I arrived to a distressing message this morning at work. Despite two upgrades to my voicemail system to provide enhanced "save" capacity, I had once again reached my limit....my mailbox was full. What were all these saved messages? Desperate grantees awaiting news on their funds? Frustrated administrators wondering why we didn't support their pet projects? Of course not! It was three years worth of truly heart-breaking and love-shaping messages from my favorite two kids and their awesome dad!
I love hearing their coming-of-age voices, Lucas's two year old lisp far more pronounced than it is now at five; Kyra's sass and spunk well-established by the time she moved here at five herself. I managed to save a few--one very sad Lucas muttering/crying out a message about missing me that morning because I left for work before he woke up. Of course I also saved a favorite Kyra message--a long stretch of silence, and then the sound of Kyra calling out to Matt, "....it went BEEEEEEP!" She then announced that they had snow at home--only twenty minutes away, so I expect we had snow, too, but you wouldn't know it from her "first child ever in the white stuff" tone of excitement! Gosh I love these kids....
There were two favorite messages from colleagues, as well, and I reluctantly let them go. One was from a now retired administrator for one of our vice presidents. She called to let me know that she and another colleague enjoy my voice so much that they avoid emailing me and always call instead--in the hopes of catching the real me, but still happy to just hear the calm, soothing reassurance of my voicemail message! They were contemplating inviting me to create a campuswide message that could settle anxious spirits, or something of the sort. The second was from my then and now board chair, a woman I admire greatly. She indicated she was calling from the White House to offer me a role in the State Department--apparently I managed a board situation so smoothly, she believed my diplomatic skills could serve the world! Joking aside, I was touched by her recognition of my gifts, as these are her gifts as well.
The messages from the kids were a reminder that I have provided for them for years, offering not only the financial support to have a home in a modest, safe, friendly neighborhood, but also providing them and Matt with the opportunity to be together in this phase of life. Whereas once it was my voice in the background on voicemail messages Matt was hoping desperately to save, the voice that surrounds them is now his. I am the one at work. Sadness was one possible response, but I felt only gratitude--that I have had the gifts and the wisdom both to provide this time. And of course a couple of work messages tossed in helped me to see that this has been a place for my gifts to grow and better the world, too.
Will it always be this way? I hope not. I'd like to greet them off the school bus for a day or two each week, and have a little more space to take that voice and that gift of diplomacy "on the road" for the betterment of new people and communities. But for now, I know "it is what it is," and it is okay. It is good.