Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Life as I now know it

Life in CA
and in MN

It's funny how quickly one's life can change. Six years ago, I was in a fast-paced job, office manager for a small but very busy full-service accounting firm. I loved it -- it was usually very stressful (especially with deadlines), but the work was fun and satisfying, my employers were very good to work with and for, and the job itself seemed tailored to exactly what I enjoyed doing. I enjoyed having friends come over just to "hang out," or inviting friends over for meals. I spent alot of time with some good friends, often babysitting their young boys so they could get away for a date or a long weekend. If someone wasn't feeling well, I loved whipping up some chicken soup or some other meal to drop off for them. I had long talks on the telephone with good friends and relatives, and there was lots of quiet time to just relax and soak in God's Word, do in-depth Bible studies, have some awesome "alone" worship time and some great prayer meetings with other believers. I went hiking and mountain biking. Those are just some of the little things I really enjoy doing. I was pretty much responsible for myself, as independent as one can be when keeping God first but not having anyone else to take care of. I lived in a very busy area of the country (SoCal) and enjoyed the warm weather that came with all the other hazards of living in such an area (earthquakes, fire dangers, Santa Ana winds, crazy traffic, etc.).
Then in March 2002 I met this awesome guy who I have no doubt God brought into my life. At the same time that I was enjoying my independence so much, I was also craving the love and companionship of someone special. And as much as I enjoyed my job, I cannot remember a time in my life that I ever really wanted to be anything other than a wife and mother. After almost 36 years, God blessed me with my "dream" job. And I found out that EVERY "job" comes with its pros and cons.

Four years ago, my life was totally different than it had been, completely changed in less than two years. I was now living in (according to the weather reports for the day) the "coldest part of the U.S.A., including all of Alaska." I was in and out of the hospital with this tiny little life who was fighting high biliruben counts (jaundice), having just came home with said little life after spending four days in the hospital while he was in a incubator with special lights to combat the jaundice. I didn't have my own bed any more. And a full night of uninterrupted sleep? I don't think so! I was now a wife and mother.
In the years since, it's been a struggle at times for me. Everything I knew and was familiar with, things I loved doing, were gone. No more steady pay check, no more time to do what I want and enjoy doing (ever try to have a meaningful conversation with a 2- and 4- year old in the background?). With all the things my new "job" has brought me, there isn't time (at least right now) to do so many of the things I love doing, thing my heart longs to do -- cook meals for friends who are sick or overwhelmed, babysit for a couple that REALLY needs some time away together (hey, I AM part of one of those couples now! Anyone wanna come babysit so we can get some much needed time away and alone together?), no more career that is as dependable as tax season (it all depends on growing conditions now), no more time to have long, uninterrupted time with God in Bible studies or prayer meetings -- there is time for Him, but uninterrupted? Time that I can spend just soaking Him in? I'm now responsible for more than just me....the times that I skipped a meal because I didn't feel like eating or ran over to the restaurant next door for some great Chinese food or called a friend last minute to invite them over or went out to see a great new movie are gone. I have to make sure we have a good meal on the table not only at supper but three times a day. Every day. I can't go home after a weekend or an evening of babysitting to a quiet apartment... nope, these two are with me 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. I think most moms can understand how there is no such thing as a guaranteed good night's sleep -- upset tummies, scary dreams, and "I just want to be with you, Mama" happen any time. I am working with our family business -- doing all the accounting and tax work (expect for the returns) for the family farm and market, scheduling employees, doing advertising, ordering products, listening to and encouraging my husband when he runs new ideas past me. It is a busier "job" than working in a tax office ever was (if any accountant could believe that!) because the job never ends. There is no down time. Granted, with the farm we have a few months where things are a bit slower than in the summer, but things are always still happening (even more so, job wise, for Tony than for me), and motherhood isn't restricted to M-F, 8:00 - 5:00.
There are times I feel overwhelmed. Times that I wonder what in the world is happening to me. But at the same time, as much as I miss many parts of my "old" life, the rewards in this new life far outweigh things I did before Tony swept me off my feet (well, usually). As I was typing this, Luke interrupted me to tell me he HAD to give me a kiss. And a hug. And who knew you could get so excited when your daughter did her first really big dump in the little potty? (Tony was so excited he had to call me at Awana last night). And while I don't have the time to do most of the things I so enjoyed doing years back, I am very blessed with a husband who takes over on Wednesday nights so I can help with the Awana program at our church. Who takes over once a month (sometimes more) so I can have a few hours out with other lady friends that are also looking for a few hours without kids -- I mean, for a few hours of fellowship with other women. He even makes sure I'm able to go one night a week for a bible study during the summer...our busiest time of the year. And that time means more to me than I can ever explain.
There are so many other things my heart longs to do, but for most of them, I know that it is just a matter of time before I will be able to do them again. And as different of a career as it is from what I did before, I really enjoy this family business. I love working with our employees, getting satisfaction from our customers who so enjoy our fresh produce and other goodies that we sell at the Market. I miss the warm year-round weather (although the snow is beautiful, especially when looking at it from in doors), I miss really good Chinese food (the closest PF Chang's is 3 hours away!), I miss Starbucks (no, Caribou Coffee doesn't even come, the closest one of those is still an hour away), I miss dear friends that I've made while living in different parts of the country, I miss knowing I'll have a guaranteed uninterrupted night's sleep, but I get foot rubs and back massages whenever I ask, hugs and kisses from cute little (and big) faces, and joy (and fear) in knowing that I'm part of a two-person team helping raise two little lives for the honor and glory of God.
Life as I now know it is MUCH different than it was six years ago. And I think I'm pretty happy that it is!


precious grandma (and Papa) said...

And we are happy for you! It still amazes me that you live in the very cold Northern part of MN. I can still her you begging to come in from playing outside (about 5 minutes after going out) saying you are cold enough. Of course, way back then you didn't have Tony to snuggle you to get you warm. Enjoy your life, as I know you do. It's evident in the happiness we see in your face, Tony's face and your precious children's faces. We love you all.

liz said...

Lin, I still think "farm wife" is what you were designed for! Who better to manage a kitchen (not to mention a store!) and keep things fun when you're inside all winter? You do a great job! Your new family and town are blessed to have you! Love you!