Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tick Tock

This month more than any recently, I have had the chance to catch up with some old friends.  There was our Annual Girls Weekend down the shore in early September, lunch with 2 of my college roommates last week and then this past weekend, I went to VA to celebrate the 40th birthday of one of my dearest friends (also a college roommate!).

It seems like in each instance, the past came up.  Past birthdays, past experiences, past memories.  Each time I wondered - if those things seem so far away from us now I am just 40, how will I even remember them when I am 60?  Or 80?

In some ways, the passage of time feels right.  It feels good to get older and wiser (or maybe just wiser).  I couldn't wait to drive or to vote or to drink.  By 25, I hit all the major milestones but I kept aging anyway.  And here I am.

I think back fondly to my high school days.  While not the best time of my life, it was certainly not the worst!  I loved high school theater and still get some of the songs from our productions stuck in my head.  Before those days, I was active in my synagogue youth group and those memories always make me smile.

College was quite an experience for me.  The classes, the connections, the learning from books and from people - I would not trade any of it.  

The people I have met along the way have shaped me into who I am.  Some of whom I am still friends with and some that are just faces in old photo albums.  

Post college was an assortment of jobs and career choices which I took so seriously back then and wish I could have told myself to enjoy the ride more and worry less about the rent.  But I was not that different from any other recent grad who had no idea what she wanted to be when she grew up.

Then there was the dating pool.  One day, I will write a book.  A book on love and loss and online dating.  These stories should not die with me.  I dated someone named Steve Irwin who looked NOTHING like the Crocodile Hunter.  I dated a bookie who proudly told me all his cash was hidden under his mattress.  I went out with someone who was deaf in one of his ears and I could never tell if he was laughing at my jokes or smiling because he couldn't hear a damn thing I said.

Then there was "Gary from Work".  And that was it.  Our story began the night we met and has been (to me) one of the greatest stories of all time.

Even with our loss.

Losing Allie was what defined me for so long.  Not a day goes by that I do not think of the precious life that I carried.  That I do not have a memory of her kicking me or keeping me up at night with heartburn.  I think about holding her still body in my arms and wish I had the courage to hold her longer.  

Becoming Miranda's mom at the time that I did, was simply the best.  For much of that first year, I let that define me.  It was a role I was born to play and I finally got the chance and damn, I was good at it!

Now the baby haze is fading.  She is a toddler.  She is able to do more and more by herself and watching her learn it all is one of the truest joys of my life.

Starting next week, my freelance hours will be 25/week.  It's turned it a "real" part time job.  Miranda will be in daycare 3 days a week.  And time will keep marching on.

I am not sure what is next for us, but I am kind of excited to see.  

Tick tock. It's time to make new memories. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Past and Present

Last week, my past caught up to me as I met my (former) step-brother for drinks.  My brother, Dan, came with me and we had no idea what to expect.

It has been 15 years since his dad and my mom split - but longer than that since we had seen each other since it was post college and we were already scattered.  Dan and I were local and our step-brother was in NY for a bit and then OH, where he still is now.

There is something amazing about seeing someone who has known you back before you really knew who you were.  They remember little tidbits about you or the house you grew up in or the food you used to eat...and it makes you warm from the inside out.

There was so much of my childhood that was difficult.  So much that I do not like to think too much about.  But there was a lot of good, too - and the fact that we could sit down after all these years and celebrate the good was really nice.

We are all different now - but we embraced those differences for a couple of hours one night and it was really great.

My step-brother reached out to us.  Perhaps because his sister has reconnected with us and it's been amazing.  He said it was because he lost a lot of people this year and wanted to be around positive things and life.  Whatever the reason, we are both so glad he did. 

This is a different kind of post.  This one is a "call to action".  I urge you to track down that old friend or that old family member that you still think about and try to reconnect.  See if there is anything there.  You just might be surprised.

Monday, September 8, 2014

An Anniversary of Sorts

This week marks the one year anniversary of my last day in the corporate world.  Last year this week, I was working.  Training classes, designing a corporate newsletter and towing the company line.

I did not know that behind the scenes, my company was restructuring my department.  I did not know that I was on my way out.  I did not have any idea the end was near.

In hindsight, when they laid me off, they were kind.  I received a nice severance package, was able to file for unemployment and was able to keep in touch with the contacts that I had made over 7 years.

What they also gave me was the chance to stay home and watch my daughter grow up and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

I cried for a good part of that first week.  I am not going to lie.  I was scared and anxious and depressed.  My world was turned upside down in a way that I had not seen coming and had not expected.  I was speechless and stunned.

Gradually, I found my rhythm.  We joined Gymboree.  We scheduled play dates.  We went for walks.  Miranda and I became a team even more so than before. 

I updated my resume.  I interviewed at a few places.  I dreaded going back to work and missing the changes that were bound to occur every day.

Then an opportunity to freelance came my way.  We worked out the details and it was perfect.  I could write and do marketing and be my own boss.  I could also do it all on nights and weekends and nap time. 

By early Summer, that opportunity had grown from a few hours a week to 15-20 hours a week and we were able to put Miranda in daycare twice a week.  There she gets to play with other kids, learn all sorts of things I might not even think of teaching her and experience a life outside of us.  On the off days, we are back to being a team.

By mid Summer,  I was presented with another opportunity.  In addition to my freelance, I am now an Independent Consultant for Rodan + Fields. Partnering with the doctors that created Proactiv, I am now helping my friends and family get the best skin of their lives.  It's unlike anything I have ever done but I am loving it!  The products are all great and I totally believe in them.  If things keep going well, the commission checks should be nice, too!  (Shameless plug...message me for more information if you are at all interested or intrigued!).

By late Summer, I was presented with yet another opportunity.  This job will be about 5 hours a week and it's pretty much customer service, but I can do it from home and in the meantime, help out a friend who needs help and has not been able to get it!  We are meeting tomorrow to get me started.

A year ago, I had one professional career.  Now I have several.  A year ago, I was missing my daughter day in and day out.  Now I am with her more than I ever thought I could be.  In time I want to grow my freelance business and if there is one thing this past year has taught me, it's that I can pretty much do anything when I put my mind to it.  That is a really great feeling.

I wonder how many jobs I will have a year from now??  I can't wait to see what that anniversary brings.

Miranda helping me work

Adoption In My Heart

Today was the Adoptions From The Heart Annual Picnic . We love this event. It is close to our house, it is early enough in the summer that i...