My Special Purpose

As a teenager, I had a "special purpose." My mother would tell me there were three baskets of special purpose waiting for me. She was referring to laundry that I was to fold. Folding laundry was my special purpose in life.

I've tried to give Julia my special purpose. Maybe she's smarter and seems to know that life holds more for her than balling up socks. More likely, she doesn't get the joke. Either way, I can't get away from my own calling.

Finding real purpose in life is tough. I remarked that a little girl I was working with at school where I'm a substitute paraprofessional was good at math. "I was born to do math," she exclaimed.

"I wonder what I was born to do," I said mostly under my breath. It's a loaded statement full of unanswered questions that crop up on the more difficult days. Am I supposed to be here doing this? Is this right for me?

"You were born to love," said the little girl. She was rather emphatic as she looked up at me and squeezed my arm affectionately.

"I think we were all born to love," I told her. "I meant something other than that."

If I could, I would take that last bit back. Born to love is enough. Love makes me a good mother. It makes me good at my current job. If there's something different in the future, love will take care of that too.

Now I know that my special purpose is love. And as always, laundry.