Friday, August 12, 2011

Change is Coming

Change is scary business. Change is tough. Change is nerve-wracking and exciting and hives-inducing all at the same time. Change is also necessary. Without change, nothing grows. Nothing develops. Nothing flourishes. Without change, we become stagnant. We become set in our ways. We become comfortable, yet less than the person we could be. Less than the person we should be.

Right now, I am in the midst of some pretty big changes. After six years of working opposite schedules and barely seeing one another, Ruanita and I are in for a big change. In the upcoming months, we will be seeing a lot more of one another than we have in half a decade. Perhaps more of one another than we care to see. Ruanita has officially given her notice to her employer. Friday the 19th will be her last day as an employed person. What the hell, right?

Ruanita's employer is phasing out her current position. She has the opportunity to take a different position with her company. However, the positions that interest her all require she be a licensed therapist. She is not. Ruanita completed her Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling ten years ago. At that time, she took a position with Cigna coaching people with depression, with the intention of studying for the National Counselors Exam (NCE) and becoming a licensed therapist. As is often the case, life took over and she never got her licensure. It wasn't required for her job. She had one, then three kids to contend with. Studying was not a priority. Now, ten years later, her licensure has become a necessary priority.

Rather than taking a job—another high-stress position—that is not what she truly wants to do, we have decided that she is going to quit her job and take a year off to study for and pass the NCE. She will then be a licensed therapist and can go back to Cigna or another company making a significantly higher salary and, more importantly, having completed the goal she set for herself decades ago. In the interim, she will be a full-time stay-at-home mom for that year. She deserves a break. We deserve a break. Our twins are starting kindergarten in a couple of weeks, which means Ruanita would have less time with them. We also feel that third grade, with his new IEP, is going to be a crucial year for Lucas academically. He is also struggling a lot with anxiety, which I suspect may get worse when school starts. We need to present a united front to get him on track to be successful in school and to learn to manage the anxiety that isn't going away anytime soon. In her current position, Ruanita would only see Lucas on weekends, making it impossible for her to be of much assistance with his everyday school life. He needs us both this year.

For all of these reasons, we have decided to completely shake up our lives and have Ruanita resign. We will be fine financially, as we are dipping into our savings to cover the year. Insurance coverage will be an issue, however. COBRA is outrageously expensive and we would rather not pay for it. Therefore, I am finding myself in the position of looking for a full-time job for the first time in six years. I have talked to my manager at my current position about making this job full-time. My company offers domestic partner benefits. Though not ideally what I would like to do with my life, my job is flexible, practically stress-free, gives me the opportunity to do a lot of writing which I enjoy immensely, and would give me the time and energy to focus on my family. Besides, this somewhat humdrum, stress-free job pays me practically the same amount I made at my last higher-profile, high-stress job. So I can't complain in that department. We'll see. My manager was not sure where the company stood on adding another full-time employee. If not, I suppose I will be job-hunting. Not my idea of fun, but definitely worth the effort to have Ruanita at home.

So there you have it. Change is sweeping through my household. It's nerve-wracking, yes. But it is also exciting. I feel good things on the horizon for us. This shake-up is just the thing we need to reconnect, rejuvenate, relax, and refocus.

Speaking of rejuvenating, Ruanita and I are heading downtown tomorrow for a 100% kid-free night spent at the Grand Hotel (thank you, mom). I love that place. From the doorman who opens the door, tips his hat, and says “Good evening, ma'am” to the snow white down comforter (there is nothing white in a house with three children) to the fully-stocked minibar to the deep soaking tub with the television built into the wall at your feet to the plush bath robes to the decadent room service is a luxurious experience. We typically spend at least one night there each year. Tomorrow evening, you can find me in a state of bliss—soaking in a bubbly tub, eating chocolate covered strawberries. A champagne glass precariously balanced on the edge of the tub and Paula Dean teaching me to make chicken and dumplins' on the television above my feet. Does it get any better than that? I don't think so.


Barb said...

This is awesome. Very exciting. I love it when people embrace change and see it as an opportunity to refocus. Change is not always easy, but sometimes the most challenging transitions end up being the ones in which we learn and grow the most. It sounds like this is going to be an amazing year for you guys. And I have a feeling that 3rd grade will be the year everything comes together for Lucas. It WAS for my sister's son.

Madgew said...

WOW, changes indeed. So glad Ruanita is finishing up something she dreamed about 10 years ago. Does she have to do her 3000 hours before her license is official like here in the states or does all her experience count? So excited-this change should make for great writing. Have fun this weekend and don't take any electronics with you.:)

Jessica said...

Awesome!!! Congratulations to you both and best of luck to Ruanita. Before you go stressing about going full time at your work, see how much their insurance would be for family. At Erik's job, their insurance was going to be almost $900 a MONTH for the family. So I have my own separate high deductible plan for me and the kids. It runs under $300 a month. Preventative care is covered, but beyond that it is only there for serious (i.e. expensive) medical emergencies. You should shop around and do some research on the insurance front for sure.

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