Merriam Webster defines a vocation as “a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action.” It’s most often used in reference to entry in the priesthood or religious life. And like a calling or “inner impulse” it’s often accompanied by the “conviction of divine influence.”
In a nutshell, I think vocation just means doing what you think God means for you to do. In the case of my husband, his vocation is also his occupation – much like a teacher or a doctor or a scientist. What he does is who he is.
So what is my vocation?
I am a homemaker.
I realize this may seem like a total contradiction seeing as how I have a “real job.” But the simple fact of the matter is that, as much as I enjoy my job as a Geo-Tech, it’s not something I feel a strong impulse toward. And if I am being perfectly honest, the only thing I ever really wanted to do was be a wife and a mother. I never had any lofty career goals. My major in college was education but that didn’t really seem to ring true for me – probably one reason why I didn’t finish. All I ever wanted to do was get married and have four little stair step babies. Obviously that didn’t work out exactly the way I planned, but I am truly grateful for my wonderful husband and daughter.
So here I am – a wife and mother. And very soon a big part of the day-to-day occupation of this homemaker is packing up her Macbook Pro, Cascia Hall T-shirts, and Pottery Barn sheet set and heading off to college. I feel like a muscle-car factory worker who’s been laid off. Like an old version of Windows. Like spiral perms and acid-washed jeans.
Eighteen years of laundry, cooking, class projects, “is your homework done?”, “did you clean your room?”, vocal concerts, musicals, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ponytail holders, “have you seen my phone?”, “can I go over to Ashlyn’s?” All the stuff that I do that makes me a mom is no longer needed.
I’ve raised my young and she is leaving the nest…I feel washed up at 43.
I know it sounds so pathetic and maudlin. Sometimes I have to slap myself across the face and shout, “Snap out of it!” like Cher did in Moonstruck. I mean seriously, my daughter is alive and well. And just because my kid is going to college, it doesn’t mean that I will stop being a mother. I’m sure there will be a whole new litany of things that she will need from me. But I also know the familiar rhythm of my life is getting ready to change from a waltz to a foxtrot. I have no idea what that is going to look like, and you know what…
It scares the shit out of me.
But I’m going to do *something*. I have no idea what it is yet. Somehow I have to find a way to pursue my vocation. For the time being, I think I’m going to chill out and see what bubbles up.
And maybe try to learn some new dance steps.