When I’m feeling frustrated or small or insignificant, I often find myself reaching out into universe for the answers to life’s biggest questions. I set my sights skyward and almost put a message in a bottle to float amongst the cosmos. I eagerly await a sign, even something as seemingly insignificant as a shifting of winds, to guide me to where I’m supposed to be.
In my more cynical moments, I’ve referred to this overwhelming dissatisfaction as being a “Cold War Kid”. The Cold War mentality was only partially inherited in my generation in only the vague sense that we could be something greater and do something greater with our lives. As bright eyed children, we were all encouraged to “shoot for the moon” with the promise that “even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”. And with the broken promise, we disinherited greatness.
I’ve had a lot of false starts in my life. In darker moments, I’ve often regarded this to be attributed to the pop-culture psych phenomenon “Failure to Launch Syndrome”. My inquisitive mind is always searching for answers, flipping a problem over and about to inspect it from every angle. It’s too dissatisfying to pawn it off on a generational glitch, especially when I feel as if my personal situation doesn’t quite fit the bill.
I don’t do anything half-assed, in fact quite the opposite. I’m a classical overachiever, only to encounter the complications of mental health conditions that stymie my own endeavors.
“Why is it not enough to live a good life? Why must I live a ‘great’ life?”
In the same fashion, I don’t believe in coincidences or luck. Coincidences and luck are concepts embraced by those who lack the sight when they step out for a moment to take in the grandeur of the rich tapestry of cosmic design. Common sense and logic are only scientific rules that generate likely predictions, but not necessarily the most accurate outcomes. We are only human, and therefore we can only rely on our hindsight and foresight to be accurate on only the smallest scale.
At about the same time that Xan and I were completing our initial application for foster parent certification, I completed an application for CNA training with the Generation Pittsburgh program. The program is designed to offer vocational training opportunities to the youths of Pittsburgh aged 18 – 29. At the time of my application, I was staring down 30 within 3 months. Though technically still within the specified age group, I knew there was a good chance that I’d “age out” before I even had a chance.
This past Friday, Xan and I confirmed with our contact at the adoption agency that we were scheduled in for four trainings during the month of December. I believe that makes us nearly complete, and we can expect to have our homestudy expedited pending our clearances. I was thrilled by this news! It was almost as amazing when I first saw our son on a sonogram!
But, the CNA possibility still lingered. I mentioned to Xan, “The applications close today. I suppose I’ll find out next week whether I move to the next round.”
I did. The email arrived this morning. “Dear Mrs. M., Thank you for your interest, however our program is only offered to the 18 – 29 age group. Unfortunately, you will soon not meet these qualifications. Good luck in the future.” I got my answer.
Rejection, in whatever form, is never well received. Throughout my entire life, all I wanted to be was “older”. I just wanted to somehow “grow into myself”, as a tiny puppy grows into her awkwardly large head and paws to be the grand dog she was meant to be. This analogy doesn’t apply in the physical sense, seeing as how I gained my remaining two inches of my petite height somewhere between the ages of 18 and 21. My late Pappap used to joke with everyone about his only granddaughter as being, “Five going on thirty-five.” And I always felt a sense of urgency to somehow get there.
Now I’m here, and I’ve actually aged out of a program. This is the first time I’ve experienced a discrimination of age because I was actually chronologically too old! I was a young wife. I was such a young mother than I often faced a public scorn of being an unwed teenage mother, when that was absolutely false! Though I often get gasps when people inspect my ID, I realize that I am no longer a young woman.
In that very same breath, I exhaled soothingly. This is my answer. What is the grander purpose of my life? For some people, it’s pretty clear cut. For me, I’ve had to do over a decade worth of searching before I realized it. My longest job held was teaching and caring for underprivileged children in a program where their working parents would often drop them off at 6AM and not return again until 6PM. I dedicated my time to improving the lives of children that no one else had the time or energy to invest in.
Why not be a mother to children who need one?
Of everything I’ve ever wanted in my life, it’s always been clear to me that I wanted to get married and have kids. I went through so many phases of “what do I want to be when I grow up?”, even as an adult. Not a doctor, a lawyer, president, or anything of the like. I wanted to be a wife and a mother, and everything else just came and went.
And with more than a blessing that I received on my pregnancy with my biological son, our family’s intentions to adopt have been extremely well received by both friends and family alike.
So, I leave this with a quote from Silver Linings Playbook:
When life reaches out at a moment like this it’s a sin if you don’t reach back, I’m telling you its a sin if you don’t reach back! It’ll haunt you the rest of your days like a curse. You’re facing a big challenge in your life right now at this very moment, right here.