I haven’t written in a few days because I took you to visit your grandparents in the Bay Area. They are completely, head over heels in love with you and we had a good trip. You were relatively well-behaved, considering you were taken out of your everyday routine and environment and are already turning out to be an awesome traveler with three flights under you belt! Our trip is not what I wanted to write about today.
Today marks the one year anniversary since I worked. I can’t believe it! Time truly does fly and I wanted to take pause and try to express some of the mixed feelings I have about reaching this milestone and about the year behind me.
When I gave my four weeks notice, I did so for very specific reasons and then two months later I learned I was five weeks pregnant with you. The reasons I originally had for quitting my marketing manager position at a trade magazine company changed completely and for the better.
What follows is an excerpt from an e-mail I sent to a friend dated Saturday, July 26, 2008. Obviously, this e-mail was sent before I became pregnant with you. I include it here because I feels it outlines my original reasons for deciding to take some time off.
My last day at work will be Friday, September 12. As you can imagine, this was an extremely difficult decision to reach, but the very best one for me right now. It is time for me to be home, spend time with my sister, organize the mounds of paperwork that have consumed my life for the past nine months, get my lawyer to do her bleeping job by helping to close my parents’ estate, tackle numerous projects that I have been avoiding (finally read the sympathy cards and e-mails, books and articles that caring friends have sent, sort through the photographs, preserve, store, or sell my father’s carpet collection, have repair work done on the Arizona house and put it on the market, etc., etc., etc.) and most importantly, face my grief head on, or as one good friend put it, finally “lose my shit!”.
I was lead to this decision because of an epiphany I had earlier in the year, which offered some clarity. I realized that since my parents have been gone, I have been sleep walking through my life. I have been numb, quite possibly still in shock. I haven’t dealt with any of my feelings; I just keep bottling them up and pushing them aside. I am sad, but not mourning. I feel like I’m just going through the motions of my day-to-day life and hiding within the safety of my routine. I fear that the longer that I put off “losing my shit”, the harder it will be to find peace. I know that there is no escaping, no “getting over it”, I live with it day and night, with every breath I take and I am as heartbroken today as I was the day I got the call. I need this time to just BE.
I acclimated to my new life as a retired, pregnant person very well. Some days, I was just as busy as I was when I was working 50+ hours a week. I tried to sleep in, lunched with friends, walked, read a ton, visited family in Texas, made several trips to Arizona, had the carpets cleaned, a new BBQ installed, oversaw garage organizers work their magic, researched and ordered baby items until my head was spinning and as I anticipated your arrival, I attempted to grieve the loss of my parents.
I created a fine balance for myself…one day, I would be on the phone with my attorney, reconciling property and bills and funds and having documents notarized and the next I would be wandering around Babies R Us aimlessly overwhelmed with how many different styles of cribs there are to choose from. One day, I would take myself to lunch followed by a long walk on the beach, write in my journal and not talk to a soul (aside from you and your dad, of course!) and the next would be filled an afternoon of grief counseling and an evening with friends.
Having the freedom of waking up and planing my day around whatever I wanted to do, while also working on the things I needed to do was the best part. The lack of a schedule was wonderful for my psyche and emotional well being and I knew I needed to embrace every minute of it.
People often ask/ed me if I miss working and I do, some days. I mostly miss the people I worked with and using “that side” of my brain. I miss being a part of a management team that made decisions about the magazine’s image, promotion and future. I miss being asked for my opinion and contributing to the organization. I miss wearing work clothes (something I NEVER thought I’d said) and I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, I miss my 120 mile (round trip) commute. I loved listening to “Mark & Brian” on KLOS in the morning and “John & Ken” on KFI in the afternoons. It was my time to decompress.
When we would talk about having a family, we knew that I would quit my job and stay home with you. That was always a part of the plan and now that you’re here and are over three months old, the thought of having to return to work after being on maternity leave is completely mind boggling. I don’t want anyone else raising you but us.
The bottom line is, I believe that my parents, wherever they may be, had something to do with my becoming pregnant with you. I call it divine intervention, as it was way too easy and the timing of it all, too coincidental to be anything else. We had been half heartedly trying to conceive for a few months, but just figured like with most of our friends, it would take a lot longer than it did. I feel as though it was their way of letting me know that it was okay to move on with my life. Learning of your impending arrival made what could have been a very difficult time period in my life bearable. I felt lost and then found, like the dark cloud that was hanging over my head had been lifted.
The best is yet to be.