Meet Tricia Glynn

The last 43 years have taught me that hard work and confidence lead to success, but it’s also important to learn to trust that you have a unique purpose in life. Sometimes this means being vulnerable and allowing yourself to go with the flow, even when life is directing you down a path that you did not choose. I learned the first part of this lesson at a very young age. The second part was a lot more challenging.

I can remember the exact day that I found my drive. I was sitting on the kitchen counter watching my Mom cook dinner. There was something on my mind, but I was afraid to talk about it. I wasn’t really sure how she would react, so I just blurted it out when she asked me to pass her a spatula.

“Mom, are we poor?” I was holding my breath and terrified that my question would make her angry.

She answered calmly, “No.”

I was surprised by her lack of emotion and a bit confused because I knew we weren’t rich so I continued my line of questioning, “Are you sure? If we are not poor than what are we?”

“Don’t worry about it. We are fine. We have enough,” she responded without removing her eyes from the mashed potatoes. My parents worked hard. My father was a police officer and my mother was a Nanny. We lived in Brookline, but probably not in the neighborhood that you think of when someone tells you that they are from that town. I don’t have a memory of my mother sitting down. She was always cooking, cleaning and taking care of kids. She looked happy, but it didn’t look like much fun to me.

“What will I do when I grow up? Will I take care of kids like you?” I asked.

She put down her spoon and turned to look at me. “What do you want to be?” I didn’t answer because I didn’t fully understand the question. What were my choices? Looking directly into my eyes she said, “You can be whatever you want to be?” This idea shocked me. “It’s not going to be easy. You will have to work very hard, but life is what you make it. If you make good choices and always do your best, you can have any job you want. Dream big, Trish” She smiled and patted me on the leg knowing that my dreams were already outgrowing my small frame. At that very moment, I knew exactly who I was going to be. I could see it so clearly. I was going to be the dolphin trainer at the New England Aquarium. I would wear a high pony tail Sandy the dolphin’s, trainer wears. I would wear the same navy blue wet suit with the white print logo on the front “New England Aquarium.” I would swim with Sandy EVERY DAY!

So, I never took the dolphin trainer route, but I did develop a love for science. I graduated from St. Michael’s College with a BS in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. After working in a research laboratory for a few years, I decided to try something new. I was exploring my options when I saw a post for a Criminalistics Chemist in Forensic Chemistry. I didn’t even know what Criminalistics was, but it sounded exciting, so I applied for the position and purchased a “Criminalistics” text book the very next day. I guess I choose the right book because in the interview I appeared to know what I was talking about and I got the job! I took a significant pay cut and started at the very bottom, just above the interns, as a level one chemist. It didn’t bother me much. I was driven to climb the ladder and I didn’t plan on staying at level one for long. In my second interview, I sat down with the Director he asked me about my goals. I shared with him, “Someday I plan on sitting right there in your seat.” Realizing that I was sounding a bit cocky, I added, “when you’re done with it, of course.” He laughed and stood to shake my hand. “It was wonderful to meet you Mrs. Glynn. I think you are going to do just fine here.”

The first year, I was in training. I worked every shift that I was offered. I just couldn’t get enough training. There was just so much to learn. I worked long hours in the lab and even longer shifts out in the field. When I completed my training, I was promoted to Chemist level two. Now that I had my own cases, I was spending even more time in the laboratory. My husband, just started a new business, so he was also working long days and nights. Things were good. We were both living out our dreams in our dream jobs and we were happy with our accomplishments. I was promoted to laboratory supervisor and working my way up, just as a promised in my interview. This is when I found out that I was pregnant. I was so excited about the thought of starting a family, but the pregnancy wasn’t easy. The morning sickness extended into my second and third trimester and working the same long hours were not as easy as they were in my pre-pregnancy body. Once my belly got too big to crawl under cars and into small space at crime scenes, I started bringing along a trainee. The smells of death with my new super sonic smelling nose was often more than I could handle and keeping my own bodily fluids in my stomach and out of the crime scene continued to be a challenge. It was time to slow down.

I worked less hours when my son was born, but still too many. The job was just not a good fit for a mother. When I was out all night at a scene, I was sent home to sleep and expected to report back to the lab after some rest, but it’s hard to sleep when your baby boy is just waking up and you didn’t get to see him the day before. A couple years later, I became pregnant with my second son. It was at about the same time that we started to noticing significant developmental delays in our son. The Pediatrician sent us for testing. She told us that she believed that he had Autism. Our son’s behaviors became more challenging to handle and with a new baby coming, something had to change.

After the birth of our second son, I decided that it was time to give up my career. My husband was supportive of the idea. He took on a second job and I stayed home. I went from working 50 to sometimes 70 hours a week to zero. I loved my boys, but I felt lost in this new world of diapers, Thomas the Tank Engine and endless days. It was exhausting. One night a week, I took a yoga class. It was the only time a was alone. I no longer had an office or a case to submerge myself in. All I had was a yoga mat.

My yoga mat became my escape from the world. In this little 6 x 2 foot space, I didn’t have to care for anyone, but myself. I could disconnect from the stress, the chores and appointments and just be me again. It was in savasana on one of these Wednesday night yoga classes that I decided that I wanted to be a yoga teacher. It felt so good to have a direction again. Now I had to go home and tell my husband that I wanted to spend money to go to school for a new career that would never pay as much as the one I just left. He was shocked and confused, but once again supportive.

Yoga teacher training was a life changing experience and it helped me to work through our youngest son’s Autism diagnosis. We now had two children with Autism. My youngest was considered, more severe. He was non verbal with significant delays. Daily life became challenging. My husband was working two full time jobs to make ends meet and I was spread too thin. My life took a major turn and I was no longer in control, my boys were. My yoga mat was my only escape, but I still felt lost. I was in survival mode just trying to get through each day. I did not feel that my life had a purpose and I wondered why I was being punished. Why was life so hard for me? It took many years before I realized that I had a purpose. I just didn’t see it because I was only willing to look in the direction that I wanted to go. I didn’t try to open my eyes to see the direction that life was leading me. It was not about me. It was about us. I was not going to be a dolphin trainer or the Director of a crime lab. I was going to be a mother and not just any mother, but a special needs mother. My job was to fight for my children to make sure that they were given every opportunity that they deserved. My job was to go to IEP meetings and ask for more, even though I already asked for a lot. My job was to research therapies, tools and treatments and to travel around the country to access them for my boys. My job was to call the insurance companies when they said no or when they said that something is not needed or unnecessary. My job is to love and support my boys in every possible way that I can. Teaching yoga is something that I am passionate about, but my job title is Mom. And I have the best job in the world.

I’ve always had the fire and the drive for the job. It just took me a little longer to learn to go with the flow. It took some time for me to learn that we can’t control everything, but the good news is, we don’t have to. Sometimes we just have to open ourselves up to new options and allow ourselves to be led.

Amber Gregory