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different prespective on work vs marriage/family

From: Pat Hildebrand <>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000 23:30:57 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <>

I'm a recent widow (my husband died less than a year ago). i'm old enough that women were not supposed to have the interests that I do - not only the computer stuff but also sports. However, I'm not so old that I'm ready for retirement.

When my father-in-law died, my husband, who had always recognized that my desire to work was in no way a put down of him but rather a need to feel that I wasn't wasting my interests in math and computers, took a look at how his mother wasn't equiped for life on her own. He made it clear that although we shared many interests, if there was something that I wanted to do and he didn't have the time for, I should go ahead and do it on my own. He often said that if anything happened to him that would help me to be on my own because I would have had some experience doing things on my own.

When he got sick, this took on an additional dimension. Sharing an interest in baseball, going to games had been a frequent activity of ours all the way back to our grad student days. However, he was often too tired especially for night games. At that point he encouraged me to go on my own not only for me but so that I could report to him. There were not only particular players of interest but also points of view that needed to be addressed - were the hitters trying to hit homeruns and therefore not doing other things, etc.

We both worked at Penn and as a well respected professor with a strong sense of civic responsibility, his meetings sometimes had me on the job longer than I might have been otherwise. We would make up for this by going out to dinner (we had several favorite places just a few blocks from our offices) after late meetings.

Our kids are now adults with lives of their own and they say that if I had been nothing but a stay at home mother I would have driven them nuts. In fact my younger son credits my looking for ways to help kids learn math with his enjoyment of the subject.

Was it all work or do things individually? No, we did many things as a family. We encouraged our kids to take part in activities and were there for games, plays, etc. At one point I was teaching math a couple hours from home and I got a department meeting moved to an earlier hour so that I could attend one of the kids soccer games.

Now, I work long hours to avoid going home to an empty house. When I go to baseball games I often find myself thinking I have to discuss this with Dave or how pleased he would be with ...

What I'm trying to say is that one size doesn't fit all. The important thing is how do the people involved feel about it. If something really matters you find a way to do it - it might not be what someone else would do but if it works for you and yours that is what matters.

This is probably long enough that I won't go on about some of my friends including a minor league pitcher and a politician but we are not in the only field that can make enormous claim on times and some of them are less well compensated. Received on Thu Jun 01 2000 - 22:30:57 CDT

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