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January 25, 2008 - Betsy Bethel
Have you ever second-guessed a decision even though you know you made it for the right reasons?

I've been doing just that for months ever since I stepped down in September as the "pipe major" (read: leader) of the Macdonald Pipe Band of Pittsburgh. But this week I received blessed confirmation that it was the right decision, after all.

I made the decision to step down based on the reality that being a full-time new mom with a full-time job left little room for a leadership position outside the home or workplace, especially a leadership position that required travel to Pittsburgh once a week or more.

It was the right decision, made for the right reasons, but I've had a hard time accepting it. You see, I LIKE being in charge of the pipe band. Heck, in most circumstances, I like being in charge, period.

I am still a band member and have found myself speaking out during rehearsals when I should keep my mouth shut and making decisions that I should defer to the new pipe major, a dear friend who kindly and bravely stepped up to the plate when no one else felt compelled to do so. Sorry for that, Patty!

I have, however, enjoyed the lighter load of responsibility.

And nothing brought the "rightness" of my decision into sharper relief than when my daughter was sick this week. (Yes, she's sick, again, poor thing.)

On Wednesday, which is band rehearsal night, my husband was in Texas for work, my mother-in-law was down with a bad cold (no doubt given to her by Emma) and my daughter was still not feeling tip-top.

With our annual Burns Night dinner and show set for this weekend, had I still been pipe major of the band, I would have felt missing Wednesday night's rehearsal was out of the question.

If I had still been in charge, I honestly don't know what I would have done.

With Emma being sick, I wouldn't have been able to even ask a friend or relative with children of their own to watch her, for fear of spreading germs. With my mother-in-law sick and her willingness to at least watch Emma that afternoon while I worked, I didn't want to push the envelope and ask her to watch her that night, too. And with Dave out of town, obviously he couldn't help.

I would have been stressed out to the max and ended up sick myself, I'm sure. And if I had found a way to make it to band practice, I can guarantee you it would have meant compromising my daughter's health and my integrity.

As it turned out, because I no longer had to bear the band's burden on my shoulders, I could do the right thing and stay home with my daughter.

The fact that I would have done otherwise had I still been the leader makes it abundantly clear that I had no business holding that position after becoming a mother in the first place.


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