By Cassidy Dover: "Living The Dream"
As I told you all, my best friend's mom just died. I travelled back home to be with her and her family for the funeral.
While growing up, my two best friends, Ellen and Susie, and I were all good students. We worked hard at school and loved to hang out. Growing up they were like sisters to me. All of Ellen's family friends knew us as "go getters." The three of us each went to college and then to graduate school. Nowadays, we are all married. Susie has no children and lives out of the
country. She and her husband live an exciting life filled with work and travel. The places she's gone are amazing! I dream of seeing them all someday.
There are many parts of Susie's life that I am thankful to hear about but also glad are not my own life. She does things and lives places that are exotic, but not for me.
Ellen is a doctor with three amazing kids and a fantastic husband. She works long hours and still manages to find time to treat her kids like the joy they are to her. She has a nanny and her parents have always helped her out as well. I often marvel at how Ellen is able to do it all. I know she is often exhausted and feels that she misses out on things, but she loves her job and it allows her to be a better mom. This is what she has told me.
I, as you all know, am a stay at home mom. I have chosen this path as I have a husband who lives away from us and a daughter who is very active. A job would cut into my freedom of travelling to keep my family together when we are able to find time.
Each of us has taken a different path, but I honor our choices. We are all doing what we love and finding a way to make our life work for ourselves.
I love my life. I would not choose any other path. However, I did have an identity many years ago that did not read "Ray's wife" or "Sheridan's mom." Back then I had a great job - a career really - that allowed me to work with others and use my education. There were times in the past when I carried Ray so that he could continue to play baseball. My job was fast-paced and very important. I was often paid very well. One year my bonus from work in one quarter was more than Ray had made all year playing baseball.
Now my job is even more important to me. I find that my role in Sheridan's life is paramount. There is no doubt in her mind that I support her. I will do anything I can for her and her success.
I have an education in psychology. I have chosen that my role as mom to Sheridan will assist her in developing a strong sense of self. If I didn't believe that, I would continue to work outside the home. I am in no way saying a mom that works outside the home is taking away her own child's chance of having a strong sense of self. I just know my child and what her needs are right now.
As I mingled at the funeral with family and friends who had not seen me in that past eight or more years, people would say, "Cassidy, what do you do these days?"
"I'm a stay-at-home mom with my daughter," I would respond.
Many of these individuals would then look at me and say, "Oh, wow. That's nice." Then they'd look uncomfortable. Some people even looked sad for me. I didn't follow up my current role with any discussion of Ray or what he does. This wasn't the time or the place for me to do that. Again, these people know me as Cassidy, not as an extension of my husband or my daughter. Also, I firmly believe that I would choose this role over and over no matter what my husband did for a living.
See, my mom stayed home with me. She had an education as a speech therapist. She gave that up after she had my older siblings. When I reached sixth grade she asked me if she could go back to work. I remember thinking it was an odd question at the time. I never understood what my mom did with her days. I figured when I was at school she stayed home and did laundry, cleaned the house and watched soap operas. I thought she was lonely and perhaps bored.
Somehow I failed to realize how involved she was in her community. Her volunteering in numerous organizations didn't stand out in my mind. Even after my mom won a national volunteerism award, I still say she won it as a "hobby" and not a vocation.
When my mom returned to work she did so in the school district. She took a job as a librarian's assistant. This gave her the same vacations as I had. She also finished work early enough in the day to be at my sporting events and support me there. I don't remember her ever asking someone else to take me to practices or bring me home.
My dad travelled one day a week and on those nights my mom and I would go out to dinner together. I learned to love to read on a rainy day from seeing my mom sit on the end of the couch with a good book and a dog curled up at her feet. In the days before cell phones, I knew I could pick up the phone and call my mom and she'd be there to answer. If I needed anything, my mom was available to me.
When I choose to stay home with Sheridan, my mom never once said, "We've spent all this money on your education." She never said, "You've worked so hard to get your masters degrees and spent years on earning your doctorate. Why wouldn't you work in your field?"
The reactions I received from these family friends surprised me. I suddenly felt they looked down on me. I started to feel that maybe I had let myself down by not pursuing what had been my dreams when I was younger.
As I sit back and reflect on those feelings I know that I am proud of who I am today. When I met Ray and we married, my dreams suddenly changed. My desire to be a wife and then a mother took over any other dream I had before. There are times when Ray and I have "animated discussions" that I'll tell him I don't get to follow my dreams. He'll ask me, "What do you want to do?" I generally say, "I don't know."
I know how much this answer annoys him. He feels at my age I should know what it is I dream of. After all he is living his dream. He's playing baseball and supporting his family doing what he loves.
I encourage Sheridan to live her dreams as well. I help her in school and I sit at her hours of practices and dream her dreams with her. At times, I feel I may be a bit emmeshed with her and living through her. I don't know how many times I had accused my mom of the same exact things.
I often joke that Sheridan will be in some intensive therapy when she grows up because of me. I reflect some of my own misunderstandings of my own mother and her choices onto my daughter.
After this weekend, when others appeared sad and disappointed in my life, I have a stronger sense of my own self. What are my dreams? I can tell you. I want to be an amazingly supportive wife to my soul mate so that he is able to go out and continue pursuing his dreams. I want to keep everything at home running smoothly so his focus can be on his job and his success. I want to be that mom who is there to see her daughter succeed. More importantly, I want to be there when she fails to talk her though what she can do to help herself be better so that she can reach all her dreams in life.
I want them both to see me as someone to turn to who truly puts all things aside so that I can be present when memories are made. Someone who they know will be their soft place to fall.
My dream job is to continue doing what I'm doing right now. Who knows if those dreams will change. They very well may. As of right now, I am living my dreams.
To all those who can't see past my education and what I haven't done with it outside the home I say, "I am using every ounce of what I learned all those years in school and applying it in ways that will allow all those I come in contact with to know that I love them and support them." This can be my husband, my friends, my daughter and her friends. It is my dream that I serve as a loving place for those who know me. I will not always succeed, but I will continue to do my best to be that person.
Dreams are not intangible. Sometimes, if we are very lucky, we can live in our dreams and they are our reality. I am one of the fortunate ones.
Thanks for reading,
Cassidy Dover has been a baseball wife for more than 10 years. Her husband Ray, currently in the minor leagues, has spent part of 7 seaons in The Show. Cassidy lives somewhere in America with her daughter Sheridan. Right now, they're probably waiting for Ray to come home.