Big Man got a job with Mayo Rochester and we don't have to move! It is, in fact, a dream job where he will teach and have a private practice that does not wish for you to herd people through like cattle. Their standard appointment times are 25 minutes long and they are curious about what you are curious about. Wow! This seems crazy to us having lived for a long time in a place that didn't honor questions as much as compliance and production. Had you asked me five months ago what kind of job Big Man would be taking, a Mayo family practice job is not it. He'd long ago buried his dreams of teaching knowing it wasn't possible in our small town. Not a single job offered this except for Mayo.
But sometimes life works out in ways that you can never anticipate. I have been struck by some people's responses.
"Oh!" they say, "Well, everything just worked out for the best."
This, to me, seems to indicate that the months of hard work that kept us talking and up at night and wringing our hands and deciding what was most important to us was all for naught. It feels like, in a brief sentence, people are doing away with the hard business of hundreds of pages of applications and multitude of phone calls and miles on the road and time spent in interviews, not to mention the in-between-ness and uncertainty that we have endured. It feels like the hours Big Man spent examining his ego and in quiet meditation and my hours really determining what I want my life to look like weren't exactly worth the stress we felt.
Or maybe, they are just tired of hearing about it. I certainly get that.
But to say, "Oh! You got just what you wanted!" seems to imply that you had nothing to worry about.
Well, not exactly. We did have to wade through a big pile of murk and stench to get here. And truth be told, had I not been the one to keep perusing for job openings, we would never have found this one that keeps us in the place we call home. And with every Mayo interview and hoop that we jumped through, we are keenly aware that the answer could have been a resounding, "Thanks but no thanks" and we'd be packing our bags and building a new life for ourselves in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
And that would have been just fine. It would have been more than fine....just not what we had in mind for ourselves. And yet that was part of our work, trying to see a pathway to a new and different life. I got there and I could feel it. It was difficult, but I did get there and I guess I want some credit for that.
And as I try to gather my thoughts about this tumultuous time, one thing I know for sure is that my process was much different from Big Man's. We had different approaches, different ways of seeing things but at the heart of certain matters, we have agreed and that is what has sustained us.
The transitions, I am learning, are never really over. I think life is spent mostly in an unbalanced state. It's where our focus is that seems to color how we view the state we are in.
There were many gifts. In the last four months, my kids were greeted by their father when they arrived home from school. They were treated to afternoon bike rides and rainy day art projects and patient math tutoring well before bed time.
In the last four months I have traveled many miles with Big Man. I have been given the gift of really understanding in a way I did not before that I am Big Man's ultimate source of comfort and encouragement. I am his touchstone. I didn't have to go with him to every interview, but he wanted me there and he wanted me involved. This, I believe, clearly indicated how much we are a team and not everyone cared about me. Those places held no interest to him.
We made it through all of this, not perfectly, but willing to keep at it every day, even when it was freaking hard to be honest.
After we received the happy email (Bob, call me. I have great news!), we both felt stunned. It took us three days to adjust our minds, three days to not live on edge, three days to admit that the place where he most wanted to land was a real thing. We can remain in our home and this place will continue to help raise my kids, and I finally feel free to dream a little bit on my own.
What we also know is that we have been given an amazing opportunity through Mayo, one we don't wish to squander. This job will make us part of a larger world, and I really hope we can teach our kids that it came not by chance or luck (not all anyway) but from the work we did.
Through it all, my kids are still growing and I am reminded me that while my kids are older, they still need me in ways I had not anticipated. My pubescent teen (yikes!) is becoming typically unsure of herself in her new womanish body, and my baby boy isn't a baby but still wants to be one sometimes. There are miles to go and talks to have and lessons to be taught and this kid-raising business is far from over.
It has also caused me to re-examine my role in our family and what I want to do with this one beautiful life. I have been forced to examine the choices I have made and how I feel about them. I know that from the outside my life might look pretty darn good. It is good, but it's because we make it so. And there are days that I must fight really hard inside my head for this to be true and part of my work is figuring out my next step.
We are different and I am not sure how yet. But it is worth examining, pondering, really tearing apart because that is what would make this all for naught. Those months have made each of us a new person, people I can't sum up in a sentence. And I respect what we did too much to even try to. I hope you do, too.