Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Safety in Numbers

For those of you who haven't already heard the news via Facebook or Twitter or group email or personal email (dear god, could we invent any MORE ways for me to self-absorbedly trumpet my every move?), Baroy's wish has come true: We will not be losing the house (yet), not moving (yet), not freefalling into financial ruin (yet), because I have not lost my job (yet).

That sound you just heard was a sigh so deep and so truly appreciative that it made the trees bend.

And yet...nothing feels safe. For one thing (and duh on this one), it's not like the danger has passed. The economy (NEWSFLASH!) still sucks. There are people from the division I work in who are very, very sad and scared tonight, and there but for the grace of god go I, as they say. After watching the faces and the tears that this day wrought, there's no way to just sit back and say, "Whew. Glad that's over. Won't ever have to worry about that again!" What used to feel like a stable environment in which to work--It's an ivory TOWER for crying out loud! Aren't towers made of brick? Or something equally able to withstand whatever economic seismic activity comes their way?--no longer feels that way. Plus, I am taking a small but significant pay cut. And while, hey, I'll take it, especially if my other choice is a complete pay cut, there's still the fact that we weren't quite making it on my salary before this. So now we've got even more distance to cover before we're really living within our means.

But again, like I said, it could be worse. It could be so much worse. So I'll live with insecurity and a budgetary shortfall, and I'll do what I can to ameliorate them, and if I can't, I'll still be grateful. I survived, after all. That's huge.

As I mentioned last month, we haven't been especially good about keeping the stress of all the might-be-comings to ourselves. We've tried, Baroy and I. But, to be honest, not all that hard. Because while part of me thinks it's important to shield kids from too much pain and heartache, the other part of me thinks it's important for them to be fully a part of our lives, and sometimes our lives include pain and heartache. And so Em, especially, knew that today was an important day. Which is why, after I'd called Baroy to tell him he could once again breathe, I emailed Em's teacher, apologizing for involving him in my personal business, but asking him to let Em know it was going to be OK. "I know she has a social studies test today," I wrote, "and I think it would make it much easier for her to concentrate if you would pass along the message that everything's fine, and I didn't get laid off, and she can relax."

Unfortunately, he didn't see my email until she was already taking the test (which her social studies teacher--another sixth-grade teacher--marked in front of her...and since she got a 98, I can rest assured that the worry didn't derail her too badly), but once they got back to his classroom, he called her to his desk and let her read it. Recounting the story to me later, she said, "And when I walked away from his desk, Mommy, I swear I felt like something had been lifted off my chest, and I could breath so much easier, and I felt stronger and not like there was something on top of me."

You and me both, baby. You and me both.


po said...

Not to be flip, but aren't the folks in your particular ivory tower *in charge* of seismic activity?? Oh, you said economic seismic activity ;). Anyway, congrats again, though of course this doesn't mean that you can relax and put up your emotional feet.

As always, I am so impressed with your girlie's maturity. So glad she can breathe again too.

Meg said...

So happy to hear this news. Hopefully, you can relax at least for a little while. It is all so very scary.