Thank you to my awesome friend, Abby for sharing this with me. It was exactly what I needed today, and I’m sure exactly what you need, too.
Entries Tagged as 'inspiration'
She’s almost seven but I don’t believe it. If I met someone and they were almost seven, I’d consider them a child, sure, but a baby? No. But I didn’t meet her when she was almost seven. I met her at three, and because of our consistent relationship, one in which I see her weekly, she hasn’t aged. I still push her hair out of her face and hold her on my hip. I still hear her tip toe to the potty when she’s supposed to be sleeping and dash up the stairs to see if she needs me. She doesn’t. She’s almost seven.
She can read the things I type on my phone now, tell me that it’s not time for bed yet, and add up how many M&Ms she got versus how many I gave Gabe. These facts should tell me that she’s no longer three, but I ignore them. I always swoop my finger down her perfect nose and she does the same to me. We both lay in her twin bed after Gabe has fallen asleep and we talk about how we both wish I could come over everyday. I see a lot of myself in Grace and I try to show her the light parts of me. The parts I’m proud of. The brave and smart and laid back parts. She doesn’t know I cry a lot. She doesn’t see me break.
It was just another Tuesday night. I drive from work to their house and stand at the counter while they eat dinner and tell me the biggest things that have happened since the Tuesday before. Gabe always has a new teeny tiny scratch on his leg or elbow to show me and Grace always learned something new. Like, did you know that in Idaho, it is unlawful to give another citizen a box of candy that weighs more than fifty pounds? And I say, I didn’t know that but I think a box of candy that is more than fifty pounds is probably too much candy anyway. She nods and goes back to her dinner.
I have about an hour between the time that I get there and the time they need to start getting into bed, so I make up a game that will keep them from braiding my hair the whole time or doing cartwheels off the couch.
On my count, you each run and choose five blocks of wood. You have a few minutes to build a race course that the car can zoom through without stopping. They each show me what they’ve built. Then they switch courses and have to improve upon what the other has built. They show me again and we all laugh at how the cars really don’t go far at all. They like to be timed and they like to be competitive They like cars and they like building. We play a few rounds and then we start cleaning up.
I noticed a slight shift. She was getting tired, needy and sick of Gabe. He was putting blocks into a bucket and she threw one in, knowing it would probably hit him, not knowing the consequence. It did, and he cried. I knew she immediately regretted it. I told her to say sorry. Embarrassment mixed with exhaustion and she was gone. Running away from me, crying, completely falling apart. I had seen it before. Wasn’t she three years old? Or was she almost seven? I couldn’t remember.
I looked up at the ceiling as her footsteps pounded above – us in the living room, her in the bedroom now. I looked back at Gabe.
“She just likes to cry and be alone sometimes,” and he put the blocks away.
I went upstairs to talk to her, but she ran again, crying louder, this time back down to the couch, burying her head in the pillow.
“I don’t feel good. I’m having a bad day. NO ONE IS BEING NICE TO ME. I just want to be alone!” she was losing it.
I couldn’t help but half smile and shake my head. Karma. Is this not exactly what I did last night? Was James not in this exact position that I’m in now? Following me around, hopeless, trying to calm the emotions of a woman gone mad? What did I want?
I crouched right down to her level and spoke really quietly,
“Grace. I know how you feel. You must feel so sad and feeling sad must be making you so tired. When we feel like no one understands, we push them away. But what we really need is a hug, huh?”
I had her attention now, she didn’t even notice she wasn’t crying, just looking at me with bloodshot eyes and damp curls.
She hugged me so I kept talking.
“Last night, I was crying too because I just felt so sad and tired. I felt like no one could understand me. I don’t want to see you be sad. It’s probably been a really long day.”
I carried her up while Gabe pulled tissues out from a box for his sister.
Later, I told her about when she was three and how mad she used to get. Oh the fits she used to throw. I told her how when I first met her, I didn’t know how to make her feel better when she was sad. I told her I’ve gotten much better at it and also that she’s grown up so much. She’s almost seven! She smiled.
I realized then that she might not outgrow it. I realized that I probably wouldn’t either.
Then I imagined an older James and an older Jenna. He would say, I remember when you were younger, oh the fits you used to throw. I didn’t know how to make you feel better when you were sad. But I think I’ve figured you out. And also, you’ve grown up so much.
An almost seven year old and a twenty-five year old fell sound asleep at 8 o’clock.
The first three roles we play: mother, business woman and super model, are typically blurred when we’re young. We layer on necklaces and tilt a plastic bottle, stack papers and shift a babydoll on our hip, wobble in too-big heels and type nonsense on a keyboard. We glide from one role to the next, without the wisdom to know the complexity of juggling. We want to feel beautiful and we want to nurture and we want to provide, and so, we role-play in our mother’s lipstick and our father’s briefcase and we make it work.
I have been taking odd jobs for the past three years – some fun and some awful, all underpaid. All temporary. I’ve worked at start-ups made up of five people and I’ve contracted at huge corporations with no benefits. The job I took last May was a one year contract job doing something I wasn’t interested in – but when you’re laid off, you’ll do anything to make ends meet. Before being laid off, I had worked at three small companies learning about branding and social media. I loved what I was doing but the industry was new and no one could afford a new grad with a lot to learn. I watched my friends get salaries, vacation time, promotions and bonuses, all while I bounced from one place to the next just hoping someone would understand my skillset, realize my potential.
I saw James reach his five year mark in his career and I saw people get engaged and get pregnant. I started to wonder how I had fallen so far behind? I wasn’t climbing the corporate ladder or starting a family. I hadn’t furthered my education in that time or saved a bunch of money. I was 25 years old and I was playing dress up in my own life. Stacking someone else’s papers, holding somone else’s baby.
One morning I was reading an article about a woman in her 20s doing what she loved. I became enthralled with her image. Not her, but the idea of her. This smart, successful career woman who probably worked her ass off to get there. She wore heels and lipstick, she had a family and a briefcase. I searched for more women like her, and they were everywhere. I made a plan.
My career wishlist started to grow: I wanted to work for an established company, I wanted to be permanent, full-time, I wanted stability. I wanted benefits, vacation time, and a decent salary, but mostly, I wanted to do something I loved and work with creative types who inspired me.
I continued to contract full-time on my mom’s insurance, assist another start-up for free, and wrote here daily to continue the craft of writing and social networking.
Today, the industry I’ve immersed myself in for three years is finally taking off. I’m no longer in the new grad pool and this blog has proved to be the best portfolio I could have asked for. I’m starting a job in two weeks doing what I love at the second largest newspaper in New England and those family dreams are not so far away anymore. I’d be lying if I said I’m not terrified to see my dreams come to life. When you’ve had a fair share of loss, that’s natural. I’ve felt undervalued and I’ve definitely wanted to give up, but I am constantly reminded that hard work pays off. I have a lot of people to thank for this next chapter, but the biggest help of all were those women who shared their story and inspired me. So thanks for reading mine.
Who has inspired you? What’s on your career wishlist?