Natalie grew up in the town of Concord, Massachusetts as an only child. She lived in a light blue colonial near the city park. Her father took the commuter rail to teach western civilization to Harvard undergrads. He had done his dissertation on modes of communication during the Roman Empire. Her mother taught private music lessons.
For college, Natalie attended a liberal arts school in Vermont. Her parents loved the intimate experience of a liberal education. They encouraged Natalie to find her intellectual passion. She majored in Spanish and spent a semester in Spain. When graduation came, Natalie had announced to her parents that she wanted to join Teach for Tomorrow. “I want to make a difference as a teacher for English as a second language students.”
Natalie and her parents loaded a U-haul trailer before setting off on I-95 south. They pressed on along I-10 into Texas, flanked by a flattened landscape and oversized trucks. When they reached San Antonio, they made a trip to The Alamo before parting ways at the airport.
Natalie loved San Antonio and she loved Texas culture. She made close friends and found her passion teaching. Natalie met her husband in Teach for Tomorrow, and while Natalie continued teaching, her husband moved on to law school.
When Natalie discovered she was pregnant, everyone was thrilled. Natalie’s parents made frequent trips to San Antonio. She and her mother prepared the nursery with a forest animals theme.
“Have you put in your notice at the school?” her mother asked. “You’ll need to take a few years off, at least.”
“I had planned to take maternity leave,” Natalie said, “There’s a cute little nursery where the baby can go.”
“You don’t need to work anymore!” Her mother said. “Your salary will go almost completely to the nursery. Let go of teaching. It’s not that important anymore. The best thing is to stay home for a while.”
Natalie frowned and set down the mobile with flying raccoons. “But you and dad always told me to find my passion. You told me it mattered what I did.”
“We did,” her mother said, paint brush in hand. “But we forgot to tell you the rest.”
“Your passion only matters until you have babies.”