Sunday, January 17, 2010

You and me, baby

This week will mark 7 months since Richard started his out-of-town job. His previous employer was hit hard with the recession and had to cut almost 90% of their employees. Richard had only been there 6 months, so we were fortunate that they didn't cut him sooner. But, it was an unbelievable feeling when he called me at lunch on a Friday to tell me that he was "already home." He had gone in to work at 7, like usual, helped with some odd jobs around the office, and was told "we're sorry to do this, but you're going to have to go home." All this 3 months after Miss Isabella was born, and 3 weeks after I started back at work (added expense of full-time daycare)! Fortunately, Richard still had his business license to continue "The Handyman" jobs. That kept him busy for 4 months while he applied for new jobs and finally found his way to the Electrical Union. Since he was new to the Union, he tested into a job and scored an 8 (on a 1-8 scale)! The only thing higher than an 8 is Journeyman (and you have to have so many hours of experience before you can even take that test)! Awesome achievement for Richard, but a bit of hinderance on the job front: Level 8 positions are hard to come by. The best idea we could come up with was for him to take a job out-of-town. So he took the job. It is in a town at the far southeast corner of the state and almost 6 hours driving.

When Richard first left, we didn't see him for 3 weeks, then 2 weeks! Then we met him in Mississippi for a mini-family vacation of 10 days. For a few more months, he would come home every 2 weeks. By October, he started Union classes and has to be home every weekend, so he gets home late Thursday/early Friday and goes back south late Sunday. Now, he also has classes every other Saturday, so some weekends, we only see him for a few hours Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

It's tough. He misses out on a lot of Isabella's firsts (I take lots of pictures & videos) and we have to carefully plan out weekends when we want to do things as a family. I have also made major adjustments to my daily routine and had to figure out how to work things out with just me and the baby. I'm still working full-time, the baby goes to daycare, and I get a hot meal on the table every night. Some days (weeks) take every ounce of energy, patience, and prayer that I have just to drag through. Some days I have to pinch myself to know that this amazing life is mine--this precious girl, caring and supportive husband, and all the other blessings that get me through the day.

I never imagined life like this: Me home alone with a baby all week, getting up for midnight feedings, changing never-ending diapers, making decisions based only on my best judgments. Richard, 6 hours away, in an apartment with 3 other guys, doing his own grocery shopping, laundry, and housecleaning. But, we're making it work. Eventually our situation will change. He'll do the Journeman thing, the recession will ease, Isabella will become self-sufficient, and we'll adjust. In the meantime, we'll "keep on keepin' on." This is my family, this is my life.


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