Thank-you all so much for the prayers and answers to my many questions. It's amazing how time and more information can change things so drastically and also how when we venture down the wrong path, God finds a way to nudge us back toward the right one. And after much prayer and thought, it became clear to me that I was being nudged. Again.
Yes, it's not the first time that I've been nudged. Nor the first time that I tried to go down the wrong path. In high school, I took American Sign Language as an elective and loved learning not only the language, but also all about the ear, communication, and hearing loss. But, I was good at Math and Science, so it only made sense that I start college as a Chemical Engineering major. A year and a half later, as a professor was explaining the importance of the Engineering problem we were working on, I found myself thinking 'I don't care.' And I quickly realized I was in the wrong field. Nudge.
After much thinking and realizing just how much I had enjoyed everything about my Sign Language class in high school, I changed my major from Chemical Engineering to a double major in Speech Pathology/Audiology and Early Childhood Education. I figured between the two, I could somehow work with children with hearing loss.
A year later, I was sitting in a class and the teacher was polling us to see which of us were planning to go to graduate school for Speech Pathology and which of us were going for Audiology. Only this time, she gave us a third choice: Deaf Education. I didn't know exactly what it was, but I knew it was what I wanted to do. Nudge.
I researched graduate schools and found that most schools for Deaf Education focused on the use of sign language and that it would take me longer to complete my Masters' Degree because I would need to work on my fluency. Well, I'm not gonna lie, the thought of 3 more years of school was a bit overwhelming and I began looking for more options. I found a program for families of children with hearing loss called the John Tracy Clinic and I learned that it partnered with the University of Southern California for a Master's Degree. Each year 7 students were accepted and granted a full scholarship. Nudge.
After a year of working as an Itinerant Teacher in WV, I began to search out a job working exclusively with Pre-K children. I applied for and was asked to come for an interview for a Kindergarten position at the Maryland School for the Deaf. I accepted, but was disappointed to learn a day later that the position would be a contract position with hourly pay (instead of salary) and I would not be eligible for benefits. I decided I couldn't take a position that wouldn't pay me when school wasn't in session and followed up with another resume I had sent out. It turns out, Loudoun County Public Schools was looking for a Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing to work with their Oral Pre-school children. Nudge.
It was four years later that The Man and I decided to move back to Morgantown and I would have to leave the job I had grown to love. I knew it was for the best, but I knew that I didn't want to go back to being an Itinerant Teacher. I'd come to realize and be confident in the fact that my skills lie in working with young deaf/hard of hearing children who are learning to listen and talk. It was this that led me to a 'if I can't do what I want, I won't do anything at all' sort of response and I opted to only have my Party.Lite business when we moved. For about 8 months, this was enough. But then, I started missing the world of hearing aids and ear molds and implants and young children. I faced some difficult months, and started looking to see what I might do. I went on three interviews and accepted my current job as a Director of a child care center. But, over the summer I received an e-mail from a colleague wondering if I'd be willing to do a training for teachers creating an oral deaf/hard of hearing pre-k classroom. Nudge.
Which leads us to today. There is no formal, full-time job offer. There is contracted work. The door to re-enter the field of Deaf Education has been pushed open, wide open. And for the first time, it is not my job that our medical insurance benefit depends on. What I need to contribute to our family finances is income, period. Is this another nudge? It feels like it.