Dad: so, we need to figure out what we're going to do when its time for you to go back to work.
Me: *blink, blink*
See, I was in the hospital for three weeks on bedrest. Then I had a newborn that I nursed nonstop for a week. My mother scooped us into her car and drove us to her home, two hours away from where I lived, where I managed to get my newborn on a 2-to-3 hour feeding schedule and take some naps.
What was going to be "a few weeks" turned into "a few more", and then there I was, a little over a month away from going back to work. I'd been living out of my parents guest room with a baby. I'd spent maybe three nights total back at my apartment with my newb. We'd been living as a family of four - my parents, me, the nursling. My father's question was pretty legitimate.
I was hoping (praying!) that my mother would come live with me for at least fall semester. I didn't have any daycare arrangements made, so I had no idea if I could find quality care for a four-month-old to start in a few weeks. I would be teaching under the college's new workload policy, meaning I'd have a 21-contact-hour teaching load (that's ALOT if you're not familiar). I knew it would be rough, but I was hoping that my mom would come help soften the blow of the return to work with a baby.
Nope. Nada. Uh-uh.
My dad started talking to me about quitting my job. You know, the Census Bureau is hiring, you could get a job there. I'm a freaking college professor, and you want me to just quit a full-time faculty position and take an hourly job doing data entry? Seriously?
Also, I loved my job. At least I had loved it in the beginning. I loved the area where I lived, I loved my apartment, I loved being where I was.
But over the course of a couple of weeks, I realized that I loved the way my job had been in the beginning, not currently. When it had been a reasonable workload and I had favor among my peers, not after they knew unseemly secrets about me, and I'd had a fall from grace. And there was that pesky matter about the unreasonable teaching load policy that would be going into effect. The more I thought about it, the more the worm bore into my brain, until I found myself making an appointment with my college's president to break the news, and filling out an application at a college close to my parents house.
My lease was up in mid-July, so that's when the move took place. I was still living out of my parents guest room with a baby in a cosleeper wedged against the wall. So the move was actually to fill a U-Haul truck with most of my belongings and drive it to my parents house, where we stacked it all in the garage to weather a few months. Luckily my friend Tom broke the glass coffee table so that was one less thing to pack.
|Dad got a little too close to the house ...|
|Not-so neatly stacked after a while|
I heard the good news about the new job while in the car in the grocery store parking lot. I was trying to balance a cell phone under my ear and nurse a baby in the backseat and talk about workload and schedule with a new boss while not being able to take notes.
The discussion then turned to
A house down the street from them was for sale. It was a cute little ranch, not at all like the houses I'd asked to see. Was it really big enough for three bedrooms? Something tugged at me as my dad and I would walk through the neighborhood, pushing a baby stroller to try to get her some late day sunlight and fresh air to HOPEFULLY make her sleep well. I'd look over my shoulder at the empty house and wonder.
I moved into that house in October, when my baby was 6 months old. In the middle of my first semester at a new college, with a 6 month old nursling, we loaded all the stuff into a moving van to get it five houses down the street to the new house. We stacked it into the garage in a very neat and orderly way, but as I needed to find packed items, boxed quickly became strewn all over the garage.
As the second winter in the house approached, my mother gave me a gentle nudge. Don't you want to clean out your garage, honey? So you can park you car inside this winter? Another gently nudge: I've asked your cousin to come help me move some things, do you want him to help you carry things down to the basement? So finally, we hauled the crap that hadn't been unpacked down to a large empty room in the basement.
Where it's all been collecting dust for 9 months or so.
|This is my "if I have another baby WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING?" pile|
Tonight was the first night. I had an hour, a kid, and nothing else to do. She loves the basement. So I let her play on her climbing toy while I went through boxes. The first one had jewelry, the second one photos. I couldn't have started with something easy like old purses I want to get rid of. No, bring on the emotionally laden crap in the first box.
God, grant me strength to keep the things I need, the ability to throw everything else away, and the wisdom to know the difference.