As an ode to dads this Father's Day, Memphis Moms Blog has asked some of our contributors' baby-daddies to step in and write for us. They were given no direction--just to write about whatever they felt needed to be said.
This morning's post is from Ryan, husband to Memphis Mom's Blog contributor, Lori...
plan noun //plan// a set of actions that have been thought of as a way to do or achieve something.
In life, many of us have a ‘plan’ or template of events in our mind that may look something like this: school ► career ► marriage ► financial security ► kid(s) ► retirement
I’m writing this not to offer advice or try to ‘fix’ anyone but rather to tell my story which is more accurately a story of us (me + my wife). I want to offer encouragement to you if your story does not follow your plan. I’d also like to highlight the joy and strength in going off script.
As a guy, I like to be in control. I like to have a routine. I like to predict, strategize, and mitigate situations. Therefore, it was only natural of me to have a very linear straight line trajectory for my adult life. My plan consisted of college, marriage, career, kids, and retirement. Nice and neat, a road map for the life ahead, however it went a bit like this: college, marriage, temporary contract and restaurant jobs, 1 kid, moving 600 miles south of home, graduate school, moving an additional 200 miles south of home, restaurant jobs, more graduate school, 3 more kids (during said grad school), and present day career. But at this point I’d like to back up a bit and see where I went off course.
My future father in-law asks “How do you plan on supporting my daughter?” I was sitting with the parents of my future wife in a small hotel in the Republic of Ireland. In my coat pocket was the engagement ring I had purchased prior to my departure for a 5-month study abroad, and here I was asking permission for their daughter’s hand in marriage, old-school style. My dream was to become an archaeologist, my answer to my future father in-law was to work and make money, the dream and the answer were inherently a contradiction. Fast-forward a few years and the contract archaeology job combined with waiting tables on the weekend had led me to the decision to go back to school to provide a more secure future. I thought that at the age of 26 I could put in a few years of graduate school, find a good job and have our first child before 30: a good plan. It so happened that we found out we were expecting Ali prior to getting into a grad program, and walked into my advisor’s office in Kentucky wearing a three-month-old Ali strapped onto my chest. One and a half years later we ‘planned’ on having a second child and lost him/her in a miscarriage. More schooling seemed like a good idea as we had grown accustomed to making due with 3 pennies in the checking account. Of course my first semester in a PhD program in Memphis wouldn’t be complete without the birth of our second child, Asher, just prior to finals. During this time I was waiting tables in the evenings and the thought of my very linear concept of a sequence of life was replaced by daily survival.
Nearing the end of my 6-year stint as a career student (2 years of a Master’s in Kentucky, 4 years of a PhD in town), I looked forward to securing the elusive archaeology career job and moving away. However, I should have realized by then that my scheme was not going to match reality. Two more children, a tenure track position in Memphis, and moves to Mississippi and back to east Memphis, I’m still holding onto my idea of the trajectory of my life.