Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I've got Peace Like a River

I am forcing myself to sit in front of the computer and type this all out. I wouldn't call what I'm feeling denial, or sadness; though being suddenly without a job is a change that needs to be processed. I've spent the past 2 days in a flurry of action: 2 different soups, 3 batches of bagels, and tomato sauce made from scratch and frozen, counter top cleaned, phone calls made, tackling the basement. Things I've not have time to do are getting done. The kids are enjoying their last week of full time school while I'm getting the house in order and prepping for future meals. But I haven't really thought about it.

And I should.

Five and a half years is a long time to spend in any relationship. Prior to this job, I had spent time as a vagabond for various nonprofit causes. A year here, eighteen months there, and when the term had ended, always thinking "what next?"

My most recent job was a curious blend of rewarding and deadening. I haven't written about it here much. This blog is for family stuff, and while my job was part of the family (especially after it moved in with us in January), it just wasn't a positive force in my life, so I left out those details. Basically, as long as I could consider my clients as the people I worked for, I was happy.

I don't know what's next. Something in between licking my wounds for a bit (for the loss, as well as processing a self-guilt thing for staying for as long as I did) and kicking back and enjoying a sabbatical. My friend Mandy gave me permission to take some time to be conscious about things, and I only realized yesterday how much that meant to me. So, for now, you'll find me in between those 2 extremes.

I have been spending little moments with Willa, before her final kiss of the day, lying next to her in my old twin bed and talking about and to God. We discuss what we were grateful for for that day, and what we might need help with the next day. And we tell/ask God. She tells me she's shy to talk to God, so she asks me to tell God things for her. This is a new thing for us. I love it. Last night while I was walking out, she asked me, "Mama? Did I make God smile today?"

I like her.

Henry, too, is getting some of my refocused God thing. Before lying him down, I hold him and sing this old song. A little slower than those talented ladies, no clapping, and no robes. We found the song on an Elizabeth Mitchell CD, and I've used it as a hymn of centering. For weeks, that melody calmed a crying Henry. I've written before about how the act of singing while faced with a crying child has been calming for both parties. This song does it. Every time.

I don't know if - by freeing up some space in my life - I have more room to think and be grateful - or just be... Maybe it's the lifting of the burden of a job that I dreaded, the release from a boss who gave me hives. Or maybe I'm just happy because I'm able to do what I want to do for a while until possibly another next thing comes my way. It's an incredible feeling of freedom and serenity and I sometimes catch myself grinning while chopping carrots.

This is all to say, I am good. And stay tuned.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The transition from quadra- to biped. AKA Henry walks!

We were retreating at my parents cottage at Higgens Lake last week when someone decided to create some excitement.

It was really special to me that Henry started walking while Jim, Willa and I were all there. These are - literally - his first steps.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


The universe is doing it's thing, and I think tomorrow will show some big changes in the job department. I'm not going to be posting this today (Wed), but I'm using this to get some premptive thoughts down.

I am feeling paranoid, and perhaps it's justified. The organization is in the red, and it won't be a surprise if there's another round of layoffs.

If I get let go tomorrow, I'll be sad. I've been here for 5.5 years. I've met a lot of great clients, community contacts, and coworkers. I'll also be relieved. Honestly, this isn't the job I applied for. My skills and education are being neglected.

We'll see what tomorrow holds.


Hi pals, so I wrote the above on Wednesday, 9/16 and was let go the next day. I am - genuinely, absolutely, not-a-defense mechanism, okay. I'm pretty hurt by the way it happened, but I'm seeing all kinds of silver linings. This coming week will be the kids' last week at daycare full time. Willa will keep going 2 1/2 days to give her some consistency and socialization (and, frankly, give me some time with Henry alone).
We spent a few days as a family at my parent's cottage. It was going to be relaxing and carefree, but turned out to be all 4 of us sick with aches and head stuffiness and chills and fevers. But we're recovering now.
I'm looking forward to taking some time to figure out next steps, and ensuring that the next step is toward a positive contribution.

Henry had a checkup yesterday. At 11 months, he's a svelte tall fella. 24 pounds and 31 inches.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Faith on dark 2 lane highways: a parable

Last night my car and I did not hit a bear.

Two night ago, none of us slept well. We had returned from adventures in the North, and our schedules were off. 3/4 of us adapt better to than than the littlest 1/4. Henry was up a whole lot two nights ago, which meant that Jim was up for a while with him (as with Willa at this age, I've stopped going in at night, as he doesn't see me as mom in the dark, he sees me as a walking meal/comfort under a t-shirt). After nearly 2 hours, I tagged in. I patted Henry's back, walked and swayed with him, and eventually- after an hour - gave in to comfort nursing him (bad, bad, bad). And finally... at about 5 am, we got some sleep.

And then Willa came downstairs in tears because the ball that Midnight - her invisible black cat - plays with had fallen under the bed and, Midnight? She neeeeeds it. Willa did not care that Midnight was sleeping, that it was the middle of the night, or that her mom was growling at her.

So... not a lot of sleep 2 nights ago. I know, you're all, "uh... Amy... the bear?" I'm getting to it.

Yesterday I started work at the usual time. I left my desk mid-afternoon to head north for a client education program. The highway was closed up there, my alternate route added a lot of unexpected drive time. The program was wonderful: more participants than expected and a fantastic speaker. After evaluations and post-program chats, I walked out of the building at 8:30 pm. This building is in Traverse City, and my little house with my little family in it is a little over 2 hours away. When the expressway is open.

I was tired, and had worked a long day, and was on a dark two lane highway.

Friends, I do not believe I have shared here the misfortune that the Ford Focus de Sinki has suffered in the past. One night on the way from Warren to West Michigan, a coyote attempted to cross the expressway right in front of me. Another night, on the way from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids, a deer ran into the side of my car. Another night, in Grand Rapids at a red light, a car came off of the highway exit at a high speed, and smashed into the front of my car. He backed up, and hit me again before driving off.

So, when I saw the bear crossing sign on Michigan highway 115 last night, I was feeling certain that I would be calling my insurance company to let them know that wildlife and I had met again. And have you seen that sign? An adult bear followed by two cubs. It's a warning and a guilt trip all in one; watch for bears or have the soul of a bear cub on your shoulders forever.

I was so tired. And white knuckling the steering wheel. 5 miles, the sign warned. This one sign bracketed by several deer crossing warnings. Every tar mark up the road was surely a bear in my tired mind. Every sign on 2 posts was a deer. I was just coming from a seminar on managing stress in your life. Irony.

I decided that I would do the best that I could, and not worry about what was outside of the realm of my high beams. I literally shouted, "BEARS! Lie down and don't move!" I relaxed and decided that I would have faith that everything was going to work out for the bears, the Focus and I, that I could not really control the situation, that I should enjoy the quiet time in the car, and the power to put whatever music I like on the stereo.

I got home at 11 in one piece. Oops, I forgot: BEARS! Carry on...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


"Willa, how many trees do you think are in this forest?"

She looked around the old growth of Hartwick Pines as though she was about to count all of the trees. Perhaps she was lazy, or maybe she remembered that her counting capability goes as high as 20 (and omits the number 13). She answered: "all of them."

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

This is my son. It still feels strange to say and type "my son." Just as much, I think as it was strange to type "my daughter." I have a firm understanding that the kids are for keeps, and I feel so very lucky. But sometimes the 15 year old in me is astounded that we've come this far.
Henry has ten and a half months of Sinki seniority. He has been wearing his first pair of shoes for a few days now. Velcro amuses him. He loves to dance and shake his head back and forth. He is a great eater and a mediocre sleeper. He is FULL of JOY. Henry loves to look at books, spending many consecutive minutes looking through his collection. He gives big ole kisses to me, and claps when he is excited. Both happy excited and frustrated excited. This means he claps when he's angry that I'm pinned him down to change his diaper. Henry has a temper. It is difficult to not laugh at a baby's temper.