So our vacation was ABSOLUTELY the most wonderful thing we have done in a LONG time. It was a wonderful investment in our family. Thank you tax return. There are SO many more pictures, hopefully we can get more up soon. One of the main reasons it was great was because Brandon and I were able to focus on our little family and consider our future, without the distractions of day to day life. Before I share decisions, I want to tell you a little about the last 6-12 months for us. I know that many of you know most of what has happened with us as far as the kids and those battles go. You also know from my recent venting that the store has been exceptionally stressful. I want to say, I have MANY WONDERFUL customers and I enjoy them. I believe in what I do, and so I enjoy helping people with the products. I enjoy that part of it. I like finding new products that customers enjoy. I love seeing pregnant girls transform into great moms. I like encouraging other moms as well are striving to be good at what we do. I enjoy that stuff.
What I don't like is all of the rest...working every Saturday and never being home at the same time as Brandon, except evenings and Sundays. I don't like working long after 5pm because there is so much left undone. I HATE dealing with taxes of any kind. It STRESSES me out, and I can't afford a bookkeeper. I don't like dealing with complainers and the people for who my best will never be enough. I don't like my landlord. I don't like competing (or being expected to compete) with Target, Wal-mart and Babies R Us. I don't like working for free, or worse PAYING to work. I don't like feeling stressed all of the time and CONSTANTLY worrying about money. So that is my job "side" of this story.
Brandon loves his job, so that is a non-problem. The problem is that we don't love that he travels for his job. On top of all that we have going on, him being gone does not help matters.
Now for the personal stuff...
Since our kids came home from the NICU at 4 weeks old, Barbara has been our nanny. The kids love her and don't know that she isn't family. For 2 years, they saw her 3-5 times a week. AND since we don't really have family here that can help us, she was was our back-up... our "call me in an emergency", our "call me to go do something fun", our "call me if you want a date"--in other words, very much an integral part of our team. In addition, lucky for us, with Barbara came her friend Patty who is like a grandmother to my kiddos. They do not know life without Barbara and Patty. Patty has made many late night Children's Hospital E.R. runs with me, spent nights in Children's hospital loving on babies, gone to countless doctor appointments, & therapies. All of us have traversed the zoo, all local playgrounds and parks, swimming pools, and fun places. They have been to swim lessons, school programs, Christmas parties, Birthday parties, all of the day to day and the not-so-day-to-day--like Kynsie almost dying on them while we were at Marie's (Brandon's mom) funeral. In a nutshell, Barbara and Patty have just always been there. These fabulous strangers who took us on and helped us survive. They were surrogate family when we needed family most. They love us and we love them. They were very much a regular part of our every day life.They were our team.
Over the last year, Barbara has had to be gone due to health problems of her parents and her Brother. This was particularly hard on us and the kids, but Patty did her best to fill in the gaps and we survived. During one of those absences, I asked my mom to move to Knoxville. I was desperate. Unfortunately that just wasn't and isn't a real possibility in the near future. So, early this spring, Barb's brother came back to TN and because of his health (no kidneys due to cancer--trying for a transplant--very fragile health) he requires 24 hr care. She volunteered and was volunteered for the job. So Barb is now out of the picture for us.
In addition, around the same time, Patty's daughter-in-law delivered Patty & Wayne's only *real* grandchild. Understandably, my children took the backseat to the flesh and blood baby & the flesh and blood brother. My brain totally understands that blood is thicker than water, but my heart took a beating. It didn't help that both of these things happened in the span of a couple of months. It is hard to no longer be a priority. It is scary when those people are your go-to's who drop anything when you have a crisis. Our safety net was swiftly yanked out from under us twice, and it was something I was NOT prepared for. Add to that the fact that the kids cry for both Barbara and Patty and ask to see them several times a week. How in the world do I explain this to them? They don't understand why they can't see their favorite people every week, several times a week because that is the only life they have known. It has been and continues to be VERY hard. I have been sad, angry, hurt, and have shed lots of tears. Again, my brain understands, but that doesn't change how we feel.
At some point in the middle of a horribly stressful time, when all of this was coming down around me I had an epiphany. Like the main character in an old western movie, there was this moment when I realized the cavalry really isn't coming. We are alone in this. Sink or swim. Sure we have lots of support from my parents and his grandparents, and if I have an emergency, and they can help, Patty and Barbara are still here. But the problem is, we need help even when it isn't an emergency, and all of that is gone. Poof. Like blowing a candle out, gone.
Now what? So, as I rode my bike, and sat on our balcony, and played with my children last week, I had a LOT of time to think and pray. The reality of our situation is that in order for us to make it financially, I need to bring in a steady income. I resisted a regular job before because it would keep me away from the kids during the day every day. Well, next year B & Sis will be in pre-k 5 days per week and Ky will be 4 days-not by my choice, but that is what is best for them educationally. So, that changes my options significantly. My days at home with them are numbered. I don't like it, but that is the way it is.
Secondly, my job has become more stress than joy, and it seems like a natural time to make a change. My kids aren't in diapers anymore, and I need something that I can leave behind at 5pm so that when I am at home, I really am at home, not working on my computer while the kids play. I need an easier job because my other full time job as mom is hard enough. And we just need the money. Nothing about kids is cheap, let alone triplets, autism, food allergies, and treatments. Something has to give.
In addition, the best way for Brandon to move up is likely to go into management. Doing so will almost certainly require a move. Up until now, I have refused to move for a few reasons. 1) We had people here who love our children and who can & will help us. 2) I LOVED my job & my lease is through December 2010 3) I really thought my parents would be living here by now 4) Children's Hospital and all of the kids doctors and specialists--which they don't see any more-- 5)East TN is my home.
Well, as you can see, many of my *reasons* have dissolved or are dissolving rapidly. Again, the cavalry isn't coming. They just aren't. So we have to adapt and make the necessary changes to help our little family make it. As a result, Brandon has changed his State Farm Employment profile to show that he is willing to relocate. Doing so opens him to MANY more opportunities for advancement. In addition, he just completed & excelled in a 9 month pre-leadership course with State Farm that prepares employees to take on managing/leadership roles. Both of these things increase his chances of a more lucrative job. And with December 2010 quickly approaching, the timing is good. As a result of all of the jibberish above, I have decided to sell Cutie Tooties. I am contacting a broker on Wednesday to get the ball rolling. My hope is to have it sold by early fall. In a perfect world, I would travel with the new owner to the big trade show in October and introduce him/her to the wholesale company owners and recommend products, and then we would begin the transition. I hope to continue to work there throughout the year. Obviously, these are my hopes and plans, but only God knows how any of this will shake out. Maybe it won't sell. And maybe we won't move. But my gut tells me otherwise.
For the first time I am okay with all of that, and so is Brandon. We might be the only adults in this boat, but we aren't rookies anymore. We can do this and have been doing this for a long while now. We have God and we have each other, and that is enough. It won't be easy, but God knows it isn't easy now. There are a lot of things we can't change about our life, but if we can relieve some of my job stress, and the stress from Brandon traveling, AND we could improve our financial situation, that would be great.
Only time will tell, but this is where we are for the moment. Honestly, it feels a lot better than limbo. At least we have a skeleton plan.