Where will you be in 5 years?
This week brought the end of the school year, for myself as a teacher in 7th grade science, and for my own children. The weeks leading up to it have been full – baseball games, softball games, finalizing assignments and grades, flat tires, air conditioners that don’t work, and very hot late spring days.
This week, after a year and some months of mask wearing and isolating and weekly testing for my job to school from home and zooming and google meets and online this and that, to see my son’s smile and hear his deep, heartfelt laughter, while practicing baseball outdoors with friends, was a gift.
This week, as I drove between two ball fields, down a back road lined with lime-green leaved trees, floored with dark pavement, and the walls a setting sun shooting rays of light between branches, I could not help but feel content. A voice, which has told me hard truths throughout my life, simply said, “We’ve made it.”
At the time I didn’t process the words, just went with them. I don’t remember the rest of the drive to my daughter’s final game, which was maybe another 10 minutes down the road. I simply rolled down the windows, let my left hand ride the waves of the breeze, turned off the radio, and reveled in the words – We. Had. Made. It.
Through this tumultuous year of Covid and politics and unrest, where the world seemed like it had tilted off its 23.5 degree angle, we came round. Not necessarily back to where we started. I’m not sure we will ever be there again. But back on a path which feels right. And good.
And my heart soaked in the beauty of the world around me, a simple drive to a baseball game became the only place on Earth I wanted to be. Because if all just felt right. And goodness, it hasn’t felt right in a long time.
I left my happy son, practicing ball with his friends outside on a beautiful, cool spring night to join my daughter and her friends and their families, to sit in my lawn chair beside my husband, and watch our daughter play softball. To see her familiar stance before she hits, and as catcher, to watch her walk players back to third base while threatening them with a fake throw, to see parents and siblings cheering after a well-hit home run, and hear the collective, “Oh” of the crowd when our players don’t make the hits they so badly want.
My husband quietly put my hand in his and the two of us just sat and smiled. This, right here. Without words, we said, This is what it’s all about.
In college and in job interviews and in conversations between friends, people often ask, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” And I always want the answer to be concrete and strong, showing my goals and determination to do and be and yes, success! But if someone had asked me five years ago, “Where do you want to be?” my answer would have never included driving between ball fields, feeling more love and contentment in my life than ever before, and then sitting at a softball game, surrounded by people I love, watching our daughter and her friends play ball.
And yet, I could not have foreseen or chosen a more wonderful, love-filled, unplanned place to land.