just how much. His first deployment came just 6 months after we were married. He was gone for nearly 7. Remember how I said I just wanted to be...ALONE? Yeah, I got just what I wanted...but I didn't want it so much then. But, it did shape me into an independent person and made me a better mother during deployments I didn't know we'd have to endure.
I could go on but I was just amazed at how people over and over relayed that this wasn't the "life they chose" but it's just the one they always wanted. So in essence, it IS the life you chose.
You just didn't know it yet.


  1. Jamie you write so eloquently and in a way that we all can relate to in so many ways!!! I love it and can totally relate to you and your "life" on so many levels :)

  2. Well said!!!
    I was just telling someone the other day... Things happent that you'd NEVER ask for, but looking back... they were the best things for you!

  3. I meant... things "HAPPEN" not "happent." Mercy.

  4. WOW, everything you said is so true! Again, love your blogs.

  5. I so loved this post I read it 3 times. You wrote what could have been my "the Life I chose" blog. We're a lot alike, Friend!