Earlier today, I lost my job.
Over the last few months, I’ve had more and more difficulty while at work, well, really, at all times: I find it harder and harder to concentrate, have memory lapses, and have had time periods that are a blank to me. I’ve thought it was all due to my fibromyalgia, considered that it’s a side effect of my bipolar diagnosis and the rather potent medication I take for that, even entertained the notion that I’m just going slowly crazy.
But in the end, I don’t know for sure what is going on with me. And it’s driving me crazy. Why am I suddenly becoming a woman who can’t count money back to customers without making mistakes? How is it, after working in management for the last ten years on and off at various places, I can’t keep up with the demands of a management job without forgetting too many important details?
I just don’t know.
Stress, maybe? Years of stress building up to make me loony tunes? I’ve always been a little forgetful, is this something else entirely that is just suddenly worse?
I don’t know.
I don’t know and it scares me, frustrates me, makes me feel like I’m crumbling into a sea of ineptitude.
So I take a little time for myself, make sure I don’t come in the door all upset or anything. Speak with a friend, call my husband, listen to the comfort that can only come from people who know you. And it hits me while I’m driving that last block … this isn’t the worst thing in the world.
I still feel somewhat dead inside as I walk in the door, happy to curl around my boys, who are happy to see me home. A part of myself just seems to be missing, and I don’t know how or even if I can get it back. So … I engage autopilot for a while.
The kids, and my hubby, the puppies … are all just part of the background buzzing around me for a while.
I don’t know how much time actually passes until IT happens.
You know, IT: that moment, the one that marks a change your thinking.
IT happens to me as I am sitting at the computer randomly checking up on emails and reading fic, when I look to my right and am forced to snicker at my life. To my right? Logan was busy spinning around in the pure delight only a four-year-old who is gloriously naked can achieve. Bobby is in the other room and all I hear from him is giggling, interspersed with fast footfalls and squeals. And Andy … is curled lazily in a chair behind his father, both puppies licking his face and causing him to giggle so hard he takes deep breathes only to start giggling all over again.
I smile, and think really hard about that moment. Everything seemed to crystallize then, reminding me of the importance of those little things in life. I’ve always been a proponent of those little things. In our house, with special needs kids and therapies and counseling that never seems to end, we have learned that life is about the joy you can find in the smile of a baby, or the “I love you” first uttered by your autistic child. Those little moments, they’ve all added up for me, and I’ve saved them all deep inside, as reminders of the real life we lead here.
So in the great scheme of things, yes, my job is important. Losing it hurts, and it’s something I still have to come to terms with. But in losing that small bit of who I am, I have remembered that “who I am” really isn’t, could never be, about “what I am,” or “what I do.”
And I can smile all over again, as I consider that a naked, spinning four-year-old reminded me of the importance of the small, everyday moments in life.
I end this now with a footnote: Logan is trying valiantly to stay awake on the couch right now, yawns taking over his entire face as his eyes dart around, desperate for anything to fixate on that might help him stay awake. A balloon floats above him, string still held in his small hand, curled under his leg. He mumbles to himself, his new language of “da” and “ba” intermixing and creating words I just can’t wait to hear for real.
He’s pulled on his father’s discarded ballcap, pulling it off his head and burrowing his face into it as he yawns once again. And then Daddy walks by and he stumbles off the couch and over to his Daddy, looking at him to make sure he’s there.
And I guess the message is somewhere in that moment …Logan keeps going, but he always comes back to his base, his safety, his family. All the little things he does every day, those things we were told he might never accomplish, those are the little things I must concern myself with. It’s the little things, really, that make up a life, all our lives.
Just the little things.