So, today I was making dinner and unloading the dishwasher and keeping an eye on Sara when I realized something.....I'll likely never, ever, the rest of my life, get a raise. It's looking as though I will be out on short term disability, and will then transition over to long term disability. Unless a miracle happens, or there are some accommodations that will allow me to see detailed work / documents, something that will restore my color vision, remove the blind spots that I have in my central vision (and if you know about any of those - please feel free to let me know...), it's unlikely that I will be returning to work.
My mom (I know you read this mom) probably just had a heart attack because I actually said that on a blog. It's ok mom - breathe deeply - it'll be fine. My mom just wants to protect me. I know that. I want the same thing - but I want to be able to express my feelings as well.
So, as I was beginning to feel sorry for myself, one thought led to another... I went from - I'm never going to get a raise again, to I'll never move into another position, to I'll never have another performance review, I'll never see my friends at work again, I'll never go through another audit (oh wait... I think that should be on the pro side, not the con side :). Truthfully, I loved my job. I really enjoyed the people I worked with (most of them anyway :) I was doing something good. I was helping people - indirectly, but still, I was helping them! We made life-saving drugs....I was part of that.
I started trying to convince myself that if I'm no longer part of the working force, that I'm still contributing to society. I'm still valuable to our family. My kids will still think I'm something. When someone asks where do your parents work - what will they say? - well, Tim works at Roche; but my mom... she doesn't do anything. She doesn't work. Or will they say, she USED to work at Roche - maybe implying to some that I got fired? Or will they say that their mom is a "stay at home mom"?
No offense to any mom who is a stay at home mom. We all make the choices that are best for our family when we decide to have a family. The problem for me is that I won't be a stay at home mom by CHOICE... I'll be a stay at home mom by necessity. The decision will have been made for me.
I think what bothers me the most is that someone else is doing MY job. You feel so "un-needed". I always said that no one is irreplaceable - including myself - unfortunately it still stings when that truth becomes a reality.
There was a time in my life when I was SO thankful that I was NOT a stay at home mom. When Cameron was born, I had a BS degree in Chemistry and was very proud of that fact. Shortly after Cameron was born, his dad and I separated. From that point, until the time Cameron was seven, I supported him, and eventually Anna on my own. Tim came into the picture when Cameron was 6 1/2. and Anna was 2 1/2. I would not have been able to raise my son on my own, add Anna to our family and support her as well, if I had decided in the beginning to forego my education and be a stay at home mom. Or if I had gotten out of the workforce to be a stay at home mom... it's difficult to get back into it after being out for some time. Especially in my field. Things change quickly and you need to be involved in the changes, and change with them, in order to really make things work.
When Tim came into the picture, I went through a period where I thought... I wish I could be a stay at home mom. I could do this, do that, be there with the kids - but we would have to sacrifice some things. The kids might not be able to go to private school, money would be tight. In all honesty, at that point in time, it wouldn't work, but it was a decision WE could make. No one could make it for us.
Here we are now - almost five years later. Now, God made the call for me. You know how many times I have prayed for God to heal my eyes? Somewhere at or near a million times. Lord, PLEASE just let me wake up and by some miracle, let me see again. Please! Let me continue to do my job. Let me continue to contribute. God had other plans....It never happened. In fact, just the opposite. Lately things have just gotten increasingly worse.
One day I was out shopping with my mom - we were looking for a birthday gift for Anna. As I wrote in my last post, Anna is suddenly into pink. She went from hating it to loving it. So I saw this pink stripped shirt. It was adorable. It had a little hood on it - it was kinda like a "hoodie" but it was not a sweatshirt. Anyway, I told my mom - look at this cute pink shirt - Anna would LOVE it. My mom looked at me kind of strange, realized what was going on, and just gently said to me - it's not pink, it's lemon yellow. Oh... Well, it would have looked good on Anna to me :) (just a side note, Anna looks TERRIBLE in yellow - probably because of her skin tone, but it's the one color that does not look good on her - and here I was trying to put it on her!!!).
I lose things - if I put something down, it could take me forever to find it. I'm good about doing that with my reading glasses. I set them down all over the house, and they could be right in front of me, but I won't see them.
I can't see anything even if it is a little bit dim - restaurants are difficult - that ambiance you all love....it makes my dinner experience HORRIBLE!!! We find the most light possible in a restaurant!
I trip on curbs, I miss steps, I run into people..... ugghhh!
I came home from a dinner with friends the other night, and Tim had not left the exterior house lights on (I'm not blaming him, it's really my fault - he just usually remembers for me). I couldn't find the sidewalk... thankfully the ladies that I was with, understood the fact that I could not see, and got me to the sidewalk, where I needed to be (this is the point where I really need my dog back - Pearl would have gotten me where I needed to go, without hesitation). I miss my Pearl. I hope I can get another dog soon.
It's all just changing so quickly!
Why am I so tied to this THING called my job???? There are so many more important things in my life!!!!
I've been thinking a lot about my dad lately. So much in my life has changed since he passed away. Cameron grew up - by 11 years! I moved to South Carolina. I added Anna to my family. I met and married Tim. My career grew. We added Sara to our family. I wonder if he would be proud. I wish I could just talk to him for a day and ask him. Sometimes I think I worked so hard in my job, because I wanted to impress him. I wanted him to think I was doing well. I wanted him to be proud of me. We were so much alike. My older sister, she seemed to have it all together from day one. She got married, had kids, was able to stay home with them from the very beginning. She contributed to the household first by making and selling crafts, starting her own business out of it, then starting a second business for herself. She is athletic, her kids are doing great. She seemed to have it all.
I went straight from high school to college. I started seriously working my sophomore year of college. I got married out of college. My job was going well. I was diagnosed with my eye condition. I had to quit driving. Everyone worried about me. I got a divorce. People worried about me more. My job was going great. I moved to South Carolina for a substantial promotion. People worried less. I adopted Anna - so I must be doing well. EVERYTHING that kept people from worrying about me, or what defined me as successful, had to do with my job. At that point, besides my job - my life was a mess. Nothing to be proud of (with the exception of my children of-course).
And now here I am.... back where I started at the beginning of this post - (I know, it's a long one) - likely never to get a promotion again. Likely never to get a raise again. Never be involved in the expansion of a facility. No more business trips overseas. No more International visitors. No more equipment qualifications, process validation, change control meetings, phone calls in the middle of the night, Quality emergencies, critical decisions.... None of it. I need to learn that NONE OF THIS MAKES UP ME!!!!
So, sitting there in the kitchen, feeling sorry for myself, and I looked up. I had perched Sara up on the butcher block - she was helping me put together dinner. But, I perched her up there because I needed her out from underfoot while I was unloading the dishwasher. I didn't want to trip over her while I was moving around the kitchen, so I perched her up there and we chatted while I was unloading dishes. We counted plates as I took them out. When I saw her though, I thought... this is going to be OK. Not only is it going to be OK - it's going to be GOOD! This is not my choice - but just because it is not my choice, that does not make it bad. I have a little girl who loves me who I will get to spend more time with. I have another daughter who was playing legos quietly up in her room - who I will get to be home with every afternoon to help her with her homework. I have a son, who was out helping wash the truck, who I will be able to spend more time with. He is already growing up too quickly and sooner than I know it, he will be gone - out of the house - onto adventures all his own. God has taken away my sight, my job - but has given me something sweeter.... TIME.
Isn't it just like God to do that? Take away what you think you can not live without, only to show you that not only will you not miss it - but you will like what HE has in store for you, so much more than what He asked you to leave behind?
So, no more raises. No more business dinners. No more promotions. I've been told to trade it in for - time with my kids!
Obviously, I'm scared. This is something new for me and for our family. I'm getting used to things though. For right now, Sara continues to go to child care. I need to keep her there because hopefully I will be going to get a dog soon, and she will need to have somewhere to go while I am gone. Also, until this all gets fully settled, and I transition into long term disability, I need to know that she has somewhere to go. Once things get settled though, I will keep her home with me. It will be good for us. I'm already enjoying being home with the kids after school. It makes the evenings so much easier to have dinner ready and homework done before Tim comes home. I'll teach her colors, and maybe even how to read....
It'll all be fine....so why this pit/knot in my stomach? Probably just because it's change. I don't prefer change. For someone who can't see real well, change is difficult. I know this is not a physical change, but I think that I've gotten into the routine of "no change", and that has spilled over into every aspect of my life. Change has always been uncomfortable for me... it probably is for everyone. I just need to move forward with it, accept it, and soon it will become the new normal, that I won't want changed.
I just want to know WHY God.... Why would you take this from me. My sight? I want to see my kids graduate. I want to see them get married. I want to see my grandchildren. I want to see color in real, actual color - instead of what I guess I imagine in my head (I wonder how that works - how I see pink when something is actually yellow.... that is kinda interesting. Maybe I'll research it...). I know things could be a lot worse - so many other things could be happening to me that could be much worse... but for right now, it's my life, it's my blog and I'm having a moment. A moment to feel sorry for myself, ask a lot of questions that don't have answers, and share all of my fears.
My moment of pity will be over soon... I think truthfully it's more adjustment than self-pity. Adjustment with Kleenex. A new name for self-pity :)
And a final disclaimer - I'm looking forward to being home with my little ones. Really I am. I have a ton that I can do... things that I enjoy. I just really enjoyed what I'm having to leave behind too....I worked at it for 20 years. It's hard to say good-bye to 20 years.
Thanks for listening!