Saturday, March 23, 2013
Warning....this is a long post....partly repetitive, partly autobiographical. It's not really humorous, but it makes me feel good to pour out my heart and my feelings.
It's been a long, cold winter.
I live in Minnesota...the winters are always long. Always cold. But I've always had a lot going on, and when you are busy, you are less likely to pay attention to the long, drawn out season. Last year at this time I was working....on my last few weeks at a job I loved, and helping wind down operations for a company moving out of state. Last spring was unseasonably warm, so by the time I was home full time in April, it was distinctly summer=like. And I was still busy....taking classes, preparing for the next step, looking for a new job in my field.
I didn't look very hard at first. After all, I had severance pay for the first several months. Towards fall, I started to put my whole heart into the job search. The severance period was over, and I didn't want to be on Unemployment for any longer than necessary. I went on a few interviews, did some testing for a couple of companies, came in close but never received any job offers. Most of my former co-workers are in the same boat. Some are working at jobs they hate. Others have resorted to taking temporary or consulting work. A few lucky ones have landed positions they love. And some of us are still out there....floundering....the market isn't exactly flooded with offers for fifty-something women whose college degrees are 30 years old and basically irrelevant. I'm too old and too experienced to start over again at the bottom of the ladder, working for 10 bucks an hour. On the other hand, the competition is so great that jobs such as the one I held are asking for Masters Degrees, CPA's, or at the very least Bachelor's Deegrees in Business....my Liberal Arts Degree is pretty useless in today's business world.
So I had a lot of choices to make. It was clear that it was time to re-invent myself. I did a ton of soul searching. But my thoughts kept circling back to one place. When my daughter (now about to turn 27) was a baby, I was fortunate to have my mom nearby and willing to babysit. I never worried about her....so many moms have anxiety over leaving their children in someone else's care....but not me. I knew how lucky I was. And yet, a part of my heart just ached every time I dropped her off. She was happy. She was flourishing. And I was miserable. I felt like I might miss something. Eventually, I decided to put my college education to work. I had graduated with a teaching degree during a time where schools were closing all over the country. The baby boom was over, and the boomers hadn't started the next wave yet. I never taught. But my love for working with children remained....and in an epiphany of sorts, I suddenly realized that I could have the best of all worlds. I could be home with my baby. I could work with children. I could bring in good money. I could use my training to build a program that would ease the worries in other parents minds about leaving their children so that they could work. I could do all these things, and more!
And so it began that I ran a successful day care out of my home for 13 years. I loved it. I never felt the burnout so many providers feel. But as my baby prepared to head to high school, we decided to move. We wanted to be in a better school district. And we were tired of the never-ending home projects involved in our 80-year-old home. We moved to the suburbs, into a beautiful, safe neighborhood into a 10-year-old home that had no projects that needed to be done. And we moved my mom in with us, and with her there in the daytime, and my kids ages 11 and 14, it was decided that instead of building a whole new clientele, I would close my business and go back to working outside the home. And I did, and that's the job that I came to love, and which laid me off and moved to Memphis last spring. They say that everything that goes around comes around. And so it did....
A couple of months ago I had another moment of epiphany. Mulling it all over....wondering how to reinvent myself....suddenly an idea started to take root and blossom in my mind. I tossed and turned for several nights. I prayed for guidance. This plan would involve making some real changes around our house. Babyproofing. Maneuvering around cribs in the bedroom, highchairs at the table. Stepping over toys. But the more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I talked it over with the family. Everybody was on board. John is willing to sacrifice his peace and quiet for giggles and songs and fussy babies. My mom seemed excited about something for the first time in a long time. My kids cheered me on. I told my facebook friends and my Spark Friends, and got such meaningful affirmation from everybody. Former day care parents and now-grown day care kids were there with kind facebook comments that actually made me weep. I sent in the initial application, and waited for an invitation to the next intake meeting. They do it five times per year, and only 35 participants per meeting, so I had no idea how long I would wait. But I figured I could always back out of I changed my mind. I'd keep looking for work in the meantime. But it soon became clear that I was searching half-heartedly at best.
See, the thing about this long, cold winter is that I found joy in staying home and planning the cheerful changes I'd be making in my home. I found myself missing my old co-workers, but not the idea of dressing for work every day, fighting the freeway traffic, and all sorts of nuances of office life. I started wondering how it would feel working with two-year-olds again...rather than adults who just ACTED like two-year-olds. And I knew the answer. And I started watching for the letter from the Day Care Licensing Unit of my local county with great anticipation. And yesterday.....it came.
I will be going to meetings on April 11 and April 18. I know in my heart this is what I want to do. At the first meeting we will learn about the rules and regulations, training requirements, etc, and get all necessary paperwork. At the second meeting we will turn in the paperwork, set up the home inspection and the fire inspection. Once I attend these meetings, there will be no turning back. Does this bother me? No Way! I am only more and more excited.
Next winter will be just as long, just as cold. But I will be living a purposeful life, making a difference in the lives of some very important people. Yes indeed, the sun is peeking through!