Yesterday morning I was sitting in one of the conference rooms at the hotel in Baltimore, listening to the President of the Graduate School talk about how sometimes you don't have a lot of time to make a decision. That is when real leaders shine. After his words of congratulations, I received my plaque and certificate for the completion of the Executive Leadership Program. Then I went up to my room to change out of my suit into travel clothes and check out of the hotel. I had left my cell phone in the room because it never rings and why carry it?
As I'm packing I glance at my phone and see that I have 1 new message, "Hello Bethany. I realize that this is short notice, but a vacancy has opened up at the Foreign Service Institute and we would like you to be there to start the ConGen class on Monday. That is right, this Monday."
My heart sank. I had been away from the family for a week already. There was no way that my husband would agree for another 6 weeks as sole parent on duty. But I called anyway and he displayed a level of selflessness that I would have a hard time reciprocating. He told me to go for it. He would be fine, and Selim would be fine. His generosity shouldn't have surprised me, but it humbled me and reminded me that I married a man who loves me and supports my career.
I got in the taxi to the airport, called the man back and said I would do it. I called my office and said the same and they got my travel orders started. Then I cried. And cried. And cried. The thought of six weeks of separation was too much for me to handle. The high of graduation was fading into a wave of sadness and impending loneliness. I got to the airport and checked in with nose running and eyes leaking. I cried as I called my sister to tell the the good, yet overwhelming news. I cried on the plane. I cried more on the bus from Boston to Portsmouth, making an already uncomfortable ride even more so, since the bus had lost the AC and it was 86 degrees inside before we had even gotten on 95.
I didn't want to make the decision out of fear. Fear that Selim would not be able to handle more weeks apart; that I would not be able to go on without the physical affection of my family and the support I get from them just by looking at their beautiful faces; that my husband might resent me for all this travel and putting my focus on my career instead of family. I have tried to think that this will be the foundation for adventures abroad for us in years to come. I am trying to put my trust in my Master that I have made the right decision and that my family will not suffer for my ambition. It isn't easy for me.
So tomorrow I will do the laundry mountain, grocery shopping and repacking. I will have to say goodbye again. I look forward to taking steps towards my dream of working abroad. At the same time, I am anticipating that the parting will test my resolve.