Monday, November 17, 2014

Grace

It's amazing to me how God works.  I have been comforted lately by the knowledge lately that God knows what is in my heart, even when I am tired and frustrated and being short with my family, or when I forget to say prayers of Thanksgiving but I feel grateful, or when I forgotten to say prayers of petition but I have a yarning in my heart for something.  Even when I do not voice these things in prayer, God still knows.

Sometimes I have a thought or a want or need in my heart and I find it addressed or answered and I wonder to myself later "how did God answered that prayer I never even spoke it out loud?"

What is also amazing to me is how God answers my prayers, sometimes more quickly than anyone would ever think is possible.

I've been thinking for a few weeks now that even with the vision therapy, there is still something funky going on with the way that Ramona learns.  I voiced this concern to our friends in our small church community meeting a couple weeks ago and I asked for prayers for wisdom because I don't know where to go next. All of my life I always have a plan for everything and this time I don't know what my next step should be.  

When I finished speaking, one of the members of our group (a pediatrician) said "let's chat for a few minutes after the meeting, I have some ideas for you."

I'll go into another detail in another post about his ideas, but here we are less than two weeks later and Ramona has assessments scheduled with two of the top educational psychologists in the Colorado area.

In the space of 10 days, because of the request for prayers that I spoke out loud and because of the way that God sent us on the path to this parish, and because of these people that are in our small church community (who don't even go to this parish anymore), my prayer has been answered.  What's even more ironic is that this pediatrician and his family have actually left the Catholic Church. They have joined another denomination but they also wanted to keep their ties to their former denomination and parish, so they have remained as active members of the small church community.

The path that has led us to these appointments for Ramona is filled with so many coincidences that it's simply not possible that they are only coincidences.

Is this God's Grace?  In this moment I can't recall the technical definition of grace, but I seem to believe that it refers to God loving us even when we don't deserve it.  This is the work of the Lord, reminding me again and again, that he hears my prayers (whether they are spoken aloud or in my heart), that he is here with me, next to me, walking this path with me offering me comfort and reassurance every step of the way.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Internal Mommy Wars

Things are going well on the work front:

  • Some pretty good successes at work recently with some building code and regulatory issues
  • A good system for packing for work travel
  • Thanks to counseling and more prep time, the anxiety I get before a trip has gotten down to a reasonable level
  • I'm still struggling with how to "get my work done" while on the road, but other than that and perpetually feeling like I'm behind or there is more that I could be doing, I'm managing my time in the office fairly well.

Mr. Quimby and I were at his work event a few weeks ago and were talking with a senior female executive from his company who is fairly well known as one of those "power women."  We were talking about our work travel and she complimented both of us on "leaning in."  I felt like I wanted to punch her in the face.  There has never been a time that Mr. Quimby hasn't "leaned in" other than when our children were born and her compliment felt patronizing.

That conversation and my recent work successes really created a flare up in my internal mommy wars, and I started to entertain the notion of looking for a client in a different industry to take on: maybe helping small businesses run efficiently, some light regulatory work for the oil/gas industry, or a way to get more people higher levels of work skills training so that they can address the shortage of skilled labor in this country (did you know there is a HUGE shortage of truck drivers?  Some shipping companies that ship commercial and industrial freight are able to pick and choose the jobs they take).

On the other hand, I'm almost at the end of 2 weeks with no work travel and I joked with my friends that I have taken back control of my house.  Mr. Quimby does a wonderful job when I'm gone and for the most part the girls experience a pretty seamless transition.  I LOVE being home in the afternoons after school, managing the activities and the homework, staying on top of the home exercises for Ramona's vision therapy.  I even like managing bedtime and I love reading the book and then laying with each child before she goes to sleep.

This arrangement that we have now works for us.  I wish I could just be content instead of wondering what else might come next.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Quick change

I've been doing a lot of work travel recently and I've got it down to a pretty good routine with several systems in place to help me.  One of those systems is doubles of everything for my toiletry bag except glasses and contacts.  Another is that I bring granola bars and almonds to eat for breakfast as that saves me a lot of time.  I always book rooms with double beds so that I can use one to unpack my suitcase and spread it all out on the bed.

But the habit that offers me the greatest pleasure is putting on jeans and clogs (in the hotel or airport bathroom) for the ride home!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Paternity Leave

The article Paternity Leave: The Rewards and the Remaining Stigma posted in the New York Times on November 7th could have been written about MY husband.  
  • Maximum amount of paternity leave while Mom goes back to work?  Check.  
  • System for freezing and thawing breast milk?  Check.  
  • Traveling to wife's workplace at lunchtime so baby could nurse?  Check.  
  • Washing breastpump parts and re-packing in the morning? Check.  
  • Career track being negatively affected?  Well, maybe it was temporarily but he seems to have recovered from that now.
When I was pregnant with Beezus, Mr. Quimby approached his employer (an industry trade association) and said that when his wife returned to work, he wanted to use his accrued sick leave as a paternity leave.  He had been with his employer for several years, was well respected and known as a hard worker.  It was sort of anti-climatic in a way - there wasn't any big discussion, they just said yes.  He wound up taking off for 2 weeks after she was born, 6 weeks when I first went back to work, and then another 6 weeks of working part-time.  He didn't take off quite as long with Ramona, but I do remember it was several weeks.  The thing is, even if his career did take a hit, albeit temporarily, it was worth it.  The bonding that he did with the babies and the way that he learned how to care for them, on his own, without any notes or instructions from me continues to this day.  All that work travel I've started doing?  I never leave a note - details about activities are in the family google calendar and I make sure after-school babysitters are booked and that's it.

Perhaps it would have worked out that way even if he hadn't taken paternity leave, but I definitely think it set the stage.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Amazing Grace

Something happened to me in the past year - I lost part of myself.

I don't know when, but I know it was after the move.  I think I know the reason(s) why and a big part of that was doubting myself.  My spiritual life wasn't that great and that always affects me.  Then there was the move, the adjustment, husband, kids, work, etc.  Those very same things that probably plague you, dear reader, on some days.  There were things that made it better and things that made it worse...

and I knew that I didn't feel quite right sometimes over the past 13 months, but I'm a high-emotion person anyway and not feeling quite right is typical sometimes.  It's part of who I am.

There were lots of good days and fun times mixed in with the hard and sad times, so it's not like it was all bad.

A couple months ago I decided that I needed to clear my head and so I started looking for a counselor to talk to.  The website Psychology Today has a great search engine and filter and led me to some good possibilities right away.  See, there are different kinds of counselors/therapist and different modalities (sort of like approaches or perspectives) that they use.  I've benefitted in the past from seeing a licensed clinical social worker (LICSW-C) who used the approach of cognitive-behavioral therapy, so that's the type of person I started looking for.  Instead I found a licensed professional counselor with a master's degree in therapeutic counseling and 17 years experience.  Best of all, early on in her career, she used to work in the prison system with parolees so basically there's nothing I ever say that she finds shocking!

Therapy is a funny thing - many people go for a few sessions, treat the surface issues, and feel better; and that's awesome for them.  That's where I was a couple weeks ago - 5 sessions under my belt, I had figured out a couple really important things that made a difference to me.  It would have been easy to stop then.  But I know myself and I know that I needed more, so I kept going.

After a couple more sessions, a lightbulb went off in my head and it was an ah-ha moment.

I felt right again; and feeling right helped me see more clearly that I had been feeling not quite right feeling over the past 13 months.

It's a hard thing to talk about, to admit here, that I need help sometimes.  But I am a person who is emotionally intense and I have a high need to talk and process.  There's nothing wrong with that - it's just who I am and it's asking a lot of Mr. Quimby, or my friends, parents or sisters to always have to listen to me.

I was lost ... but I've found myself again.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Another First: Kids Nite Out

I've said several times in this space that I get excited about the "other" milestones.  Sure, first steps and first words are a big deal but I get more excited about milestones that indicate developing independence: putting on a coat, riding a bike, doing up buttons, and in this case, participating in a "big kid" activity sans parents.

The area where we live in Colorado is called Broomfield.  It is essentially a suburb of Denver but is large enough to be it's own joint city/county - when you call city hall they answer the phone "City and County of Broomfield, how may I help you?" so I guess that makes it official.  It seems to be the perfect size municipality - big enough to offer an amazing parks and recreation department, a very good support program for seniors and adults with disabilities, and a workforce development program; but still small enough that it's likely that you might be in a club or on a team with someone who lives on the other side of town.  Not a week goes by that I don't think to myself how grateful I am that we wound up in Broomfield.

One of the programs that Parks & Rec offers is a Kids Nite Out on Friday nights from 7pm-10:30pm at one of the Rec Centers.  No adults allowed other than the staff and the ages are limited for kids aged 7 - 13 years.  The kids have pretty much free reign of the Rec Center and one of the aerobics studios is turned into a dance floor (I am so jealous!).  We've seen the signs at the Rec Center and I mentioned it half-heartedly a couple times to the girls, but I wasn't sure that they were ready and Beezus seemed nervous about being there without us.

Finally, Beezus' two good friends have been a couple times and invited her to go with them tonight.  Although she has been hesitant when I've mentioned it, she said yes immediately to them.  I was sort of nervous about her hanging around with 12 and 13 year olds without supervision but then I checked myself. There was supervision there, just not from me.  So Beezus and I had a quick reminder chat about what to do if another kid was bothering her or if other kids were misbehaving.  Many of the opportunities that other children have to do things semi-independently (like Girl Scout camp) my girls don't get the chance to do since I am always there!

She was so excited as we were preparing to go.  I was tickled that she didn't seem nervous as new things are often difficult for our family.  We had to do a little fibbing to Ramona because she wasn't going, but it wasn't too bad.   She had such a good time and I think this is going to be a semi-regular Friday night activity for her.

Beezus at a park in a different city nearby.  Those aren't mountains in the background, it's a big hill on the prairie.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

On Hair

As long as I can remember, hair has been an issue.  I started getting my upper lip waxed when I was 13 and it was a worry for me when I went to college because it was a new city and I needed to find a place to go.  When I started life guarding and teaching swim lessons around age 17 I started getting my thighs waxed.  I've always worried about what was showing where, and when and where I would go to get it taken care of.  If I didn't want my leg hair to show, I generally had to plan to shave every 2-3 days.

I realize that in the grand scheme of things, body and facial hair is not a big deal; but it is something that I've always worried about.

Since we've moved to the Denver area, I've found a woman who does laser hair removal and electrolysis independently out of a small home based office.  Her prices are great, she has many years of experience, and most importantly, she has great referrals.

For the first time in my life, this is no longer a worry for me.  I can shave my legs and they are still relatively smooth a whole week later!

Perhaps for some, this post might fall under the category of TMI.  I almost feel sort of silly writing about it - but it's been a very welcome change and a long time coming!
 
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