Still dressed in the white sweater and
black pants that she wore to work, Missy
decides shortly before 8 that she can’t wait
any longer. “I’m just going to get those
pumpkins ready,” she says, taking a carving knife to a large gourd on the counter.
Dorothy laughs. She and Missy are cut
from the same cloth, always needing to
be busy. “Everyone says Scott married his
mom,” Dorothy says.
It seems as if Missy can’t relax for more
than a few minutes. But Courtney later
explains that carving pumpkins is “a way
to unwind from the hyperdrive [of work].
For someone like Missy, who’s multital-
ented, all of that other stuff [she does] is
an outlet for what you don’t get to do in a
very highly focused career.”
At about 10 that night, Missy emails
me photos of four pumpkins she has
carved with her daughters: the haunted
house and cat face from the book, plus a
monster and one with ghosts.
WE ALL MAKE choices. I chose to leave a
newspaper career and to work part time
in order to be home with my kids. Over
the years, I’ve often wondered about my
choice as I’ve watched former colleagues
advance in their careers.
Missy and Scott both chose high-pressure jobs that require long hours but enable
them to afford household help, a beautiful
home and private schools for their kids.
All choices, though, come at a price.
Missy recalls a conversation she had
with her youngest daughter last fall. She
was preparing for yet another business
trip to Tennessee, and Anna wondered
if the family could move there so Missy
wouldn’t be away so often. If we did that,
Missy thought at the time, we wouldn’t
have our house and all our stuff.
“We want to live a certain way,” she
tells me. “I think it goes back to that cer-
tain work ethic. If you want it, you’ve
got to work for it. That requires long
hours. It will be interesting to see what
my daughters think one day, whether it
was worth it to them. I don’t profess to
say that what I’m doing is the right way.
It’s tough because I’m always racked with
guilt about something.”
When I ask Emily, who describes her-
self as “very, very close” to Missy, she tells
me she used to get upset in elementary
school whenever Missy missed a school
performance. But her mother always
managed to keep in touch throughout the
day by phone or text.
“She always kept me in the back of her
head,” says Emily, who now appreciates
how hard her mother works at home and
in her career. “I want to be that kind of
person that does everything, making our
house that happy place.” n
Julie Rasicot is the associate editor of the
magazine. To comment on this story, email
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