Thursday, January 12, 2012

And the Next Day...

Thursday, but my second day of work.

The routine worked so far. At least last night was calm and all life tasks that needed to occur did. I was up by 5:30 this morning, unusual for me, and at my computer before 6:00 am. S joined me, reading his daily blogs. The girls got up early too, and we all had hot crescent rolls for breakfast. There was the usual last minute rush for the door - this time a bout of hair drying and straightening went right down to the wire - but both kids hit their campuses just as the bell was ringing. Whoosh. Down to the last minute, but safe.

Now it's 8:30am and I am diligently back at my computer again. I have my choice this morning. I can make introduction calls to funders or I can work on the next application due. I don't know if I feel quite back into my flow enough to come across well on the phone. I need to be all energetic and knowledgeable about organization details for that. Tomorrow might be a better bet.

( Ack. I just accidentally deleted a whole paragraph here. I hate it when I do that while typing in blogger. And there's no undo button. Sigh. Let's see if I can remember it.)

So, the application it is. Usually that's a good, manageable amount of work and a nice way to ease into my business mindset. But this application is daunting. It's for Verizon Foundation and it's 19 pages long. Downloading it yesterday, it just kept going and going and going. I didn't even read the questions yet, just saved it to my drive. Calm down, Marie, I tell myself. Just take it bit by bit. Question after question.

At least there's no deadline that I'm up against. In fact, the application period doesn't even open until Monday, and then goes all year. I'll probably just do bits of it at a time - as long as I can stand - and intersperse it with other work. And, tomorrow, you know, I have all those phone calls to look forward to. Yay?

Still though, at least it's work. Keeps me busy, gives me something to focus my brain around, and, best of all, provides a nice bit of pay. Better than nothing, that's for sure. It still doesn't feel exactly like a "real" job, but I do enjoy having the flexibility to my schedule to be available for the girls. Plus now I'm just lazy. I'm used to running my own days as I like. I think I'd have a real struggle fitting back in with the demands of a work day. Maybe later on, I think. Once the girls go to college, then I'll have a lot more time and then it would probably be fun and appealing to be back to a job with regular hours and a place to be and co-workers and all of that. I figure I have the next five years or so to figure out what I might be good at doing, and who would want me to do that for them.

I have the next year to really grow my grant writing business, and the next five or so years to bring in income from that. If I am going to write anything publishable -- stories, a novel, nonfiction -- I probably should do that during this time period as well. I'd like to earn enough to hit our savings goals and to keep myself occupied. Otherwise, I just want to continue enjoying life as it is, as I have been doing.

It makes me a bit sad to see the girls growing so fast. There are so many stages that they have already left behind them, forever. I'll never have little babies again, or chubby-legged toddlers, or those early elementary years. I'm already having pangs realizing that soon I'll leave behind the elementary school that has been a daily part of our lives for the better part of a decade. I'll have no reason to walk the campus, or greet all the teachers by name and wish them a good morning. Ah, that's the nature of life, huh? Things just keep changing, and what is in the past gets left behind.

Whenever I feel this way, I console myself with the knowledge that at least I have been there. I mean, I've really been involved and present in my daughters' lives. I was deeply blessed not to have to be gone to work, and so I have dropped them off each day, and picked them up, and hosted the playdates, and helped with homework, and made the house nice, and cooked their meals and taken them on surprise shopping trips or lunches or for ice cream or to play in the park. We've done all those fabulous things as a family, and I am so deeply grateful and feel so very lucky that I have been able to be with my family for all of that.

Just yesterday, B gave me a big hug. She said, "I'm happy to see you every day after school. Thank you so much for not making me ever go to day care." She sees her friends do that and they don't like it. Being at home, with your own stuff and your own family, is so much better.

Half of my friends are divorced. I've seen how hard that makes their lives. And what I notice most is how much time they lose with their kids. Their children are gone half the time, and they miss out on doing all of the daily stuff with them.

You know, it's funny how fast time goes. I feel mostly the same, so it slips by me unnoticed. But I distinctly remember the first time I thought of freelancing. That was eight years ago, in early 2004. EIGHT years!! To paraphrase Hugh Grant, I don't know what the f**k I've been doing with my time, actually! I've already been running this business since 2008. That's four years, and I still feel like I am barely getting going.

I remember seeing a counselor five years ago, during a tumultuous time in my life. She wanted me to focus on the future and make some plans and goals. And I just couldn't. I couldn't at all tell her what I wanted life to look like in five years. And, now, that memory makes me laugh. Because I never did manage to sit down and make a five year plan. And now those five years have gone by, and here I am! Even without a vision, the time still passed. Probably the reason I couldn't imagine my life is because it is so very much the same as it was. Except for all of us aging, it has hardly changed at all. The day-to-day is almost identical, and the changes have been for the better. The girls growing so well. My business taking off. Becoming a yoga teacher. And I have so many wonderful memories of all the fabulous things our family has done together.

When I think back over the last five years, that's mostly what I feel. So happy and so grateful that things went as well as they did. So glad to be able to be glad. Proud of the work I've done and the people I've tried to help. Proud of my family and my rich, warm circle of friends. And just filled with happy, engaging memories of the places we've gone together and the things we've done. Our life has been a succession of fun (sometimes forced on everyone, I'll admit). Beach trips. San Diego. Museums. Shopping. Restaurants. Book Festivals and Science Fairs and Yoga classes. Parties at our house and parties at friends' homes. Eating foreign foods and listening to foreign tongues. Yeah, it's been a really, really good five years. Even without a plan!

Best of all, when I look ahead, I do see some future goals. I see my children grown up. I see my work paying off, taking me to our financial goals of security and stability. And I see S and me, with time to enjoy each other, with time to explore our interests and travel and just, very slowly, grow older. I don't need to be famous. I don't need to be rich. I just need to feel like my family is happy, that I have been kind to people, that I have made the world a bit better, and that I have been awake along the journey to appreciate the beauty and wonder of it all.

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