Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Everything and Nothing

Everything and nothing describes what's changed since we found out that Jon's office is closing. Everything because the future has become opaque, and nothing because we still don't know if/when we're moving.

The big news came about 3-4 weeks ago, in a most Office Space-like style. As I understand it, the telephone conversation went something like this:
Head office: "You know how your lease is up in October?"
Local office: "Yes."
Head office: "Ummm, yah, soooo we're not going to be renewing that."

Suddenly Jon and his colleagues became that guy with the stapler. This leads me to Lesson 1: job security really is rare. Although I've known cognitively that Jon's position was a little precarious, I've never really embraced the mindset. I figured our lives here had worked out so well that surely we would be here forever. We had put down roots. This was supposed to be it.

Jon has been pursuing local job options, but viable opportunities are dwindling. What he does is pretty specialized, and most of that work is based out east. This leads me to Lesson 2: kids, don't specialize. At least, don't specialize too much. Choose a career with some flexibility, so you can be employed in various place. Like a doctor, or engineer, or teacher. Because let me tell you: location matters. And family matters. And friends matter. And the older you get, and the more kiddos you get, the harder it is to pull up those roots. That is lesson 3.

So are we definitely moving? No. Nothing is definite. Jon is pursuing one of those eastern jobs, but it's not a sure thing. And those other eastern opportunities? They are in places we couldn't possibly afford to live. So, we wait. If this falls through, we go to Plan C; C for Career Change. Also scary and precarious and may lead to moving.

It sounds a little dire, doesn't it? One could read this and get the sense that I (we) feel bitter and negative and are surely wearing our cranky pants. Admittedly, the initial shock led me to a quick shot of Tanqueray (No. 10, thank you), followed by a week or so of nausea and insomnia (doesn't everything lead me to insomnia?) and perhaps some cranky capris. That nervous energy funneled into obsessive cleaning and de-cluttering and reorganization.

But now we move to Lesson 4: God is faithful. So faithful and merciful. We have not despaired or been overwhelmed, largely because He has effectively led us to His Word for comfort and clarity. Passages about trust and faithfulness have come alive for me during this first left turn in my life. In the past, we've made some big decisions, but I could imagine the future with each step. This is the first time I can't see my way through. I can't see how it will work if we move or if we stay. And that's the place where faith thrives: "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1).
Does God care where Jon works or where we live? I think so. But He's mostly concerned with how we handle this uncertain situation. Do we turn to Him or do we turn away? My prayer is that we continually turn to Him. I don't know if uprooting will turn out to be a great thing with blessings just around the corner, or if this is just a sad turn of events that come from living in an imperfect world. We may never know, but as long as we keep our eyes fixed on what really matters, on our relationship with the Lord, we don't need to know.
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." (1 Corinthians 9:24) We want the prize.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Yes, it's time for the potty training entry. I knew this time would come, but had thought to avoid it a little longer.
I know many parents yearn for the day they can begin potty training. Changing those diapers gets old, almost from the moment it begins. The expense (for disposables) and/or time (for cloth) becomes wearisome. And let's face it: as the bum gets bigger, so does the poop. 
But think for a moment what the diaper actually gives you: freedom! Freedom to change that diaper whenever and wherever you want (within reason). Freedom to walk out the door knowing that you will not be changing pants and socks and maybe shoes along with whatever derriere cover you are using. Freedom to enter a restaurant or shopping facility or park and not immediately scan the area for any and all potty facilities, simultaneously wondering why you didn't just throw the little portable potty in the car because it doesn't take up all that much space, after all.
In short, potty training is not fun.

You may suspect from my reticence that training Anna didn't go all that smoothly. And you would be partly right. Such a regular little soul, she was actually half-trained by her second birthday. (I figured this was the ying to her poor-sleep-habits yang.) Based on this success, and with some smugness, I started on the other half with when she was 2.5. A year later we still couldn't leave the house without extra clothes. Eventually, I think she realized that heading to the potty before it became an emergency took less time than having an accident. But that knowledge was hard won.

Now suddenly it was Isaac's turn. I wanted to wait until he was at least three, since I heard that boys struggle with this a little more. And frankly I just wanted to put off the Year of Cleaning Pee. No, I didn't totally avoid the issue. Once he was 2.5 we introduced the concept, and he seemed... intrigued. But heaven forbid his touche should touch that cold rim.
Diaper on, said Isaac.
We'll be lucky to start you at age three, I thought.

This went on.

Then, about two weeks ago we bought some motivational underwear. You know, the ones with pictures on them. Lightning McQueen in this case. They were for future endeavors. Certainly not for now. I was not ready. I had not steeled myself. The rug was not yet rolled up. The couch was not covered in plastic. The Year of Cleaning Pee was not yet to begin.

You know how this ends.

Isaac insisted on wearing his magic underpants as soon as we got home, and things snowballed from there. Two weeks, one package of M&Ms, and $30 worth of toy cars later, Isaac is fully trained. Hasn't had an accident in days. Miracle of miracles.

Sooo.... anybody want some Fuzzi Buns?