78: A Difficult Choice

78: A Difficult Choice

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide

A Difficult Choice

It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.

~Roy Disney

As a freelance writer and a mom, I often feel like I am the juggler or plate-spinner in an elaborate stage production. Everyone is watching and if I drop something, they will all shake their heads and sigh. I take comfort knowing that other moms and dads feel this way too, but that does little for my confidence when I am faced with a challenge. A few years ago, I had a great opportunity come my way but it presented me with a difficult decision.

My editor at the local newspaper sent me a press release about a well-known author who would be in the area and asked me to cover the story. The author would be giving a lecture and had room for a limited number of press interviews beforehand. I sent an e-mail to the PR person and got one of the interviews, with Judy Blume. Judy Blume! Now that is a writer with confidence.

Needless to say, I was nervous. At the time, I was also taking an adult education class at the local college on writing. The lesson for the week was interviews and having never done one in person before, I felt like this opportunity was also a test. It did not help that my instructor was also my editor at the newspaper. She had given us lots of practical tips and I had thoroughly researched my subject, so as I wrote out my interview questions, I felt a surge of confidence.

The next week was surprisingly chaotic. First, my kindergartener brought home a note from school that announced the school program would be the same night — and time — as my interview. Not good. How could I skip my child’s program? But I had already made a commitment. Flaking would be rude, not to mention nix my news story. Then I received an e-mail from the PR person. She had a few too many interviews and could I possibly meet earlier in the day? Somehow I was saved. I could complete the interview in the afternoon with plenty of time to go to my son’s program. I tried to conceal my enthusiasm in my reply.

Foolishly, I told my son the story of my near-tragedy. His wide-eyed reaction to the possibility made his anxiety unmistakable. I assured him that I would be in attendance. But the next day I received another e-mail from the PR person. There were too many interviews scheduled and mine had to be cut. I was still welcome to come to the lecture and ask questions then. I was back at square one: lecture or school program?

The stage was set and my curtain call had come. I was going to drop one of those stupid spinning plates, but at least I had a choice. I e-mailed my editor and explained the situation. She said she would do the same in my place.

That night, as the curtains came up on the stage, the kindergarten classes sang “Watch Me Grow.” I watched a sleepy little five-year-old yawning on his riser and scanning the audience for familiar faces. I knew I had made the right choice.

~Keri Houchin

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