It was about 5:45 in the evening when I got out my car, pranced across the parking lot and entered the karate school. I was going to pick up my son. A smile was glued to my face and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't peel it off. At that time of the evening, I'd normally be at work, downloading wire graphics for the next day's paper. That, or chasing down reporters who forgot to sign off on graphics I'd created for their stories.
When I entered the large room, my son was sitting on the floor in a lotus position with about 40 other children. They were listening intently as their instructor barked out instructions. When my son saw me, his face lit up like a halogen lamp. He was just as excited to see me as I was to see him. He bounced over to his instructor, bowed out, and joined me at his locker.
As I helped my son gather his belongings, I noticed the smile again. It had never left my face. I've lived in Austin for almost 8 years, and that smile had never shown up during prime-time news hours. It felt foreign. "Why are you smiling?" my son asked me. I didn't offer an answer. I just went about helping him gather his belongings.
In the parking lot, my son pounced on me with a million questions. "Why are you picking me up and not mom? Why are you not at work? What are we gonna do this evening? At that second I knew I'd made the right choice about going part-time at my job. The time I now get to spend with my son can't be purchased, even with the income that I'd lost from working full-time.
I get to be at home, doing what I really want to be doing — making and selling art for children's publishing, writing, and being creative. I even have ideas for some type of e-commerce business (see this, and this, and this). Most of all, I get to spend more time with my family.