Hubster and I spent some time last night finishing up his application for his vicarage interview.* There are a few questions that ask about personal life and family, including hobbies and special interests for self, spouse, and children.
Spartacus was easy – “any sport involving a ball.” Sure he’s two, but football, basketball, baseball, soccer – the kid is obsessed with throwing and kicking things, and obviously we encourage balls in these cases instead of, say, cell phones, remote controls, or the dog. Also, Spartacus loves trains. And dump trucks. And school buses. But only from far away – loud things are scary up close.
But then we looked at each other, and asked, “What are my hobbies?” Then, “How can our two-year-old have hobbies and we don’t?”
I swear we used to have them. In much the same way that I was an expert parent before I had kids of my own. Somehow it didn’t seem right to put on the blank, “Get crazy excited about new flannel sheets” but let’s be honest, sleep is my hobby. Especially at 26 weeks pregnant (with all the kooky prego dreams), sleep is something I seek to perfect and spend all non-school and non-parenting hours attempting.
Hubster’s primary hobbies are cooking and home brewing. He’s on his third batch of mead (a honey-based wine), and we are quite pleased with the process…although I’d be more appreciative if I weren’t pregnant. He’s also a prolific cook, and when he’s not totally stressed out translating Old Testament Hebrew and drafting sermons, he makes some pretty impressive meals. We added foreign languages and history to his list, since he majored in German and Arabic, loved learning Biblical Greek last year, and has plans to pick up Latin before finishing seminary. Also, he listens to history lectures in his car on his way to school; that is, when he’s not transporting Spartacus, who demands the “Fox song” ad nauseum. His list sounded pretty fancy by the end. We left off “nerdy video gaming.”
I wrote down blogging as my first hobby. I don’t do it as much as I’d like, but I do genuinely enjoy the writing and reflecting process, and the idea that somewhere out there someone is reading what I have to say – even if that someone is related to me (Hi Cousin Randy! Hi Mom! Hi Aunt Cindy!).
I also love to read, so I thought to put that down. However, the last books I’ve read involve the vision capabilities of colored mammals, north-bound locomotives with overly-exhausted youth passengers, and the search for gourds by aquatic fowl. Not exactly Girl on a Train or any other New York Times bestseller. Maybe on maternity leave…
Then I was stuck. I love to sing, but I already had down I was in the church choir. I play the cello, but no more than once or twice a year in a church service – not a regular thing at the moment, sadly. I’m a terrible baker – my soggy snickerdoodle blondies I took to last week’s seminary women’s assembly meeting can attest. I knit? Spartacus’ half-finished Christmas stocking begun during my first pregnancy suggests a lack of commitment there. Even poor Annabelle often gets walked begrudgingly, so I can’t claim my dog as a hobby. What do I spend my non-class time doing?
As I finished my twenty-sixth recommendation letter for my seniors’ college applications, I realize I spend a ton of time helping kids get into college. We added “College Admissions Consulting” to my list of hobbies. Because it’s true! I am an alumni interviewer for Harvard, getting the privilege of interviewing seniors in the region. My favorite project of my class is the AP students’ college portfolio they do for their spring final. I get a huge amount of pleasure from staying after school helping kids write resumes, especially when they email me later to tell me they were hired on the spot. Already kids have come to me excited about their college acceptance letters. I also love doing financial literacy training with them, generally with the goal of helping them be successful after high school. This felt like a good hobby.
This year I got a pocket folder and put a sheet of loose-leaf in the brads in the middle. As kids asked for recommendations, I wrote their name on the paper in the order they asked, with deadlines. On the left I filed request letters and resumes (they must provide me with a resume for a timely rec); on the right I moved materials over as I submitted recommendations. I have no idea how many of these recommendations ever actually get read, but I do spend time on each one. I still have a few more to do, but I am pleased with my organization thus far and following through on almost everyone’s request. I am dropping some serious hints about getting some quality dark chocolate for Christmas though, when they all get into their first choice school…
*Background info: For his seminary education, pastoral candidates traditionally spend their third year of the program on vicarage, which is sort of like student teaching for pastors. Vicars can go anywhere in the US, but there are also several churches locally that take vicars in special circumstances; due to Hubster’s Army Reserve commitment, we are hoping he gets placed here, but we shall see come April when everyone finds out!