Shortly after we moved to our new home from another province, I was called in to our new bank to attend to a document that hadn't been properly completed.
I arrived at the bank expecting that a signature had been missed. Instead, the bank teller informed me that the space to record my occupation had not been properly filled in.
"Oh," I said, looking down at the document and seeing that the blank had already been filled in with exactly what I was about to say.
"I'm a homemaker," I said.
The teller looked at me with confusion in her eyes.
"But what is your job?"
"I'm a homemaker. I work at home."
She decided to try a different tactic. Obviously, I wasn't understanding the question.
"But when you go to work what do you do?"
I could have launched into all the things I did as a homemaker. I considered it.
But in the split second it took for me to mine her eyes, I realized that this gap in our understanding - what a legitimate line of work entails - would never be bridged. Whether the belief was hers alone or something upheld by the banking institution itself, I really didn't want to know at the time. What I did know was that the vocation I had chosen to pursue for over 20 years was considered nothing, and being publicly dismissed.
Another person may have confronted the teller or written the bank a nasty letter. I'm more of a peacemaker on my toes, and a rebel when I've had time to think about it.
So, I said, "Just put down piano instructor."
Having taught piano for many years I figured this would be reasonable (even though I hadn't actually taught piano for over 10 years by then).
I watched conciliation settle on her face. She was happy. I was ... astounded, perplexed, irritated, even a little condemned, but not angry. That came later.
I have thought about this little scenario many times in the years since it happened, and pondered it considerably these past 2 weeks as I looked after our grandson. Caring for him brought back my years as a young mom attending to babies, running after toddlers, teaching at home, making trips to the school for plays and field days and helping in the classroom, and navigating the minefield of teenage daughters ...
And that's just the childcare part of homemaking.
Because, making a home is so much more than housekeeping or taking care of children. It is creating an atmosphere of joy and peace, love and comfort. A safe place to land in a chaotic world.
Something that couldn't be adequately explained to that bank teller.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/29080217@N05/3341419074">Detail from meeting</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/76061588@N03/9904351356">home is where your wifi connects automatically Throw Pillow by Sara Eshak</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>