transferable skills

“Update resume” has topped my to-do list since I started the job I have. Today, with a well-paying job – one that I might want – on the horizon, I’m actually doing it. I hope you were sitting down.

This adventure in childcare was a decision of necessity. Mostly, a lack of desire to eat Ramen forever.  I come from a long line of childcare providers – I have teacher genes, and I have a huge extended family; a constant supply of new babies made us all perpetual babysitters. But after four hours of babysitting, I can’t wait for mom to get home. (It’s not quite “Here, take your child!” as I sprint out the door . . . but on the inside . . . it is pretty dern close.) I love children. They exhaust me. Their very presence siphons energy out of me.

I swore that I would never be a teacher – 1. The exhausting thing. 2. The fact that I can’t explain anything to save my life – which way the batteries go, how to check the weather site, how to get from point A to un-lost. Students under my attempted tutelage in high school suffered dearly – and I received the blankest of blank stares. I was under no impression that I could teach. Public speaking all the way from first grade through senior year in college was just an embarrassment to public speaking. Lecturing, shall we say, was not in my stars.

But two year olds do not demand lecturing. They demand a whole host of other things involving gross bodily functions and a profound amount of patience, for starters – but not lecturing. That’s not  exactly true. Daily, I ask, “What shape is this?” quite eloquently, if I do say so myself.

So here I find myself, in front of a lacking resume, trying to manufacture something out of my daycare experience that screams, “Hire me for this completely unrelated job!” not quite as obviously. As I asked my family, what is it exactly that I do?

So much of my job revolves around poo and not losing it on little people. Sometimes a combination of the two (“Whatcha doin’?” “Changing his diaper.” “Why?” “Because he pooped.” “Why?” “I guess he had to poop.” “Why?” “I’ll tell you when you’re older. Go play.” Repeat sixty-three times.).

And I can’t include the magical details either, all that makes me look forward to Mondays, all that I’ve learned about these kids. That one little girl sleeps more easily if you hug her first; that you need to hold another’s hand while she settles down. The deep sense of pride in my job. The enormous compliment when someone tiny trusts you.

Instead I’m digging for transferable skills. “Exercised an astronomical amount of patience.” “Speed-changed twenty diapers daily.” “Memorized much information about snack preferences, allergies, potty schedules, napping habits.” “Stopped telling my husband stories about poop when asked.” “Witnessed my heart enlarging to encompass more people than previously thought possible.”

In this leg of the journey, I have lots of questions about stewardship, long term plans, what I want to be – really – when I – really – grow up. All I can hope to do, I suppose, is just the next right thing. We wrestle with the big picture, try to whittle out of our fledgling adult lives a happy, fulfilling plan for the next fifty years. But often I think so big, so generalized, that the rough sketch we try to cast for our lives misses questions like “How are we going to enjoy this evening?” Do you ever feel like your life is turning into a string of moments you’ve ignored?

I think I need to think smaller, glean life lessons for my good and for the good of the poor suckers around me every day. Pour my best into all these unplanned moments. Catch just the next step underfoot. Avoid falling down the whole flight, if possible.

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