Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quote of the Week: A new Blossom

"And the day came when the risk to remain 

in a tight bud was more painful 

than the risk it took to blossom." 

- Anais Nin

"Boss man wants to see you." A grim face poked around the cubicle wall. His chest tightened. Fridays were firing days now that they had hit a major downturn. "I wouldn't make him wait if I were you."

He had 3 job offers lined up, most of the office did. He had 2 that would be equitable to his salary now, and one that would be a slight loss, but the hours might be better. 

In and out of the boss' office was less than 15 minutes. Severance was reasonable, bordering on generous - he might even take a short break before starting the next job. Maybe Julie could take a few days off to go away with him. It could be their first trip together as a married couple, since they couldn't afford the time for a honeymoon. 

He walked past the cube of the next victim, told him he was next, walked back to his desk, cleared it out, and walked out the door. He didn't even bother finishing his last report. 

On his way home, he stopped at the Farmers Market to pick up dinner items. He couldn't remember the last time he had made Julie dinner. Maybe he would surprise her by vacuuming the house before she got home. His step was a little lighter, and his shoulders a little less drooped. 

He had time to vacuum, make dinner, and clean out the fridge before Julie got home from work. 

When she saw him setting the table, she knew. She hugged him close and held on tight for a long time. It was nice to feel her heartbeat, he thought to himself. 

"You made dinner?" She asked at last.

"I made fish, with salad, asparagus, and baked potatoes. I hope that is still your favorite." She nodded. 

"You vacuumed?" Her eyes were a little watery. He nodded. She cried. He was very confused. 

"Are you alright?" He asked, helping her sit. She nodded again. 

"I'm pregnant. WE are pregnant. Tell me you are happy." He was, he was more than happy. 

"Yes, yes, I'm excited!" He knelt down and hugged her close.

They sat, and ate. He suggested the trip, she thought it was the perfect time.


The next week, she went to work, and he cleaned the house. He packed her lunch, and packed their bags. He cleaned out his garage woodshop, and drew up some plans for a crib. He felt the best he had in ages. 

They spent 4 days at the beach, swimming, sleeping late, and doing barely anything. 

When they returned, he finally made himself call the companies that he had lined up, and made a choice. 

The following Monday he woke up, put on his suit, and trudged off to his new job. It turned out to be exactly the same as the last job, no more no less. It was as if nothing had ever changed, like the last two weeks had never happened. 

Months passed, Julie's belly grew, and one day they realized they needed to plan for what would happen after the baby was born. So they started a spreadsheet, crunched the numbers, and made the discovery that it would cost more for daycare than he was making at his job. There was no way Juie could leave her job, with her seniority, investment plan, and stock options at stake. 

He pondered, as he sanded the last piece for the crib. He painted well into the night, and finally crawled into bed sometime before the sun rose. 

Hours later he woke to the smell of coffee, and bacon. Julie stood there with a tray, balanced on her belly. He sat up and smiled. She put the tray down for him and sat next to him on the bed. 

"So what if you stayed home." She blurted out. He practically choked on the bacon. "Hear me out. You will be the best dad, and I was thinking... maybe you could stay home with the baby. You are a financial wizard, so you could do some freelance work, and we would come out ahead in the deal."

He promised to think about it - and he did, constantly. What would his friends think? Where would he find freelance clients? What were the risks?

He looked at their finances again, and again. He looked at where they could trim the budget, but he couldn't make up the loss that daycare would hit them with. The risk was huge, if he stayed at his new job. He had only been there a little over 6 months, there was little to no promise of a raise or promotion.

At work, a few days later, he looked around. Grey walls, grey cubicles, no one talking, just processing reports. The lunch room was grey, the bathrooms were grey, and there wasn't a window to be seen anywhere. He sighed. He was happy but not satisfied. Every day he pulled himself out of bed, and everyday he sprinted out to his car to get home to his wife. Was that what he wanted for himself? for his child? 


It was almost time, the doctor said, it could be any day now. He had put off deciding, and now... she was waiting for an answer. It was physically painful, the very idea of not going back to work after the baby was born, but worse was thinking how much he would be missing.

That night turned out to be The Night. They rushed to the hospital, and the following afternoon they met the newest member of their family. He held their little girl, and suddenly there was no easier decision in the world. There was no way he could ever go back to being the man he was before. He was a dad now, and that was the best job title he could ever have. 

He quit the next morning, and never looked back.