Ever get the feeling something's missing from your life? Late at night, when the kids have finished their homework, the clicker is no longer held hostage by the males in residence, and the house is blessedly quiet except for the rhythmic swish-clink of the dishwasher, I think of such things.
It's not that I feel old. Although my eldest recently graduated from college, I've still got two teenagers matriculating upstream and a child who's just beginning to discover the joys of long division.
But when a person puts in a half century on the planet, sooner or later she's going to stop and look back at where she's been, who she is, and what she's done. And she's going to think of her life in terms of accomplishments.
I can't say that I've ever climbed the corporate ladder or tried to shatter a glass ceiling. I don't network, analyze proactive strategies, or pull down big bucks.
Instead, I'm a carpooling, cupcake-making, and cheer-on-the-sidelines-till-you're-hoarse stay-at-home mom.
It's a job that, if you rate it strictly in terms of the word "accomplishments," falls a couple of French fries short of a Happy Meal. No, make that an entire cheeseburger short.
"And what do you do for a living?" It's the question all stay-at-home moms dread.
"Oh, I'm a domestic engineer," we used to say with a wink and a smile. But the plain truth is, like my mom before me and all those generations of wonderful women who preceded us, I'm just a mom. I haven't solved world hunger or sailed a 17th-century longboat across the Atlantic.
Yet in spite of my lackluster résumé, I've been given one of the most important jobs a person could ask for. I've been able to nurture the growth of four unique human beings, whom I cannot imagine the world without.
With this position have come many weighty responsibilities: the tutoring of shoelace tying; teaching the importance of sharing, even though you had it first; how to execute a left-hand turn in heavy traffic; and why you should not burn caterpillars with a magnifying glass.
Late at night when it's just me and a good book - and the cat comes to curl up on my lap like a fuzzy capital G - I think of such things. And I know that if given it to do all over again, I wouldn't change a thing.
I've got the most awesome job in the world. And what about that little something that's missing? It's remembering to say a prayer of thanks that I'm who I am - just a mom.