Sunday, September 30, 2012

End of an era

Okay, hopefully this is the last time I'll have to say this for a while but ... Jon was traveling again last week.  I'm fed up with this myself so I invited Julia and I to tag along.  Actually it was my last week of work and I needed to close out my job, sign some papers, turn in my keys, etc.  It had nothing to do with the free oceanfront room down at the boardwalk. Nothing at all.

Of course there were the other children to think about.  Thankfully Nonnie volunteered to take the watch.  Nonnie has a new car (just ask Jude, he'll tell you all about it) and was itchin' for a road trip.  She could only come for about 44 hours though, which was just enough for me to get away.  She did a great job and the boys thoroughly enjoyed their "slumber party" with Nonnie, who also happened to bring along lots of treats, books, puzzles, and my personal favorite - a box full of rice for each boy that he could could decorate and play with small toys in.  (Let's just say I've had to vacuum up a lot of rice this week!)  She even took pictures but sadly, I was talking while transferring them to my laptop and can now only find half of them.  Sorry Nonnie! 

Photo Credit: Nonnie
Acorn and juice box craft.
We literally said hello, I showed her my four pages of caretaking notes (I don't think she consulted them, but it made me feel better), hugged my boys and hit the road.  It was after 6 by the time I grabbed a coffee and we had a 4.5 hour drive ahead of us, if we didn't stop. In other words, it was going to be a "late one" for me. 

Photo Credit: Nonnie
Riding the "dragon" in the woods.
But it was also Julia's bedtime and within minutes the backseat was silent.  Other than a few sighs and the occasional 30 second cry, it stayed that way the entire trip.  So I actually was able to make it all the way to Virginia Beach without stopping once.  You can imagine how I felt when I pulled into the hotel, especially after finishing that large coffee 3.5 hours earlier... Well anyway, with the baby sleeping and no other passengers to worry about the trip was a cinch!  And it definitely helped to have an audiobook on my iPod.  Might as well confess it: I've given in to the peer pressure and whipped my way through the Hunger Games trilogy.  And very frugally, I might add.  I borrowed the first book from the library and was surprised to finish it before half of our camping vacation had ended.  I borrowed the second book from my Kindle owner's lending library and polished that off over the weekend.  And then I had big plans to borrow the audio book from our county library for my drive down, but there weren't any available.  So instead I signed up for a free month's trial of Audible and downloaded the whole thing on my iPod.  Eleven hours of a lady with an excellent accent later and I'm done with fiction for a little while, well at least until the next time I go on a road trip with a sleeping baby.  I just can't be giving up hours of my life to literature at this point.

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View from our sixth floor accomodations!
Back to the trip.  We got in late, Julia woke up and then didn't feel like going back to sleep for a while.  Not even the ocean air and sound of the crashing waves could calm her down.  And then she was up with the sun.  No, before the sun.  Both mornings we were there.  In some ways this was nice, I got to catch the sunrise as well as the pre-dawn show.  But the lack of sleep, in addition to my sunburnt/peeling face, probably did me no favors for my last day of work.  Especially for someone who rarely shows her face around the office anyway.

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Watching the sunrise ... bed hog!
We met up with our old pal Janine and her son Nate for breakfast and then Julia got to go to work with me.  I had an 1.5 hour meeting to attend, as well as take minutes at.  Basically I sat her on the floor next to me with a pile of the quietest toys I could find and kept slipping her snacks under the table.  This lasted for about 30 minutes and then she started sliding around, and pulling up on the chair.  and then she wanted to do what Mommy was doing.  So I minimized my document, let her "type" away on the keyboard and started taking notes by hand.  She did fairly well until about the last 15 minutes of the meeting when she started her whole grunt/squeal talent show.  In the end, she didn't too bad.  And since it was my last week of work, I tried not to let it bother me. 

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My daughter, at approximately 10pm at night, typing on my laptop.
We had lunch with some co-workers, took a short walk around campus, and then she fell asleep in her stroller on the way back to the office.  So I wheeled her into the file room and switched off the lights so she could sleep off her snack-high while I was across the hall saying farewell to friends and career with some ice cream cake.

It sounds so simple really.  I knew my job was ending on September 30, 2012 since the day I started.  It's one of the things that got me through the really hard days, the ones where I was already drafting a letter of resignation in my head.  Just one more year, just a few more months.  Just finish what you've started.  And then it was here.  More straightforwardness - fill out some resignation paperwork, type up a training manual, turn in my keys.  Piece of cake.

Photo Credit: Nonnie
Teamwork, bringing their big find in the woods back to the house.
But I'd be lying if I didn't admit it's all been much more difficult than I imagined.  I've never been one to handle change well, even if it means holding on to something that's not in my, or my family's, best interest.  I just like being surrounded with what is familiar.  There are certain other aspects of my job, my former career, that I loved as well.  And I was pretty good at it.  After 10 years of working in higher-ed admissions, and 4 years of working with an alternative route to teacher licensure program, I know my stuff.  Which has been a huge blessing.  It's rare when a student asks me a question I can't answer.  Or that I can't answer while making the bed, changing a diaper, or cleaning a toilet.  I could do most of this stuff in my sleep.  And now I have a huge area of my brain filled with knowledge that I might never use again. 

Photo Credit: Nonnie
And more than that, I feel like I'm losing the one thing I'm pretty good at.  I'm a mediocre cook, at best.  A spotty decorator.  A sporadic house cleaner.  A horrible gardner.  A sloppy seamstress.  And an amateur parent.  And when I write it all out like that, my future looks very uncertain.

I'm going to miss the well-thought emails, the adult phone conversations, the rules and regulations and the data-keeping spreadsheets.  It was a nice, neat world to slip into on evenings after trying to decipher baby babbles, mediate temper tantrums, correct bad behavior and organize messy toy rooms.  I'm going to miss that sphere, so far removed from parenthood, even if it was just typing at my kitchen table, my elbow trapped in a sticky puddle of something leftover at Jack's seat.  Or taking phone calls buffered behind layers and layers of my husband's uniforms in the back of the guest room closet, as far away as I can get from my secondborn yelling "Poops, Mom, I gotta go poops!!!"  Or telecommuting into a meeting, taking minutes with one hand while holding a nursing a baby with the other.  For despite how close to home my job would hit, it was still something different.  Something else.

But now that era ends.  After 4 years of being a work-at-home mom, tomorrow is a new day.  I have no idea what that means.  Can't even tell you what to expect.  I'm sure once I'm over the mourning period, once I stop habitually checking my phone wondering why no new emails have come in, once I step away from my laptop for hours on end, once I stop getting random calls from my boss.  I'm sure we'll start something new.  And it will be good.  And I'll even admit I'm a little excited.  It's a new era.  And I'm not even sure what to call it.

1 comment:

Charity Mack said...

You will be greatly missed! Even as a telecommuter co-worker you had/have a reputation of OUTSTANDING work. Enjoy the "time off" with your brood until the next office job falls into your lap!


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