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Friday, January 25, 2008


Laurie Berkner duets with Tom Chapin in a song called "The Happiest Song I Know," and this fun ditty is on the Most Requested list from DJ Jazzy Dacey. The lyrics are an ode to all things happy ("happy as a newborn pup," for example) and one phrase caught my ear as we drove home and I hummed along . . .

The way you shout when school is out

. . . and for a second I thought back to the school days of my childhood, waiting and watching and sighing as the second hand ticked off those last minutes of captivity. I remember that sweet anticipation of the freedom to be relished on the other side of that school bell's ring. I remember the day I counted off the years ahead of me on my fingers and discovered it was to be 1995 when at last I would be relinquished from the bondage of my school years.

My college years flew by in a blur of classes and papers and meetings and tests and dates and functions, and yet always I was looking ahead, X'ing off the days on the calendar in my mind as I hurtled toward graduation. For surely after I was finally, finally done with school, surely that was when I would really be free, right?

And then I turned around and I was married and teaching and once again counting down the days until the school year ended, this time from the other side of the teacher's desk. I was teaching so The Coach could finish his Masters work, and after that? Freedom from teaching! Freedom to start a family.

And then I had a babe in arms and found myself a far cry from free. Convinced that successful parenting was built on solid scheduling, I found it difficult to leave the house for fear of upsetting the delicate equilibrium of naps and nursing. When opportunities knocked, I would sigh and say, "I can't . . . I have a baby" as I wistfully closed the door.

And that's where I find myself again. Times two. As we prepare for D's Big Three and as AJ inches ever closer to five months, my frustration levels rise in the face of so very little freedom. Jealousy wells up in me as I drive past co-eds jogging up and down the hills of our town. I used to jog . . . before I had babies. I thumb through old Bible study workbooks and look longingly on the notes I scribbled on the pages when I had nothing but time to share with the Lord.

And even as I write this, I realize it all smacks of undeniable selfishness.

And I gaze down into AJ's smiling face and I crack up at D's antics and I know I am deeply, unspeakably blessed. So why I am not content? How can I create freedom for myself when there appears to be none? When will I luxuriate in the freedom that is most certainly mine? And if I do discover newfound pockets of freedom, what then? Will I spend it on myself or do something that might just have an impact on eternity?

These are things I think about as I drive and think and whisper Laurie Berkner lyrics to myself on the way home.