Today, I wonder a little deeper. Who am I?
Months ago when I was about to launch the blog, a wiser man asked if I was an author. I thought the question was a little odd and answered quickly with no, explaining I’ve simply felt called to write for years and am finally taking the next step by starting the blog. His question stuck with me, and there have been days I’ve felt compelled to contact this man and ask what he meant. If he meant am I an author, published and all? Of course not, definitely not. Not even close. If he meant in my heart of hearts, am I an author? Do I draft sentences and paragraphs in my head all day long, am I an author? My dream, maybe my call to be an author? To move hearts with my writing? Then yes, I suppose the answer could be yes. Maybe my answer should have been yes. Am I an author because I put my thoughts to the screen? Am I am author because I daydream of being a published one some day?
Last night, my daughter was in tears even before I went to give her a good-bye hug. Today, the day I was to leave for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention. I don’t leave often, and she’s an emotional girl, so she just couldn’t get over the fact I was leaving for 3 1/2 days. We hugged and hugged, and I reminded her I would only be gone a few days and there would be lots of people here to love her and have fun with while I was gone. But the tears still came. Daddy calmed her down and talked her to sleep after my final hug in bed, tears still streaming when I left the room. This morning, she peered in the room in the wee hours while I was still getting ready. Tears streamed again. More hugs. And later, more tears and more hugs. This tearing of my heart. The author in me writing the moments on my heart, in my mind. The mom in me feeling guilty for leaving a crying little one so sad. The business owner and speech-language pathologist in me rationalizing why I had to go. Yes, mom I certainly am. And today, I have extra confirmation I am a loved mom, that is deeply missed by at least one little daughter.
This morning in the airport, a young man sat down in the little work cubicle across from me. He struck up conversation about his life, how he helps his dad with the catering business, how he had a hard summer and they are taking a vacation to get away from it all. Dad showed up and first thing he said to me was “Are you a writer?” This struck me as odd. Why in the world would this man think I was a writer? Sitting with my laptop wasn’t anything unique in this sea of work stations with tabletops and outlets designed for electronic productivity. Finding his question still out of place, and for a moment wondering how to answer (Um, am I a writer? Yes or no? I have a blog, but I’m not a professional writer or author? So, I guess no?), I said no, I’m a speech-language pathologist. We engaged in some conversation about my practice and specialities I have been trying to focus on the past couple of years – apraxia and down syndrome. He commented I was calm, quite possibly one of the last words I’d use to describe myself! Maybe it was just that he and his son made me feel calm? He showed me pictures of their mobile catering unit; I was humbled knowing this stranger shared with me something so dear to his heart.
Later near my destination, far from the rest of the speech-language pathologists, at Jimmy John’s a few blocks from my hotel for the night, a woman looked up and smiled at me from several booths down. My first reaction…why are you smiling at me? Is there something I did to engage you that I forgot about? Do I know you somehow? Her name was Bertha, beautiful, vibrant, lovely with smooth dark skin. She approached, asking me if I was here for the convention. I asked why she was so far off the beaten path. She had hotel troubles and just found a new one while she was sitting here. She’s been coming to the convention every year since 1965, this might be her last year at the convention. She couldn’t be more friendly and welcoming, and I love this woman up until we depart ways. And I wonder again…who am I? To a complete stranger, my presence was positive enough from four booths down that she smiled and felt confident she could approach. I appreciate that, especially finding out later in conversation she was a seasoned woman of much grace.
And later yet at the hotel, a call from a mom. She’s looking for speech-language therapy for her two-year-old son and she’s heard I’m one of the “gurus” in apraxia in the area, and I’m floored. Yes, this. This I have been dreaming for my practice. That one day, I’ll be able to specialized solely on childhood apraxia of speech and down syndrome, the things I love most of all. Although I don’t consider myself a “guru” of ANY sort, this is certainly confirmation I’m on the right path to attaining those dreams of specialization. Insurance will prohibit us from working together, but it was wonderful conversation and I have no doubts it would have been a joy and honor to serve this mom and her son.
So who am I? Well, for now my “professional” roles are three. Mom, blogger (author? writer?), and speech-language pathologist. For now, I marry all three. That special mom role, of course, I will never surrender. I play that role on the days I’m working and on the days I’m not. But what about the other two? For now, I leave them placed in God’s hands. He has the path planned, the path cleared in advance of my arrival, the path prepared just for me. He created me, you, uniquely, specially, to do something He called only me to do. The not knowing, the being unsure is hard some days, but I will wait.
So tonight, I’ll read all the blog posts and tweets from the Compassion International Compassion Bloggers trip to Peru, and I’ll feel without a doubt my heart is there, I dream of that someday. And tomorrow, when I walk into that convention center full of speech-language pathologists, I’ll realize as I do every year that I fit just right into this profession. And Saturday night, I’ll be welcomed with love by my husband and my three little children, and I will feel with all confidence that this is perfect home too.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11