Every once in a great while, I find myself standing on the edge of of a new stage of my life - today is one of those days.
As I'm writing this, its 11:00 on Sunday morning. Normally, I'm at church, settled into my favorite seat - second row, middle, just to the left of the slide projector. My husband is next to me, working the computer attached to the slide projector. I'm shushing the Fluffyhead Diva (who hates to sit still and quiet during prayer) and giving the evil eye to Red (who always has to go the bathroom whenever prayer begins). I'm surrounded by my church family, and it feels comfortable and wonderful.
Not this morning.
This morning, I'm sitting in bed watching movies with the kids while Hubby completes his third day of training at work. He will be starting his normal work schedule later tonight, and then our new family schedule will begin. I can't wait!
For the last two years, I have watched my husband sink deeper and deeper into a bog of heartache and self-abhorrence. His self-esteem crumbled into nothingness. He lost his job doing something he adored. It caused him to lose himself. He was happy and excited, and morphed into distant and uninvolved. It broke my heart. I was frustrated watching him. Then I got angry. I even threatened divorce. I don't live by the long-standing assumption that the man has to work and the woman has to stay home and manage the family and home, but I do believe that, as husband, it is his job to ensure and manage our familial success - in whatever form that might look like. I worked for a year of his unemployment, and while I really do love working, we were miserable because he hated staying at home and managing the insanity here, and I hated coming home after a full day of work and still have a home to manage. It was like being a single mom with a really grumpy nanny.
When I lost my job a couple of months ago, I finally put my foot down. Our family wasn't working anymore. He had to get a job and I needed to get the kids back on track with their homeschooling and medical appointments (and there have been a gazillion - but that is definitely a post for a later date). The flow had disappeared from our home. Everything was becoming a struggle, and we were starting to butt heads all day long. I tried to compel him to look for work. Then I begged him to look for a job. Anything - even flipping burgers at a fast food joint, I didn't care! Begging became nagging, which quickly became huge scream fights. He dug his heels in and got to the point where he flat out would not look for a job. One evening, on a lark, he decided to apply at one of the theme parks. The next day, he got an email to schedule an interview. Two days later, he had a job and a training schedule.
And a bounce in his step. And a twinkle in his eye. And the smile that plays so gently on his lips that I fell in love with. Sir Smiley turned 2 last week, and we met some friends for lunch to celebrate him. A very dear friend of mine leaned over to me and said - ever so succinctly, "He's back!" Yes, indeed he is!
So, this morning, he's finishing up his last day of training, then will come home to grab a few hours sleep, then will go back to work tonight at 11pm. He will be working overnight shifts, which will be very interesting around here. When he lost his job two years ago, he was working overnights, but we had a much bigger place then. It was easier for him to sleep. Now, we live in a very small space. Trying to keep the kids halfway quiet is certainly going to be an interesting challenge. Not to mention that we'll have the additional challenge of homeschooling Fluffyhead Diva along with Red. Could be a lot of fun. Or, it could lead me to spend a lot more time on here screaming with insanity and delirium because locking myself in the bathroom or rocking in a corner just isn't an option.
A new stage of our life ... and I'm ecstatic and scared and thrilled and worried. And curious. Very curious to see what is going to happen next.