Next Stop


For over thirteen years, I have been a stay at home mom. Last week, I woke up and did something I have never done before. I put my baby on a school bus. The last of my tribe began full day kindergarten.

(Pause for imaginary sounds of my heart breaking.)

Like something out of a movie, a slideshow of images played in my brain; quiet nighttime feedings, brave first steps, ruffled bottomed rompers, little teeth breaking the surface of swollen gums. Pictures of the early years of my cherubs danced behind my eyes.

I would like to report that I didn’t cry that morning because I was too busy counting our blessings. The truth is, I didn’t cry that morning because I didn’t have one tear left from the day before. You see, my well was dry from the pity party I threw myself during the day prior to my sweet little five year old proudly passing the yellow doors of her new ride.

The bus, holding a piece of my heart, roared away under the blue sky and her father and I exchanged looks of sadness. I placed my head on his shoulder as he squeezed mine, with the unspoken message of, “And then there were none.”

We parted ways; him to work, and me to the bar. Totally kidding, but I did totally entertain the idea! My options were to pretend I was treating myself to a Bloody Mary on this sunny August day because I deserved it after thirteen years of a job well done, or get busy figuring out my next job now that I have hung up my SAHM cape. After quickly realizing that thoughts of my tasty tomato drink weren’t really celebratory, rather a guise to continue yesterday’s pity party, I got to work planning the next phase of my life.

“What do I want to do?” I asked myself. “What…do…I…want…to…do?” I am stunned with the stillness of my thoughts.

Stop, Carrie! Focus.

For over thirteen years my days have been dictated by what my cherubs wanted to do or what was best for them. Suddenly, life (until 3pm or so) is about me. I am mentally dizzy as the seemingly endless possibilities begin pouring in.

I could expand my small photography business, start a new business, volunteer more, get a job, go back to school. How can I grow my business? I’d love to own a restaurant. Now’s not the time to volunteer more. Focus on a career. I like helping people. I just like people! How can I serve and help people? I would be a great nurse. I could serve coffee and croissants with a smile.

Stop, Carrie! Focus.

Suddenly, in a snap, it wasn’t only ideas pouring in, but self-doubt too. The lies of insecurity told me that my résumé should read, boo-boo kisser, lasagna and bed maker, Chutes and Ladders champion, swing pusher, and laundry sorter. Ideas of success are swallowed by fears that I am only qualified to find matching socks and my mind after a day of Caliou whining in my ears!

Stop, Carrie! Focus.

After reflection, prayer, and endless encouragement from my gorgeous and supportive fiancée, I know in the long run everything will be ok. Afterall, I have spent over thirteen years teaching my cherubs that very lesson. In the end, everything will be ok. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end!

Today, the path to my future is as straight and clear as a Pittsburgh roadmap. However, just like the bowl of spaghetti we call our Pittsburgh streets, I know you can always get from point A to point B and find some nice places to enjoy a Bloody Mary in between!  

I leave you today as I start my journey on my next phase, one sip, I mean, step, at a time!



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