A Beautiful Mess

How did we get here? It seems a blur. Mark’s former company is a contract service company, meaning they contract with other businesses to perform a specific task. He had started off in upstate NY and then moved down state. That is where we met, in NY. We then lived in MA and then back to upstate NY before “settling” into the Midwest state we call home (even though we currently do not reside there). For 5 years that was home until the institution Mark was contracted at basically went under. They closed their doors and Mark’s company transferred our family to a new state.

My innocent optimism was a stark contrast to Mark’s and the kids’ opinions about the move. I was often heard saying “God always gives us better!” I wonder if they ever wanted to strangle those words out of me…For the record I still say that phrase but it has an entirely different meaning now. It is no longer about where we live and what job Mark has. It is now about who we are surrounded by. God always gives us better….better people whom we can let into our lives and bless and be blessed by.

Sorry, back to my recollection…
No one wanted to leave our Midwest home. Mark even tried to find a new job. Some of you know this. He had to be careful though and only poked around a little. He didn’t need corporate getting wind we weren’t entirely happy with them and that we were discussing the prospects of a job change. If only I had know what the future held I am sure we would have been more aggressive in this endeavor. Nothing panned out so we packed our bags and headed east, but not too east. We are just barely still in the Central Time Zone. For some odd reason this made the move easier for me. I have no clue why.

Despite missing my friends I was thrilled with the move. I took to Facebook and every day I wrote what I would miss about home and what I was looking forward to in the new place. There was so much to be positive about! I just knew that things would be OK and I kept telling everyone “We aren’t done with MO yet! We’ll be back, even if it 20 years from now!” I was thrilled for the house we were provided with, thrilled with the small town, and thrilled with the prospect of being settled. No one else was thrilled. They were all home sick. I kept pointing out all the positives about our move and everyone slowly settled in. We started to get happier and comfortable.

Not even 3 months in Mark was let go. It was a “mutual separation.”

What a ridiculous phrase….

Just as everyone was getting settled things got seriously mixed up.

October 1, 2013 was a warm day and I was sitting in The Chair with Zen. The front door opened and there was Mark holding a large box on his shoulder. I was surprised and said “Hey! What are you doing here?” He replied “Now don’t freak out…” I cut in “What? Did you get fired?” I shouldn’t have said that. I had been joking but as the words tumbled out of my mouth I was trying to frantically shove them back in. I was horrified I hadn’t been more prudent with what I said because the look on Mark’s face was answer enough.

My kids were all standing around. Mark had to tell them to all leave and not worry. Bug had a look of complete horror on his face. I do not think I will ever forget that and my regret for not being mindful of what I say before I say it haunts me.

Mark and I talked and he gave me the details of what happened and we both sighed with relief. Is that weird? Is it weird to be relieved to no longer have a job? The job was killing him. He wasn’t happy. He was always stressed. As soon as relaxation set in he would have to go back to work and the stress would quickly take hold. He was never home. 70 hour weeks were normal and even short. The kids missed him and he missed out on a lot of growing up. The job was a necessary evil. A blessing and a curse all rolled into one neat little package. This “mutual separation” was a blessing. Mark can now find a better job. Even a 50-60 hour work week would be better than what he had been doing. There is also still much growing to be had by our kids, especially Zen who will never have to know the horrors of this now former job.

The days and weeks and even months that have followed have been full of a jumbled roller coaster of “stuff.” We go from highs, “Yay we have more time together!” to lows “Seriously?? You spent over an hour on the online application only to get ‘You are not suited for this job’ even though they have never met you and you are more than suited for the job?????” He did quickly get a new part-time job for minimum wage. It isn’t full time, but some weeks bring extra hours and that is a plus. His boss is incredibly nice also. I really like her.

I can’t even compare the pay to what he used to make. I am horrified that in this country that this wage is typical for many families. Small businesses can’t offer more. It isn’t their fault. It doesn’t change the fact that, in this country, this is not a living wage for a family of 3, never mind a family of 7. However, we have received so much from people who have never met us. Friends have rallied. Bills have been paid. One friend even sent us a box full of tissues and Q-tips; it really is the little things that get over looked when you suddenly have to pinch pennies until blood oozes out. My kids even had a very lovely Christmas, perhaps the best they will ever get. I am amazed at this community! We were even blessed with a temporary house as the one we were in came with the former job and we had to move out.

Some days I sit and wonder why I was so determined to stay here after October 1. Really we should of just packed up and headed back west to our home. Other days I am glad I wanted to stay put; knowing that it is temporary. I just wanted to finish the school year.  As a result we have been cared for and there are certain people who are now a vital part of our lives. They are family now. If we had left then they wouldn’t be a part of us.

Am I glad Mark lost his job? Yes and no. Who wants to be unemployed? It isn’t ideal, but there are good things that have resulted. The timing was awful. It was 2 days before our anniversary, less than a month before Princess’ birthday, and downhill from there (November is Elf’s birthday, December is C-Dog’s plus Christmas, and then January is Bug’s birthday). I would often say “Why couldn’t they have just waited until January? Even better why not BEFORE we had moved??”
Whatever, I need to stop worry about those meaningless questions. I can’t change what happened. What I can change is our family dynamic. Mark is home more. Things aren’t settled for us but this is a start. We have a lot of decisions to make. It isn’t easy. Especially now that the whole world is watching how we get out of this beautiful mess…YES! That is what this is! It is a beautiful mess! There is so much disaster, but when you look deeper you see the beauty.
Think of 9/11. Remember that amazing picture of the firefighters planting the flag? THAT was a beautiful mess. I could go on and on with the examples.
You see the helpers, the true heart of community, the love that strangers have for others.
I am not comparing our situation to 9/11 or any other disaster. I am merely saying that there is always beauty to be had if we just look deep enough.

I need to wrap this up. This post has been sitting in my drafts folder since I started this blog. So many of my lovelies only had pieces of what happened because I was always too overwhelmed to tell the whole story. I promised them I would write it out for them so here it is. I never finished it because I swear I have writer’s ADD; I start writing one post only to move onto a new one before I finish what I originally started. I felt that now was the time to finally sit and finish my account of what happened.

For those who know me best here are the details you deserve to know since you have been such an amazing foundation of support.
For those who are new to my life, well…welcome! I hope this helps clear up any questions you may have had since you also are proving to be an amazing rallying force!

Lastly, thank you. It doesn’t seem like enough, but thank you.

“Peace and joy we wish you forever more” ~Grand Master Daniel Pai

~Andrea

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8 thoughts on “A Beautiful Mess

  1. you are so right he GOD will guide you in all just have to seek him,i love to read all you all are up to i just have to have my wonderful bride of 18yrs to start reading it to.we hannah,matthew and luke and mommy and daddy we are keeping you, all the kids and mommy and daddy in all our prayers ,

  2. “…and this too shalll pass”. Your strength will overcome your obsticles and your faith will see you through. You are an example to all that God does indeed answer prayers.
    Keep your chins high, your smiles broad and your hopes open to change. Your journey will surely be blessed.

  3. Andrea, your positivity is an inspiration to me. It is so true that it is easy to get caught up in all the negative surrounding us that we over look the beauty in the mess. Your blog makes me want to be a better person, mom, and wife. Thank you so much for sharing your story with all of us!

  4. Andrea. Your blog is a common story for many of us 40 somethings. Have your husband look at AT&T in the Midwest. Lots of hiring going on at the stores and call centers. Excellent union pay and benefits.

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