SERIES – “Everyday” Women Who Have Redefined After 50 – Kate ClaryNov 22, 2020
WHAT A GREAT STORY!!! I first read about Kate in Huff Post’s 50 Over 50. And when I reached out to her to interview her for my blog series she could not have been more welcoming.
Kate is my fourth interview for the series on everyday women who have redefined after 50. She, like the other three women, relocated after 50. But, that’s where the similarity ends. Kate did not redefine after 50 in the career realm. She didn’t decide to write the book (although she really should). Kate, after 50 decided that…..
She Wanted to Adopt a Baby!
Kate, an elementary school teacher who was also a single mom, just knew that she was not done mothering. She describes the feeling that God was talking to her and that her purpose on this earth was mothering. She waited and waited. Then, that 50th birthday happened. Her biological sons had been out of the house for a while and she knew this was more than empty nest syndrome. She thought about it day and night.
Kate said “Okay, God. If you’re telling me you have babies that you want me to mother, I’ll do what I can on my end but if I’m reading you wrong, throw up roadblocks.”
A year later, Kate had added a 2 year old boy and two 7 month old baby boys to her family. She says, “that was a little more than I anticipated.” But it was meant to happen.
Like Pam, Judith, and Lisa, Kate also had barriers to deal with. Although she did have the occasional waking up in the middle of the night saying to herself, “what am I doing,” her faith got her through those times. “I didn’t ask for this – this was asked of me. I felt very strongly that I was fulfilling a purpose.”
Kate went on to say that “I believe each of us has a purpose but many of us are afraid. Afraid of the commitment. Of failure. Of what others might think of us.”
THE ADOPTION AGENCY
For Kate, as was the case for Judith and Lisa, the external barriers seemed a bit brutal.
They started with the adoption agencies, particularly the one who did her home study. She was told that she had no business adopting because she was too old. To which Kate said, “if that’s the case, then it won’t happen. Just do your home study.”
When two babies came along, the agency told her she could only choose one. To which Kate said, “then YOU choose the one that I’m going to leave behind.” A committee meeting followed. And we know how that story ended. GO KATE!!
“FRIENDS” AND FAMILY
Kate describes the negative feedback from many of her teachers at school which shocked her “since we are in the business of helping to raise children!” She said it got to the point where the school was divided and people took sides as to whether or not they supported her in this decision. The naysayers could not understand how Kate could teach all day and then go home and take care of little ones into the night. But she loved every moment.
Kate said, “my biological sons were supportive of my decision and those were the only opinions that mattered to me.”
Then Came the Next Redefinition
At 62, Kate decided that she couldn’t do what she needed to do to be successful as a teacher anymore. She felt the system’s philosophy of educating young children was no longer meshing well with her own beliefs – that a teacher is most successful when the total needs of each child are addressed. This contradiction in educational philosophies began to make teaching less fulfilling and less fun for her. (Side note: As someone who works with kids of all needs as well as with their teachers, I have seen the system’s failure to do this everywhere – it’s very sad. Good teachers are leaving the field left and right.)
With a rising 7th grader and 2 rising 5th graders, she made the decision in February to retire and move her boys from Richmond, Virginia to sunny Florida. By June, the house that she’d lived in for 30 years sold and off they went.
With great self-awareness, Kate said, “When I left teaching had I decided to stay in Virginia I’d be leaving something. I’d still be there but wouldn’t be going back to school. But, by moving, I was STARTING something.”
Kate’s boys are now almost 40, almost 38, 16, 14, and 14. She also has two grandsons. She said, “I have fulfilled my purpose and I have enjoyed mothering these boys. I have joy in my life.”
Kate wants to get the boys out of high school and said, “And you know just because they are 18 you aren’t done mothering them.” But, she wants to travel – to Europe, and warm, Caribbean islands. I told her she absolutely HAD to write the book.
Kate feels very strongly that age is just a number. Nothing more. And states, “you can’t let that number decide how you’re going to live your life. You can’t let fear drive your decisions. I’ve had friends who have said “I’m 55 – I really can’t do that.’ When do you get to the point where you realize you’re old and can’t do things?
For me, NEVER!”
What an inspiration.