Monday, April 27, 2009

The Path of a Young Mother

We don't always really plan our paths, and for me, at least for the past few years, I've been on fast-forward...Here's a very brief summary.
While many young people, and many of my friends didn't have a clue what they wanted to do when they were in high school, I was on a specific track to become a professional ballerina. This meant not a lot of dily-dalying. Serious schoolwork was followed by serious training everyday. Summers were filled with even more intensive training. After I graduated, I made a dramatic u-turn and changed tracks. I dove into student life with a big appetite for experiences. I fearlessly took trains to unknown places and spoke to unknown people in languages I just absorbed. After a year in Miami, one in Europe, and two at Davidson College, I had a college degree at age 20...And absolutely no clue what to do next...So I came home.

I had known D. for several years already but something changed that summer and our sporadic friendship turned into something magical. With a few ups and downs and moves in between, we were married in May of 2003--age 22. By the end of our two week honeymoon, we were pregnant. By the end of 2008, we had three children--age 28.
Motherhood was something I always expected to arrive at but not necessarily so quickly. I've come to look at the older mothers dropping off their children at school along side mine and am sometimes envious of the time they spent in their twenties going to graduate school and then career building in their thirties. The trade off for them was that they put off having children until they were nearly or arrived at age 40, which for some has limited the number of children they have to one or two. They will be in their sixties when their kids are going away to college. I will be 41 when Cecilia goes to college. Most of them, stay at home with their children now. They have the financial security that they built as well as the self-assurance that this is exactly what this phase of motherhood is all about, it is the phase they've been waiting for for so many years.
I, on the other hand, want to have my pie and eat it too. I want to be the "super-mom" who is there every time her children need her, while fulfilling the personal needs and goals of a professional environment.
I can't take many of the risks that I might have at 25 without attachments. Still, even with my troupe, I'm ready to begin a new adventure. And don't get me wrong. I ADORE my kids and husband and wouldn't do anything different if given the chance. I know that I am exactly where I'm suppose to be. Perhaps my path, for this day and age, was the road less traveled. The most important advantage is that I've had the perfect companion.


Vica said...

You are an extremely talented woman, I know you will make the right choices for your bright future.

Ok I'm done being cheesy. It's true though.

Love ya.

Evin Daly said...

With 5 kids by 29 I know exactly what you're talking about. Laura and I packed up and moved to New York city from Ireland with 3 babies at the age of 26!

I do miss the opportunites that other childless friends had in their 20s and 30's but you know in hindsight they didn't have that much fun and they're paying for it now! Being a young parent is a privilege becasue we get to enjoy our children while we too are young.

My babies range from 25 to 19. We do stuff together - travel, fly (my youngest son is a pilot), argue, and just plain enjoy life.

I have a banking friend in his late 40s with 3 little ones. Sure he has a few more bucks than I did when I had little ones but I wouldn't trade a second of my life for his. He's going to be close to 70 when his kids graduate college. Can you imagine!!! Aaggggggggg!

Hang in there, as the kids become more mobile, so do you.


Amy Plumb (Amy Huntington) said...

You (and Evin) are totally right. There are such huge advantages to having kids younger. Like not feeling like you have chronic fatigue syndrome non-stop since you are forty years older than your youngest!

I had lots of amazing experiences in those extra non-mommy years. But there is a lot of trade off. Luckily for my kids, I didn't have them younger. I wasn't emotionally ready yet, and they would have lost out. But it sounds like you had your "stuff" together earlier, and your kids (and grandkids) will benefit from it!

(Plus, holy cow...what gorgeous kids!)

vicki archer said...

Olga - I loved reading your personal history and know you will love being young with your children. I had my three by the time I was 30 -so a little older - but it is so wonderful now. Although I believe once a mother, always a mother, my two girls are my very best friends. xv

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