I had an entirely different post lined up for this week, but given the events of the last few days, I’ve decided to hold onto it and talk about this instead…
The highs and lows of the past few weeks have been so extreme that I never know how I’ll feel from one moment to the next.
On the whole, I‘ve been sustained by a tangible sense of joy. These past three months home with my daughter and our pets have been so life-giving. I never thought I’d want to be a stay-at-home mom simply because I love working. But I see what a gift it is to be able to be so fully present in our children’s lives. Mostly, I’m grateful for the time and space to get myself grounded each day. It changes everything about the way I parent and the way I am able to shape my own internal growth. Sometimes, I walk around the apartment simply contemplating with joy at how much I love my daughter, what a remarkable young lady she’s turning into, how grateful I am that we have this time together.
Our situation is couched in unknowns but it could be SO much worse. I know I’ve said this before, but there are more people than any of us realize living in cars and sleeping in shelters right now. I can’t even fathom those challenges and feel deeply grateful to be where we are.
The slightly bad… or at least the frustrating… is that school funding for my PhD program is simply nonexistent. I spent the last few weeks on the phone and exchanging emails with the various powers that be in an attempt to understand what is available. As it will be April before the school assigns the assistantship, I more or less put the option out of my head and decided instead to continue focusing on looking for work.
The (very) Ugly…
After 7 months of waiting for my unemployment case to be reviewed, I found out on Wednesday that it had been denied. A global pandemic wasn’t a consideration when the system was designed.
It felt as though the last bit of air had been completely sucked out of the balloon keeping me afloat. It was the last shred of hope I was holding onto. We’d been living off credit cards with the anticipation of paying them off when the benefits arrived, and now, I simply didn’t see a what forward. I immediately appealed and then tried to put it out of my mind. Except it crept into my sleep, a static current of panic jolting me throughout the night. Within 48 hours, I was tanked.
When I was 19 or so, a counselor told me to envision the worst case scenario, acknowledge the fear, and let go. But now, I couldn’t let it go. I could only envision it. Worst case… I end up in multiple minimum-wage jobs while still paying the loans on a Master’s degree and derailing any career trajectory I had. Worst case, we end up surfing guest bedrooms again, only this time, we’d probably actually have to get rid of the pets. Worst case, someone accuses me of not being a good mother, of not being able to provide for my daughter. Worst case, life continues to involve this much uncertainty, continues to foster this level of exhaustion.
Ok, so here’s where things get good.
I posted a lament to social media yesterday morning, venting my dismayal that my unemployment had been denied. Almost immediately, words of encouragement came pouring in. I felt so buoyed by the support. Sometimes, it’s just good to know you aren’t alone inside a thing that feels really, really lonely. And, I received some awesome job-seeking advice.
At noon, I opened my bank account and saw that, miraculously, either my appeal had been accepted or some crazy glitch had taken place, and the funds had been delivered to my account. I hadn’t received any notification. It was just there.
It was amazing.
I can’t even articulate the feeling. In the span of two hours, I went from absolute and total despair to absurd levels of joy and elation. Guys… that’s the work. That’s you… hoping and believing with me. I wholly believe that was the result of collective prayer and hope.
I don’t yet know what’s going to happen with school or employment. But I know that still, we are held. This time is precious and purposeful. It is a time of growth and healing.
Thanks for being here today. There’s so much goodness coming our way, with spring and vaccinations and a slow crawl toward regaining some of the community we have missed this past year. I hope everyone gets a bit of sunshine this next week. I am grateful for your ongoing love and support!