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Thursday, May 12, 2005

MY OTHER LIFE

"Age does not make us children, as they say,
It only finds us true children still." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749- 1832
Faust (1808-1832) The First Part. Prelude on the Stage.

There's another side to my life besides writing. Being a Gemini I have various personas, and one of them (for over 30 years) has been as a daycare supervisor. I came into this profession, after my marriage ended and I had to find word again. For seven years, after leaving my newspaper profession, I had been a stay-at-home-Mom. Suddenly I was left adrift with two kids to support. Encouraged by my former work colleagues at the newspaper, I reapplied to get back into my old position of new librarian. Unfortunately, a new rule had come into being: you had to have a library science degree. And a degree in journalism. My seven years experience, starting from my apprenticeship as 'copy runner' (intern) in the editorial dept. to news librarian (in the 'morgue') in charge of crime and bio files didn't count for dick. I had to find a new career.

For awhile I worked in an office. But my creative mind is not cut out for the mundane chores of filing, typing and especially doing invoices. I was working in a trucking firm and it nearly drove me to distraction. Meanwhile, I had chosen a new career in Early Childhood Education, because during my stay-at-home life I'd run a little nursery school at my home. (Since my daughter was too shy to go and play with other kids, I figured I'd organize them.)

It took me two years of night school to complete the courses and get licensed and when I did get a job in a daycare the pay was rock-bottom. But at least it was more interesting and challenging than office work. If I had known then, what the reality was: that there were no benefits, the pay would always be ridiculously low, and in the end all you get is a kick in the head after all the years spent dealing with other people's children and problems, I'd probably have chosen a different career. But what? All I ever wanted to do was to be a writer.

Over thirty years later, daycare supervisor still my other profession. However, I gave up full-time work 12 years ago in favour of allowing myself more time for writing and travel. I've never regretted it. In fact, I should have 'retired' several years ago, but economics keeps me going. And perhaps the fact I'm a child at heart and love being with the kidlets is another incentive.

So this week, again, I am spending time with the children. The only centre I work at now is an under 3's and the little ones are so adorable it's hard to resist them. I am also very fond of my work colleagues. We are like a family. And I am a kind of surrogate grandma there which is OK with me.

I'm only working about 10% of my time in the daycare now. The rest is writing time, either at my own work or teaching. And that makes me happy. But it's also fun to be with the little ones once in awhile.

Today I indulged myself with some of the perks of being a travel writer when I was invited on a media tour of a cruise ship. How posh! And very interesting -- sponspored by Health Canada to demonstrate the health and safety regulations aboard ship. The morning ended with a delicious gourmet meal. And although the ship never left the dock, it gave me a new incentive to plan for an Alaskan cruise one of these days. Maybe when I'm 75!

Tomorrow, in between my Memoir class and my Travel Writing class, I'm working another four hour shift at the daycare. A long day, but it's sure to be rewarding. The little folk are hard to resist!

"Suffer the little children to come until me, and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of God." The Holy Bible. Matthew 10:14


3 comments:

L said...

wow. i feel like i just found out so much about you in this post.
larisa~

Wynn Bexton said...

Haha...as I said, being a Gemini I'm a gal of a hundred faces!
(Pretty good a mult-tasking too!)

Sam said...

Children keep you young! (while adding a few gray hairs now and then, lol)
My mother ran a nursery school from our home, and I was always surrounded by lots of little ones. It seemed natural to apply for a job as a nursery school teacher in France at a bilingual school, and I worked there until we moved away from the city. I like kids too - but I'm a Leo so they have to behave, lol. But I can usually turn any work into play and discipline into fun.
It's true that you have a lot of facets! And being a Gemini, travel is essential!