Nothing prepared me for the changes that came over me when I gave birth to my first child. I was still considered a newlywed, with that being said, I had a multitude of whirlwinds surrounding me - all at once. To be quite honest, the emotional overtaking of becoming a mother took precedence over being a first time wife and I lost myself to "mommy land". Then followed the birth of my second child, two years later. Both pregnancies not planned, yet still warmly welcomed, I became even more engrossed with my role as a parent. I felt an undying need to be everything I could be to my children and there was nothing that would stop me. Fast forward three years later and I learned something new that would eventually change my life dramatically as well. This is when an identity crisis took over.
I started a new venture that I was very excited to be a part of. An opening of a new restaurant that showcased so much opportunity and at one time, carried through with such promises. This is when I discovered my passion in wine and I was going to do my best to get my career path going in this direction. Life was good, or so I thought. The recession had slowly began its course. Suddenly a need for a sommelier wasn't going to come easy, especially to a young mother of two children who would be up against the most competitive group of professionals in Chicago of all places. Go figure.
The business of wine is a tricky one, for many reasons. Most of whom I meet are either single, married without children, or began having children after they had established themselves in the industry. And here's me - one exam away from my certification, living in the suburbs, with more financial responsibilities than I could handle sometimes and not as aggressive as some folks I've met. Um, somehow I think my chances of being in the world of wine are not as golden as I prefer. On top of this, I experience identity crisis in every shape and form, each day. Who am I? Am I a mother first, or a career woman? Which matters more? Can one exist with the other? How do people see me? Will they take me seriously once they learn I have children? And finally, why should it matter? I believe I can be both - it's happened before. Many women go back to school after having children, maybe they chose to change careers or because they never finished. In the end, it's all the same. I rival with the worldly of competitors - some more vicious than others. Back stabbers that I once considered friends - how did it all come down to this? And who am I again?
I love my children deeply. They are everything I wanted and for everything I didn't expect - they fascinate me beyond anything I'd ever imagined. I learn everything all over again through their eyes - and the second chance for this is quite enlightening. And, I love wine. It proposes me with questions I never knew existed. It helps me understand geography in multiple layers by immersing myself into the science of terrior. Honestly, it's the learning that fascinates me more than drinking it. Of course, I still consume it. In conclusion - there is no reason why I can't have both. This identity crisis is definitely an undertaking, but such challenges bring on perseverance and if anyone ever dares ask me if I am a mother first, to this I will reply, "I am always a mother. This is not only my duty, but my desire to do so. I am also an advocate for wine. I desire its existence because it drives my brain to crank in ways I didn't know could move. Just because I can't dine out as often as those who do, doesn't make it less possible for me to continue. If I give up, what message does that convey to my children? I am dreamer and one who chases dreams. If I don't properly teach my children to do the same then I fail to be an example of one who lives, rather than one who just is."
I guess I have answered my questions. My children, they tease me. They often ask if I love wine more than them. They know the answer because it shows. In the end, I will feel content knowing I tried. Whether I succeed the way I desire, does not matter as much as my drive. One day, they will see this. And they will be proud their mother gave everything to be what they deserve in me.