In 1997, I had a crisis relating to my career. I had been teaching for six years in an inner-city school district in south-central Pennsylvania. Despite my success and a strong professional reputation, I determined that I might have trouble sustaining that pace until retirement, which would be decades away. I had considered teaching in a different environment, but soon opted to resign and take a year to travel and explore possibilities outside of public education.
At that time, I thought my dream job would be that of an airline pilot. I looked into flight school. It was expensive, but I was still in my twenties. I had been a commercial aviation enthusiast since I was a child, and flying could well have been an excellent choice.
But I had met the woman who would become my first wife. I chose instead to build a life with her, and by January of 1999, I was again in a classroom, this time to stay. While the marriage did not last, I had moved back to my home state of New Jersey and found professional circumstances that I considered more manageable. Twenty three years later, I am still enamored of my deeply troubled, lovably flawed profession.
But I have reached what might politely be termed a certain age. I’m even considering an early retirement.
Because I am still young enough to wish to work in some fashion, unusual ideas come to mind. And bizarrely, I now hear a different call, though I cannot imagine where it could be coming from, nor how I could possibly answer it.
I think I would be a good homemaker.
Isn’t that strange? I live alone currently. I might be too old to have children, but I am very good with them. I cook and clean. Heck, I even iron for two hours every Sunday. I simply adore everything about creating and maintaining a home.
Now, I would never underestimate the hours and difficulty involved in doing this for an entire family. I have seen many accomplished individuals from various professions join teaching because they thought it would be a rewarding second career. Too often, frustration and futility drive them away from our hallowed halls. In short, I have a sober view of my dream job.
And still, this idea buzzes around my mind.
I would not want to be a nanny, since I envision creating a home for people to whom I am personally connected, not for employers. That would make me more like Mr. Belvedere.
But I can seriously rock a tie and cardigan, if I do say so myself.
I think sometimes of the best homemaker I have ever met. He was the uncle of one of my college roommates. He moved in with his widowed sister after he retired. He had served in the Navy as a cook during the Korean War. Though he had been a carpenter by trade, he went to college on the G.I. Bill and had a career as a professional. This gave him remarkable qualifications to take care of his sister’s three children and manage the home. He was an absolute artist in the kitchen, made repairs around the house, and he helped my roommate’s siblings with their homework every day after school. By hobby, he was a confectioner and would sell his candies at the flea market on weekends. He even made wine in the basement.
This man simply sang in his role.
But I don’t have any nieces or nephews. I simply do not know why being a homemaker is now my dream job.
Perhaps I’d best relegate it to the designation of “unattainable fantasy.”