Résumé of the Heart

Résumé of the Heart

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reader's Choice 20th Anniversary Edition

Résumé of the Heart

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.

~Mildred B. Vermont

My daughter waited while I stitched the final threads, anchoring a button to the shirt she was about to put on. As her nimble fingers tucked the last button through its hole, I reached up and untangled the golden strands of her pony-tail. I wrapped my arms around her in a hug. Then she disappeared through the doorway and onto the waiting school bus.

I knew in that moment that my accomplishments of the past years would never be listed in the Who’s Who of life. I loved being a mother. Still, I often witnessed the puzzled faces as unknowing souls asked, “What do you do all day?” Most people could not understand my choices; after all, there’s nothing heroic about hugs — unless you’re on the receiving end.

Despite an extensive education and diverse opportunities, my résumé couldn’t tout prestigious positions or high salaries. Instead, it was marked by the tiniest increments of time when I’d lent a helping hand, opened a storybook or shared in the discovery of a moment. I’d spent endless hours taxiing between practices, applauding little accomplishments and discerning temporary hurts from great big wounds of the heart.

Mine was the kiss that melted the pain of a scraped knee. Mine was the heart that swelled while witnessing each new triumph. Mine was the smile that bravely encouraged independence, while silently wrestling with the ache of letting go.

There is no place on a résumé for the wisdom of life experiences, compassion or nurturing relationships. The logic of my choices over the years would be appreciated by only a few, and never in the Who’s Who of life.

But as my front door opened again later that afternoon and growing arms embraced me, I knew I had been blessed with a résumé of the heart. The real Who in life had already given me just enough prestige and salary to be the Who I was meant to be.

~Kathleen Swartz McQuaig

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