Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Tragic Loss...

I had a post planned for today.

It was going to be about Big Brother and the comparisons that could be made between the shenanigans on a reality TV show and the whole "Gang of Six" and "Cut, Cap, and Balance" crap going on in Washington.

And then I got an email at work from a friend.

Someone in our community lost her husband yesterday. He was 27 years old. They have a child Jacob's age and a daughter that will be 4 months old next weekend.

Since then, I've been unable to focus on anything except how many frivolous things I get involved with on a daily basis and how much more rich and full my life would be if I put that energy into loving my husband and making our home a calm and peaceful retreat from the stress of everyday life.

If you are the praying type, please send up prayers for this young mother, who now has to make a multitude of decisions about how to move forward from this painful moment in her life.

And if you're not, then give your husband a kiss when you get home, forgive him for the annoying mistake he made yesterday, and be glad that you have him at all.

**If I get any news about memorial funds or anything that can be done for this family, I will post for you all to share. I would prefer to keep her anonymous for now as her blog has not been updated (can you imagine) and I don't know how far into the interwebs she wants this information to travel. Some of you, however, know the story and the names already. If you don't, God will know who your prayers are for.**

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

One of Those Moments

I knew we had made a mistake within three steps.

It was a rare night in our household, where it was nearly 9PM and my little guy was still crying in his crib after 30 minutes. My husband had just come upstairs to find me at the computer, trying to shut out the crying, nerves frayed, and gave me some much needed relief when he said, "this isn't normal...we should go check".

So we walked in, and I saw Jacob turtled on his "pillow" in the corner of the crib, not standing as I'd expected. ::sigh:: Wrong move, mom. Confirmed after he sat up, glared at us, and shouted "No, Mommy! No, Daddy!" before continuing to sob.

But, we were in, and there was no turning back. So I shooed daddy out, picked up my sweet baby boy, and sat down in the rocker as he frogged me, his sobs turning to gentle hiccups as he relaxed. We sat like this for a long while, me just smelling his hair and kissing him way, way too much above the ear.

After a little bit (who is to say, time was standing still), I whispered to ask if he was still awake, he lifted his head and just looked at me, exhausted. 

"Do you want to get back in your bed?" I tried gently. He shook his head no. "Do you want me to hold you like a baby?" This is our code for his favorite pre-bed position since he was six weeks old, roughly. He didn't answer, but leaned as far to his right (facing me) as he could, and I let him relax. Holding him in my lap, his head on my left arm, with my right arm supporting his legs, his left arm draped over mine, he finally succumbed.

And for the first time in over a year, I got to watch my baby fall asleep.

Y'all, nothing else matters. This was a gift, and I would have gladly given up chocolate and cheese for a year of holding this child while he slept in my arms.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Oh, am I Lucky...(WMW Post)

I'm linking up for the first time in a while with Julia and the gang at Working Mom Wednesday. Are you a working mom? Check us out!

As I am not a very good scheduler in the least (you can expect if I say "we'll be there no later than 10" you will see me around 10:30) I have chosen today's second prompt: would you rather have a large salary and crappy benefits or a smaller salary and stellar benefits?

As someone who has been in both positions, I can definitely say "Option B, Alex".

See, before kids I worked in retail management and I did this in some capacity or another for almost 10 years. I was 26 years old, in the mid-2000's, no kids, newly married, buying my first house, making close to 50 grand with no college education. I felt special, as if I had somehow charmed my way into being someone I shouldn't be. (Looking back, obviously I worked hard for that position.) Our benefits were better than most retail companies: I got 3 weeks of paid vacation, 4 personal days a year, and sick time when my store wasn't too short-staffed to manage without me (ok, so I rarely got sick time).

On the other hand, I only got one full weekend off a month, had to work until 10PM twice a week, and some weeks (during floor changes and inventory) worked well over my salaried 40 hours. I had to bow out of last minute weekend trips to the beach and turn down free college football tickets while all of my friends went tailgating on Saturdays. I was beginning to imagine raising a child in all of this and thought we could make it work, but looking back, I am SO GLAD I lost that job. The company has gone through rough times, been bought and sold and their commitment to a "work-life balance" is nearly non-existent at this point.

And then there's my job now. I started at the ground floor, doing a job that a lot of people feel is suited for a retiree or college student, and taking a cut in salary back to what I was making as a 21 year old in my first assistant manager retail position. But as I've learned this new world of banking and all of it's intricacies and regulations and audits, I have fallen in love. Sure, I have the occasional complaint about the battle between salespeople and operational people. Sure, I have clients that sometimes are like a stump in the thick mud I'm trying to navigate. Sure, I occasionally talk my husband's ear off on our commute home at the crazy thing that happened this morning. But overall, I love being able to pack up at 5PM (ish...sometimes 5:30) and head home.

Friday nights have a new meaning: a relaxed family night where we're not as strict on Jacob's bedtime and we don't feel the rush-rush-rush to get dinner made, eaten, baby bathed and in bed within 2 hours of getting home. And I now know the feeling of having the whole (3-day Holiday) weekend stretched out before me, with no mind paid to work whatsoever. I traded in my lovely weekday off for having off Columbus and President's Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veteran's Day, and any other day the Federal Government deems a holiday. I was paid in full for 8 of the 12 weeks I was home on maternity leave for doing absolutely nothing for this company.

The typical benefits are pretty similar to what I was getting in retail, comparable vacation-sick time. Slightly better health benefits (I paid $750 total for my entire pregnancy from the first visit to the surgery to the 6 week follow up.)

But the work-life balance benefits are incomparable. And worth every bit of the $48,000ish (before taxes) that I've "lost" over the last 3 years.