I am lucky to have a husband that has moved across the country with me so I can follow my dream. When we met, he was in TV too, and was willing to try some other fields so that we didn’t both have to work odd hours, holidays and be called in at a moment’s notice because of one house fire or another. When we lived in Albany, New York, he got a job as an underwriter at State Farm Insurance. It was a maze of cubicles with hundreds of people working a few feet away from each without ever really conversing. I heard it described by several people as the “land of the golden handcuffs.” No one really LOVED working there, but it was stable and paid well, so they stayed. Charlie is a very creative and social person, so it KILLED him to work in this environment, but he did it so we could save for our honeymoon (Thanks hon!). Life at the State Farm cubical farm was pretty easy. There wasn’t enough work to fill the 8-hour work day. No one fought and there was never any real conflict. (The closest Charlie came was when he made a smart-ass sign to protest one of his good friends being moved to another department and almost got called in to HR. ) But it is in most people’s nature to complain about something, anything really. So when there was nothing to whine about, like in this State Farm sea of half-walls and whispers, my husband’s co-workers complained about their chairs. How soft they were. How hard they were. How tall they were. How short they were. How swivelly or non-swivelly… you get the picture. Here were these educated, well-versed adults who had, like all of us, at least a few really shitty jobs in the past, complaining about their chairs. So much so that, every day, Charlie would come home and relay the newest details of Chair-gate. From the outside, it was pretty entertaining.
As I look back at my life BL (Before Lila), I can see a lot of chairs. As my mother-in-law recently pointed out to me, I was pretty stressed out while planning my wedding. I can remember a particular meltdown over a kegerator that Charlie still cringes about to this day. I was desperate to get a new job when my contract in Albany was up. I’m pretty sure I’ve lost at least a little sleep over outfits, haircuts, math tests, you name it. But when you reach those defining moments in your life, like learning your new baby has Down Syndrome, you really want to go back in time and slap yourself in the face and say “You are wasting your precious time worrying about THAT!?!?”
I am a different person that I was two months ago.
It’s not just the words Down Syndrome that have changed me. It’s not just becoming a new mother or finding a new closeness with my partner on this journey. It’s a certain calm that comes when I have done my daily worrying of “Can I do this?” It’s a new set of glasses to see all those little things through. And I have to say, its really hard to not look around me and say, “Are you kidding me! I just spent four hours on the phone with physical therapists setting up appointments and evaluations and goals for my two-month-old daughter and you are worried about where you sit/what you’re having for dinner/that pimple on your forehead/insert daily problem here.
I know that life is relative, but its also really easy to forget that, most of the time, it’s really, really good.
In my case, it may be different than what I expected, but it IS really, really good.