I asked my six-year-old son what he wanted to do with his life.  I asked him, because someone had just asked me.  And quite honestly, I didn’t know.  At 40, no one really asks me that question anymore – not seriously anyway.  This is middle age I suppose.   Aren’t we, by now, at the place that we were meant to be?  And if that’s the case, who the heck was I, really?

I’m surely a product of all the relationships, moves, careers and educational decisions I’ve made.  I’ve moved over 30 times, been engaged, married, divorced, married again… I’ve studied elementary ed (seriously), studio art, mystery lit and forensic psychology.  I moved all over the country, never staying in any one place long enough to finish out a lease much less earn a degree.  I was an actress, then waitress (so cliché), a bookkeeper, advertising executive, concierge, whistle blower, candle maker, cake baker, chance taker, filmmaker, rule breaker… Well, I’ve been a lot of things.

When others would complain that they just couldn’t find someone or something great, I’d relish in the fact that I kept finding so many that I couldn’t bring myself to settle on just one.   I had a million random interests and never once did I deny myself the chance to take each and every one of them for a spin.  Probably not the most sensible way to go through life, but man was I having good time!

But then, something happened.  For me, it was children – something I NEVER wanted.  I rarely babysat.  The neighborhood children would complain the moment I showed up at the door, and believe me, the feeling was mutual.  Somewhere in time, I had an epiphany, sadly spurred on by the loss of a very close friend.  All at once I realized the harsh truth.  I was mortal.  I wouldn’t go on forever.  Every day wasn’t my birthday – and, holy crap (said with a thick Chicago accent), the world did not revolve around me???

So my husband and I had two beautiful boys, who happen to have cerebral palsy and ASD.  Who better to deal with such adversity than me?  Yes, many of us ‘special needs parents’ cringe at the words “God only gives us as much as we can handle” after hearing it for the thousandth time, because I’ve seen some agonizing situations, where unfortunately, this is clearly not always the case.  But luckily, for me, the stars had aligned and put a remarkably difficult situation into the hands of someone who might have grown bored taking an easier ride.

I stopped moving, I settled down. And what do you know?  My endless energy and fearless drive could finally be channeled into something that just might make the entire journey very much worth the trip.   But how – how was I going to bring it altogether, find focus, be the best I could for my kids, help other families…?  For a split second, my fearless heart skipped a skeptical beat until my son simply answered my complicated question.

“So Jett, what do you want to do with your life?”  Jett looked right at me, and without pause replied, “Just be myself, and do it my way.”

So I guess that answers that!