So I have been avoiding you. Not trying to hurt your feelings, but you know how sometimes you just don't want to talk about it? That's where I am. I decided maybe typing about it will help me sort things out, so prepare yourself for a long post that perhaps gives you more of a look into my brain than you bargained for.
As you know, Kyan and Kynsie's school situation is settled. Braylen is a toss up. We are trying to get him into the same school as a governor's pre-k student, but not sure if that will happen. He is at-risk due to being a triplet, being pre-term, speech delay, and sibs with Autism, but we don't qualify for free lunches, so that makes him second tier. We will know if he gets accepted in a month or so.
All of this has been much harder than I anticipated. Next year my kids will be in school 4 or 5 days per week. Only until 1pm, but still. No days with just Mommy. I am having MAJOR coping issues. I don't want this. I want them with me, BUT they really need this extra prep work for kindergarten, so...basically I am being selfish. I didn't have kids to deposit them with someone else. I want them with me. I want to homeschool now more than ever, but at this moment I am certain I am not capable of giving Kyan or Kynsie exactly what they need, perhaps down the road, but not now. That sucks. I hate feeling (knowing) like I am not enough. I dread the fall. My babies aren't babies anymore, and I truly am not handling this well.
On top of that, my employee Jessica (who is great by the way) is pregnant with her second baby, and said baby may arrive in October. I am thrilled for her, but I am wondering what I will do about another employee for her maternity leave, given that is our busiest time of year. I am also wondering what I will do about Saturdays. I have always worked Saturdays b/c it is our busiest day, and I hate to ask someone else to work on the weekend. BUT I have no intention of working the one day I have with my kids, so what am I going to do with that? People come into my store expecting an expert and I feel like we give them that. How will I find a 3rd person? Not sure.
In other news with the store, this is the beginning of my 4th year in business. The business is growing like mad and is right on track for that 5 year 'make it' benchmark, but we aren't 'making it'. In a nutshell, I paid to work last year. I paid a lot to work last year. While we did get a tax refund, that doesn't offset the loss. I'm in such a hard place. I LOVE my store. I love what I do. I want to keep doing this, but we have to eat too. And I have worked so hard to get it to this place, on the cusp of success. That makes it very hard to walk away. Plus, where would I go? I don't want to do anything else. The hardest thing is that our products are expensive, so people believe we make a lot of money, but the truth is, our markup is usually 30%. You can't live on that. Most products your purchase are marked up 100%--just for a frame of reference. So if you pay $2, the retailer selling it paid $1. At my store, if you pay $2.00, I paid $1.40. There is a huge difference there. the obvious thought is to mark items up more, but then you lose to online competition who will settle for next to no profit, and has no overhead. So not an option, realistically speaking. The only option I see, other than selling my business is to find products that afford a better markup to add to the store. So I am on a major hunt for products I agree with that can help us stay alive, as cloth diapers simply don't do that. The irony though is that 90% of people who come into my store are there for diapers. *Sigh* Nothing about this is black and white.
To further complicate matters, my lease is up in December. So we will be dealing with Christmas chaos, Jessica's maternity leave and a potential location change. My landlord is difficult to put it kindly, and so on one hand getting away would be nice, but I have a wonderful location. Just not sure I can swing it financially, and if so, for how long? If I sign a lease, I am bound to stay, and staying in Knoxville may not be in the cards for us. We *LOVE* it here and want to be here, but have no idea where Brandon's job will take him in coming years. We simply know that we can't stay where we are financially indefinitely or we will be belly up. Feels like we already are. So do I sign a 2 year lease? 3 year lease? And if we move, what about my business? I have a nice customer base here. I don't think I have it in me to rebuild somewhere else? Did I mention this is not easy? Lots of questions with only time will tell answers.
Because all of this is not insane enough, my biological clock has decided to wake up and begin screaming at me. Yep, it's official, I am certifiably NUTS, but I do want another baby. (my mom just choked on her coffee reading that) Maybe not right now, but I am 32 years old, so time is a concern. Not sure I can even get pregnant, and then there are obvious financial concerns. Oh-and the fact that Brandon has no interest in having another child--a bit of a problem, don't you think? But just the same, I feel almost burdened by this. I do want another child and it is a helpless feeling to know that money and autism are the biggest obstacles in our way. We can't make it now, how could we feed and clothe another baby? I think of that lovely bumper sticker that says if you can't feed'em, don't breed'em. Isn't that lovely? But I see the point.
And what are the risks? Obviously, we would make MANY different choices with a new baby and hope and pray that we dodge the autism bullet, but no guarantees, right? And could we survive that? Emotionally? Financially? I don't know. Autism means that pregnancy past 35 is out for me. Just no sense in putting a child at greater risk because of advanced maternal age. The truth is, part of me just wants a chance at normal. A chance for a singleton pregnancy. One that is not wracked with fear of premature birth and death, scary complications, weekly doctor visits, insane medical bills and NICU time. I want a chance to be happy about a new addition, rather than terrified. A chance to enjoy being pregnant. To soak it in. Then, a chance to enjoy every stage of my baby's life because I am not spread so thin trying to care for 2 other infants that I am unable to enjoy anything. I want to actually remember the first 6 months of my baby's life, which incidentally, without pictures to prompt me, I really have few memories of months 1-6 with our kids. I want a chance to watch a child develop typically. No therapy. No IEP's. Just a slice of normal for a change. I know there are no guarantees, but I want a chance at getting it right. Actually being able to breastfeed my baby longer than 8 weeks, and dodging the lovely poison in vaccines. I want a chance to get it right. Not the reason to have a baby, and it isn't my only reason, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that it is part of my desire for another one.
And then of course, the timing isn't great. Life is crazy, but when isn't it? We don't have another bedroom, and sharing is an issue even now, and we can't move, so doesn't most of this seem to circle back around to money? UGG!!
So in a nutshell, that is all I have been avoiding telling you. This is my state of mind and our place in the world at the moment. From where I stand it looks like limbo, and if you know me in real life, you know I don't do limbo well at all. I don't have a game plan at all at the moment. Just sort of hanging on and waiting. Not sure what I am waiting for, but I hope I know it when I see it. And I am praying for God to change my heart about the baby thing if that is what needs to happen. I am ok with it, but I do need some resolution either way.
There it is. The whole of it. I'm going to water my garden now.