Monday, January 26, 2015

It All Worked Out

Big news. HUGE! I'm so excited I've been vibrating today!

You guys, I have a JOB!! An honest to goodness, outside of the home, JOB! And I start in two days!!

I have been so nervous about going back to work. Like paralyzingly nervous. How does one go back to the workforce after a more than five year hiatus? Who would hire me, and more importantly what would I do? I knew I didn't want to go back as a Project Manager, but I had pretty much no idea what else I would do instead.

And then there were the logistics. How do you update a resume that has not only been dormant, but has nine years of job description you no longer want to use? And then how do you distribute said resume? Do people still use monster.com?!! LinkedIn? HOW?!

And when I get hired (somewhere, God let someone hire me), how will I fit in? Everyone will be younger and cooler, or older and more experienced. And then there's the bomb I drop about my life. When do I do that? It's always awkward, people don't know what to say. Meeting new people is HARD! Will people like me? Will my brain still work after all this time off?!

And not to forget the important part - who will look after my kids? It's not like finding care for three kids is cheap - and one of those kids needs a full time aide with him, which of course, has a waitlist for funding. And the boys would be too exhausted by before and after school care anyway, so was a magic childcare fairy going to fly in and save the day?

HOW ON EARTH WAS THIS GOING TO COME TOGETHER? On the one hand, I was sick about it. Like absolutely so stressed I could barely think about it. But on the other hand, I had this little voice in my head telling me "It'll work out". I had to listen to that voice.

You see, when you've spent the past several years of your life experiencing things not working out as you thought they should, you stop to wonder what exactly your purpose is and where you're supposed to be in life. And you can either wallow and feel sorry for yourself or a lightbulb can go on and you can go "Oh this. This is where I'm supposed to be. Didn't that all work out as it should have". So based on that, some part of me knew that when I was ready to work, something would come to me. Of the many connections I've made, both business and personal, one would pay off. I didn't expect a job to be just handed to me, but I did hope that something or someone would show me the light so to speak, and I would know what to do.

I never, in a million years, would have imagined it would happen as seamlessly, perfectly, and meant to be as it did.

So here's what happened. A few weeks ago Jordan and I met with a professional in our lives and it turned to the conversation of me starting to look for work. The kids were settled in school, the reno was done, the holidays were over -- it was time. She asked me what I wanted to do, and I told her honestly: "I want to work in an office and spend my time helping organize people. I don't want to be stressed. I want to be happy. And I don't want to have to get childcare". I chuckled to myself because I was really giving her my perfect job description, not expecting to have all of those come together.

She looked at me, nodding, and basically said "I need someone like you". What?! I was just telling her because she asked, and she just asked because I started talking about it. Neither of us knew it would be a fit! We talked about it casually and I said I'd update my resume in the coming weeks (talk about procrastination) and send it off to her. I didn't want to get too excited, but it sure sounded promising.

Well less than two weeks later, she called, having not received my resume yet (Whoops! Told you I was procrastinating). She asked me to come in and meet with her, and that was today. I quickly updated my resume, talked over all possible scenarios with Jordan and off I went. Nervous, but at the same time confident that something good would come of this. I didn't tell many people because I didn't want to jinx myself!

We met, we talked, and I was in love. This job* is every single thing on my wish list, and then some more. A lot more:

  • An office job that relies heavily on my organizational, communication, time management, and interpersonal skills
  • Not stressful
  • FUN, small staff to work with
  • Work days that run between school drop off and pick up, with a lot of understanding about kids' needs that may overlap with that timeframe
  • Ten minutes from home, in the opposite direction of rush hour traffic
  • Near amenities so I could run errands before/after 
  • She knows about everything we've been through with the boys, the thyroid, you name it - no need to drop a tearful bomb on anyone
  • She's awesome, supportive, kind, and seems to be pretty much everything you could ask for in a boss.

I am elated. I texted a girlfriend this morning and she asked if I was excited, felt like barfing, or both. Excited only. No barfing! I have no reservations about this whatsoever. It was like this job was perfectly made for me, and at the same time, for what my new boss needs. And you know what she said to me about it? That she couldn't help thinking it was meant to be! That makes two of us!

See?! I knew it would all work out (pardon the pun!). Months of worrying and it all came together. With essentially no effort on my part. My goodness do I feel lucky.

My kids are happy, healthy, and doing wonderfully in school. My house is amazing, and has everything we could possibly need. My husband is a rock and works hard to support his family in every way possible. And now, finally, it's my turn.

I really cannot tell you just how good I feel. I HAVE A JOB! And when you get a new job after five years of wearing jeans every day, you know what you get to do? SHOP for a new work wardrobe! That made my day even more fun!

So now that brings me to my final question - how does one go about being a working mom again?! Someone's got a whole lot of learning ahead of her - but I can't wait! The past five years of this have been amazing, but now it's mama's time!




*I am being purposely vague about the actual job. I think it's best to leave work details off the blog. But friends and family - feel free to call or email and ask :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Books of 2014

At the start of 2014, I decided to give myself a challenge: read 26 books in the year. Why 26, you ask? Well there are 26 sets of "two weeks" in a year, and I figured two weeks was a good average to reading a book. I ended up being pretty bang on, having read 31, but a few of those unfinished because I couldn't get into them. Some, like "The Luminaries" took me about a month because I had to force myself to finish, while others I would read in two or three sittings. There's even a few youth fiction on there that I pre-read before Rio did - either because I wasn't sure about the content, or because I was re-reading a childhood favorite.

Now I didn't do this because I need encouragement to read, but I did it because I never seem to remember what I've read and wanted to keep track. For instance, right at the end of the year I took Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" out of the library thinking to myself "You are far too seasoned of a reader to have never read a classic like this". Well turns out I was right, because I had read it. God knows when, but it took about three pages before I went "Ohhhh this one", and closed it up.

Anyway I'd like to give you a synopsis of all of these but that would be impossible because unless a book is very, very special to me, I have a hard time remembering what it was about. So other than a few notes here and there, here goes - my list for 2014:

1. To The End of The Land – David Grossman

2. Given – Susan Musgrave (incomplete - just couldn't get into it)

3. 1Q84 – Haruki Murakami

4. Ladykiller – Charlotte Gill

5. This is How You Lose Her – Junot Diaz

6. Annabel – Kathleen Winter

7. Hands Free Mama – Rachel Macy Stafford

8. Cockroach – Rawi Hage

9. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

10. The Orenda – Joseph Boyden

11. The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

12. All My Puny Sorrows – Miriam Toews - My FAVOURITE book of the year!

13. We Were the Mulvaneys – Joyce Carol Oates

14. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

15. Waging Heavy Peace – Neil Young (incomplete - wanted to like it because he has two sons with CP but it was painful)

16. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – John Boyne

17. Out of My Mind – Sharon M. Draper

18. Rules – Cynthia Lord

19. City of Women – David R. Gillham

20. Little Bee – Chris Cleave

21. The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes

22. The Sea – John Banville

23. The Witches – Roald Dahl

24. The Great Cake Mystery – Alexander McCall Smith

25. Four Before Their Time – Timothy Spillane

26. 419 – Will Ferguson

27. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage – Haruki Murakami

28. We Are Water – Wally Lamb

29. A Wedding in December – Anita Shreve

30. Freedom – Jonathan Franzen (incomplete - just couldn't do it, which was disappointing because "The Corrections" is one of my faves)

I've got a good start to this year, with a Giller finalist and a Giller winner both on the go at the moment. Any of these you loved or hated? Got any good recommendations?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Very Different Question

He hangs up the phone and relays the latest and greatest catastrophe to me, as he has done every night for half a year. I rarely make the call myself; I've done it only a handful of times when he's out or away. I am too scared to hear the news. Somehow it is easier if it comes from him, rather than the doctor.

What a burden my poor husband, a former pediatric nurse, carries - to pass on the events of the later part of each day since we've left the hospital for the night. Sometimes it's only the results of a weigh-in or bloodwork; other times some serious complication has managed to arise in the few short hours since we were last there.

If yet again one of them is particularly fragile, or becoming increasingly ill, my question to him is the same:

"Will he die from this?".

What a terrible question for a mother to ask; and what a worse question for a father to answer.

***

An IV is in his head, with his endotracheal tube down his throat and taped to his face, along side his feeding tube. His eyes are closed and he isn't moving. He can't - he's been sedated in an effort to keep him comfortable. Every few minutes the tube is suctioned and more unexplained blood is removed. His lungs are hemorrhaging for no known reason. In addition to the multitude of blood transfusions he has already received and will continue to receive to help elevate his hemoglobin, he now needs one to replace the blood volume he has lost. He is very, very sick. Helpless.



Today, that baby is skiing.

***

He lies on his back, a multitude of leads glued to his head. His body reacted in an unfamiliar way last night so now they are querying seizures. He has just had a lumbar puncture - a needle inserted into his spine - to rule out infections. His brain is a mystery since he suffered a massive hemorrhage a few weeks ago. No one is yet sure of how his body will compensate. Will his brain swell, requiring surgery and a shunt? Will he have seizures? Will he be able to communicate? All questions we need to wait and see. He is so quiet and still, barely recognizable as a baby under all of the tubes and wires. Helpless.



Today, that baby is reading.

***

The question I ask their dad now is a very, very different one.

"Will they ever understand what absolute miracles they are?"

How blessed we are to see miracles unfold every single day.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Reader

I've suspected this was happening for a while. At first I convinced myself he was just memorizing things until he'd come out with strangely difficult words I knew he was seeing for the first time.

Then I'd randomly hear him say a word here or there and I'd ask him what he'd just said or why he'd said it, and he'd respond, "Oh nothing".

So I tried putting him on the spot. "What does that say Asher?". I'd be met with a red face and a head shake and a quiet "I don't know".

But I knew he knew. So I tried a different approach: open a book and start pointing to the words. I'll let you see what happened (make sure you've got the sound turned up)....




Sorry for the quality of the video, but I didn't want him to know I was recording or he would've stopped. For the record, that is the first time I've ever tried to have him read to me, with a library book he hadn't opened until just then. He had never seen this book before, other than the few minutes he spent picking it out during library time. So officially - he reads!! How cool is that?!  And he learned so quickly (or more like over a long period of time but he didn't let on).

Now I realize this doesn't mean he's a certifiable genius, and other kids learn to read this early into kindergarten (or sometimes even before) but really, how clever is he?! I mean Rio is a smart girl and has read far beyond her grade level since she was officially "taught" to read in Grade 1 - but in kindergarten she could not do this, not even close. By the end of kindergarten she was reading "cat" and "bat" and "can" and "ran" and that was about it. Which is where I expected her to be, and where Nolan is approaching without any struggle. But as you can see, Asher skipped riiiight past that.

I am so, so happy for him, and so thrilled that his childhood of staring at books has paid off in a big way. And if anyone deserves for something to come easily to him for a change - shouldn't it be this guy?


Friday, January 2, 2015

Skiing With Emotion

The house is relatively quiet while Asher and a friend play play-dough at the kitchen table. I've got a bunch of fun activities planned for Asher this weekend (including a date at a "fancy restaurant" - his words - for the two of us tonight). I am making things very special for him because he is now the only child in the family who doesn't get to go skiing. While it used to be Rio and Daddy's thing, now it is Rio, Nolan, and Daddy's thing. Yes, Nolan is skiing!

My heart is over-run with emotion about this. I cried off and on all morning yesterday before they left. I am so excited for Nolan that he is old enough and strong enough to do this. I am amazed that my once frail, tiny baby is able to accomplish a physical feat like this. But I am also nervous that his unsteady gait, lack of balance, and weak ankles and knees will prevent him from safely mastering it. And lastly, I am sad that Asher is left out (for now at least, until he is old enough to begin adaptive skiing).

It's been so hard for me to let go and let my "babies" out into the real world. How funny that skiing is something else I view in this way. But as always, when I need to let go, they're ready far before I am.

I mean, these photos really say it all, don't they?






And for a little throw back...how about this sweet little girlie her first season skiing? Now starting her fifth season, her second on a snowboard, I can't believe she used to be as little on skis as Nolan is now!



I know how far she's come, so I can only expect the same for Nolan, right? What's a little CP - nothing's stopped him before. 

Breathe mama, as I look at the clock and see he's an hour into his first lesson. He's ready, even if you're not. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Good-bye 2014, Hello 2015

In previous years, I've done a recap of the year prior by posting the first sentence of the first post of each month. It's amazingly always covered all of the major events of our year and has been a fun thing to do. I tried to do it this year but you know what, it wasn't fun. It was a chore. So instead, here's our year:

We bought a wheelchair van. We renovated our house. The boys started school.  Asher got a power chair. And we lived happily ever after. The end.

That is truly how I feel about this year. A bunch of MAJOR things happened this year, and a bunch more minor things filled in the gaps. This was a very, very good year for us. I can truly say not only was it the best Christmas, but 2014 was the best year I can remember in a long time. No no, that's too vague. 2014 is the best year we've had since the loss. Since the boys have been born. Since cancer. Since a lot of bad things.

When things are good for us, I am constantly fearing the other shoe is going to drop. It's hard not to feel that way when we have faced so many challenges over the past six years. But instead of listening to that nagging worry I'm trying to focus on how many good things really could lie ahead. If this past year is any indication, we're on an upward swing (knock on wood, knock on wood, knock on wood).

Live to your potential. Be present. Take care of your body and soul. From my family to yours, may 2015 bring you health, happiness, and a full heart.