A case in point: I have been named the recipient of the 2014 CLA Emerging Leader Award. I have been honoured by my library peers. I feel so happy, grateful and (I can't help but repeat myself) honoured! The library community is filled with passionate and dedicated leaders. I have the pleasure of working with them, learning from them every day.
So why am I writing about this here, instead of on my 20-Something Librarian blog?
Because I am a different person now. I no longer feel like the 2013 version of Kayleigh Felice who won this award. And I am struggling with that.
As I was telling a friend this morning, my focus has shifted. Anya's death changed my outlook on life. Wise person that she is, said friend pointed out, Anya's living would have changed my priorities too...
Mother (first) and Librarian (after).
I still love libraries, undoubtedly. I am still dedicated to my job. I believe libraries can play a crucial role in building more educated, inclusive and close-knit communities. I want to work with my wonderful colleagues and my amazing community to make our library better.
So why do I have this nagging feeling that I am no longer the emerging leader I once had the potential to be? Again, I come back to shifting priorities. Over the past 6 or 7 years, my "extracurricular" and volunteer activities have been largely focused on libraries.
Now I feel like I might have been a bit myopic. There are just so many other projects to which I also want to dedicate my time. To name a few...
- There is so much to do (so much I can do) to help the thousands of grieving parents touched by perinatal death in our community.
- My grandfather is 84 years old, and I want to share as much time as I can with him.
- My brothers and sisters are just becoming teenagers, and I feel like I have something special to offer them. For that I need to be present, available.
- I want to garden.
- One day, I want to have more children.
These and more are all things I want to do for myself and for Anya. I want her to live through me. I want to keep a part of Anya alive through the change, the growth and the increased capacity for love she gave me.
So yes, I want to give back to the library community. But I also want to do so much more with my precious (and short) time here.
I think that makes me a more well-rounded person... but what does that mean for Kayleigh Felice, CLA's 2014 Emerging Leader?
I guess it is the never-ending struggle for balance faced by mothers everywhere.