I jump off the train, pounce ahead of the pack and hop on the down escalator before the bottleneck builds up. I clamber down the moving steps, touch my Pasmo card to the ticket gate sensor and exit the station. As the cold air hits me I accelerate to a brisk gait and can feel the energy in my heels and ankles propelling me forward. From where this energy came at the end of a draining day I’m not entirely sure, but I certainly know the reason for its appearance. Something to do with the fact that the last time I saw my daughter she was in a state of distress. In the arms of a stranger she cried in protest as I gathered my things, tugged on my shoes and left her.
Yup, today was the first day of training for my new job and LA’s first afternoon at daycare. And I have never been so happy to get home and see her. As melodramatic as it sounds, I’m not exaggerating when I say that ever since I had left her just 5 hours earlier, I’d been fighting tears at the thought of her confusion. In her mind, what was she thinking when I waved bye bye and left her? That I’d abandoned her and she’d never see me again? I never thought I would be this kind of overly-sensitive mama.
I burst in the front door and slather her face with kisses. She is sitting at the table with her papa for dinner the remnants of her enthusiasm for which fly out the window as a wide smile spreads across her face and all four limbs gleefully flail in all directions. She cries out “mama mum-mum” and I swear my heart shifts within me. I guess she was excited to see me too. Or maybe she just really wanted some breastmilk. Either way, she was in a carefree mood all evening and went down to sleep without so much as a sigh of protest. Maybe this daycare business ain’t so traumatic afterall.
While it is a big change, what she doesn’t know is that one day that stranger that held her as I walked away will be an exciting playmate who she looks forward to seeing. And that within those walls her eyes will be opened to a world outside of her home, and beyond arms reach of her mother. She will likely have her first little baby-friend “scuffles” and learn her first of many lessons in peaceful co-existence and sharing. Her papa tells me that when he picked her up she burst into tears, and one of the older toddlers brought her a toy to cheer her up. How sweet. She will be immersed in Japanese language and become the envy of her mother as she gains native fluency. And, most importantly, she will be safe, cared for and stimulated.
When it became apparent that I would need to start looking for a job, I wasn’t thankful. I was annoyed. This wasn’t in the game plan. I had been dreaming about being a stay-at-home-missionary-mum for a very long time and thought that was definitely the life for me. Sure, I’d had a year, but a year wasn’t nearly enough. At first, because of visa issues, it appeared that I would need to work full-time, and the thought seemed impossible. Or at least it brought with it a large amount of anxious dread. I thought that, instead of doing what I love, I would end up spending my hours on a job that while not unenjoyable, I felt no excitement or passion for. I was anxious at the thought of organising day care in Japan and was at a loss as to how to begin. I wanted to crawl back to bed and hide under the covers but resigned myself to doing what I needed to do. You know, for my family. Such a martyr.
As it turns out, God, as usual, knows me better than I know myself.
And, as it turns out, I’ve been blessed with a part-time job that satisfies our needs and that I’m excited about starting. As I sat in the training seminar today, I welcomed back the familiar feeling of collegiality and the unexpected refreshment I felt as my mind chewed over the new challenge before me. I hadn’t realised how much I’d been needing that. A new sense of dedication to my new company’s mission whirred within me and it felt good. I daresay that I might even grow passionate about this new occupation of mine. Perhaps I’m one of those women who are more suited to having work outside the home during this stage of life. Who knew? I certainly hadn’t thought so, right up until today’s training session. We also came across some great options for part-time childcare (I’ll write about that some other time), which means I still get to look after LA most of the time, but in a much better space mentally and physically. Good for me, and good for my baby girl.
And so, as I promised myself that I would be, I find myself truly thankful for the way that “God always works everything together for the good of those who believe in Him and are called according to His purpose.” Just like the little girl crying in distress in her carer’s arms, it seems that my perspective made up just a small dark corner of a much larger and much brighter picture.