Monday, May 9, 2011

We Have Exciting News!

Don't even lie . . . a lot of you clicked on this because you think I'm about to announce I'm pregnant. Yes?

This picture is here solely to push down the
exciting news by a few more lines.
I know, tricky, tricky.

Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but contrary to belief, a married woman in her twenties can have news other than a growing belly (which mine sadly seems to be doing for totally different reasons, so don't get any ideas). And shame on you, close family and friends, who thought I would announce a pregnancy to you via a blog post. Tsk tsk.

Now that the scolding is over, the announcement: Mike has a new job! Hooray! Some of you may already know this, but I wanted to wait until today, his first official day, to post the news.

Ever since I met Mike, he has been hoping to find a job back in the city . . . one day. But the past two years weren't exactly a time to jump ship, it was a time to be thankful for employment, and to do what you needed to do . . . even if that meant commuting three hours a day. Of course, New York City is filled with commuters, but generally these people are spending an hour and a half each way to come into the city and then leave it, not the other way around.

There were many ups and downs of the job search, obviously more for Mike than myself, but when you're that close to someone, it's just as hard to watch him/her go through it. I went through it as a daughter many times, and now I was going through it as a wife. So on those days when I had to close my door and cry uncontrollably, I was generally on the phone with my mother . . . because who else could possibly know what I was feeling? I knew she would understand. After all, our family moved quite a bit as a result of Dad's search for work. When people ask me where I am from, and I tell them I've lived in New York, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina, back to New York, and my parents are now in Ohio, it's always followed by: Army brat? Nope. Professor? Nope. So what is it then? Food-service brat. (Which I guess, when dealing with me, has a double meaning.)

How did I handle all those moves? How did those experiences help me understand what Mike was going through? Well, read on for my reflections on this (if you're even still with me after the false pregnancy announcement). . . .

I remember sitting on our big green couch with my dad, his arms around me and my sister, as I asked him why there were boxes in the basement and how come he was home so often. As a kid, those were the only things I had picked up on and the only things that mattered. I can remember him telling us, as positively as he could (we were only eight and six at the time), that he had lost his job, and that's why he was home. I didn't get the bigger picture, or know there even was a bigger picture about what losing a job meant, until many years later. And when my parents told us we were moving to Virginia because that's where Dad's new job was, and that in our community there was not one, but six different pools with slides and diving boards, and there were tunnels that went under the streets so we could ride our bikes, I was ecstatic. I could totally be down with this losing-a-job/moving thing.

Yep, until three years later when my parents told us at the dinner table that we were moving again. This time it was for a self-decided job change. And since I was approaching twelve, and therefore a pre-teen, I took this to mean the end of the world. I didn't want to leave my friends, my softball team, our house, the six pools and tunnels (even though we weren't using them as often) . . . especially to go to far-away Texas. How my parents dealt with me during that stage is beyond me, though I do remember them being incredibly patient with me. (Okay, that's a lie, I had no idea they were being patient with me until now, because back then I had no idea I was being a brat and being very ungracious of the fact that my parents were doing what was best for our family. Update: After reading, my mother informed me that I was, in fact, not a brat. Apparently we remember things a bit differently. . . .)

So then there was the Texas run, which lasted ten years with a few minor bumps along the way. I remember my dad taking me out post-finals at the end of my freshman year: You're done with finals? Yes. No more tests or papers? No. So there's nothing to be worried about? No, why? Because we might be moving to San Francisco. Not again. And it turned out to be a not again, that time at least. At the end of my sophomore year, my parents bought a house to rent out to roommates, so that if they did move, I (and my sister if she came to A&M, which she did) would have a permanent residence in Texas as long as we were at school. This foresight would come in handy two years later when my father told me they were transfering to North Carolina, which happened while I was in Europe (as I discussed in my first post). I think I took this one relatively well, since I knew I only had six months of school left and had no idea where I would be heading then, anyway. So off they went to North Carolina (where I would move those six months later).

Nicole and I saw our parents that Thanksgiving, they had taken extra vacation days to drive down to Florida . . . which seemed completely normal. They drove again to College Station three weeks later for my graduation, taking a week off there, too. We didn't really think anything of it. And then they sat us down when we got home to North Carolina for Christmas: Dad had been out of work for months. They just didn't want to say anything because they didn't want to worry us or ruin my last semester of college. I was blown away by the lie, I was mad at them for not telling the truth earlier. I felt it wasn't fair for them to keep that bottled up just for our sake. But I guess that's what parents do time and time again.

So for five months I witnessed firsthand my father trying to find a new job . . . while I was trying to find my first-ever job. I was fortunate enough to find a three-month temp gig (ironically at a temp agency), as my dad considered branching out into a franchised business, asking me if he were to get it, would I stay in North Carolina for at least a year to help him run it? I said I would, even though it wasn't what I actually wanted to do professionally. But after twenty-two years of sacrificing for me, it was the least I could for him. We were all devastated when it didn't work out. Then a job offer came up in Ohio, and as much as I loved my parents, I decided that instead of going with them, I'd move to New York on my own (but more on that later this week).

And all of that—that long-winded, verbose history—led me to New York. Led me to Mike. Led me to be a wife who can truly say, without lying, "I understand" to a husband who was frustrated by the job-search process, by hearing noes, or not hearing anything at all. Led me to being able to tell my husband that it will get better, and things happen for a reason, as cliche as that sounds, even through my own frustrated tears.

I am so proud of Mike for sticking it out, even when it was really rough. I'm proud of myself for sticking it out too, for taking the lead from my mother, knowing that support for a spouse can be the greatest thing in this situation. And I know that we got through this because we're a team, just like my parents did it time and time and time again.

If we had to go through this at any time in our life, I'm glad it was now, when the situation wasn't forced and when it was one of our choices to make a move. And when it was just the two of us, no kids. Because that's not happening for a bit, if we can help it. Sorry to fool you all into thinking otherwise. But I had to think of a fun and exciting way to get you to read my blog. ;)


  1. Michelle ShanksMay 9, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    O.K. - Erica it's sort of crazy how younger years have mimicked each other. I was born in NY, moved to Ohio, OK, KS, FL and then back to OK. I completely understand where you're coming from on this one. The support of a spouse is invaluable. Nice observation and nice piece. :) - Michelle

  2. Nice job on the blog!!! I love it! Congrats to Mike....job hunting is hard on everyone involved. Good for you for sticking with him.....encouraging and supporting him along the way!