Day 13 – The Second Worst Nightmare Come True

On August 28th, my wife lost her job. 24 hours later, I lost mine. This blog is a continuation of the day-by-day chronicling of our emotional journey back to employment. This is bound to be upsetting, hilarious and hopeful.

September 10, 2014

Erin was laid out sick today, so I had to step up for the sake of the kids. I’ve done the single dad thing before, for up to a week at a time when Erin has been out of town.This was fine because I like my kids. I like playing with my kids. They happen to be the very best kids.

The only difficult thing was that I was trying to get two big projects done at the same time I was managing the house: my online portfolio (which I finished) and a writing sample for a marketing freelance gig that I might just be right for. Violet didn’t care about any of that. She just wanted to play “hotel” in her bedroom.

The only hiccup was when I forgot about Elora’s orthodontist appointment. Thankfully, the office took pity on me (no, I didn’t pull the ‘lost job card’–I pulled the ‘sick wife’ card) and rescheduled for later in the day. My penance was dragging all three kids to the office and trying to wrestle Cami, our middle girl with special needs, into staying in her chair and not sitting on the dirty waiting room floor. For some reason, she loved that floor.

After resting all day, Erin felt just well enough to make a speaking engagement in nearby Reedley to share her journey as a mom to a child with special needs–she does this about once a week or so. Because she’s great at it.

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Cami, with the rest of us.

This reminds me of something Erin told me the other day. Before Cami was born, her worst nightmare was to have a child with special needs. She said this on numerous occasions. Once, while Erin was pregnant with Cami and a friend joked that it was statistically possible–probable, even–that someone in our family would have a child with special needs and that that child could very well be the one Erin was carrying, she completely lost it. Privately. Later.

Then Cami was born.

Nine years and a lot of pain and heartache and coming to terms later, and Erin admits this was always her second worst nightmare scenario–that I would lose my job. My job was the one that sustained us. That allowed us to buy a new minivan when the kids got too big for our car. That put us in our house. That put food on the table and the kids in clothes.

What we couldn’t (and, to be fair, wouldn’t) see when Cami was born was that our lives would be immeasurably blessed for having her. There have been so very many blessings, but the big one that immediately come to mind is that Cami, through just the very spirit she brings into our home, has allowed peace to reign. Our kids don’t fight, ever. Because of the struggle we’ve had with her, Erin and I have increased our likelihood of divorcing to 80%, but instead we’ve pulled together in a way we might not have otherwise. Years of difficulty and struggle have brought us to a truly beautiful place in both our marriage and within our family.

I think having lived through one worst nightmare is helping quite a bit with this second one. We’ve been through storms, this is just another. There are solid benefits to struggle, we all know this, but in the moment–and I’d say the past twelve days have been a very big moment–it can be hard to remember that. But what I see happening is our processing and recovery time shortening. I see us bouncing back faster and stronger. There are still days and minutes of panic and difficulty, but they don’t debilitate in the long term as they once might have.

Because storms, you see, pass.

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15 comments

    1. Appreciate that, Michael. I’m inching closer towards figuring this thing out, but I’m sure I have a long way to go still. The true insight and lessons always come after the fact.

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  1. Love you guys so much! See so many bright things in your future. “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”
    And as a side note, I am in awe of how you chronicle your journey for others to be a part of. That’s pretty amazing. And uplifting

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    1. I’m glad you’re finding it uplifting. I’m really just trying my best to present things as they are. Sometimes things are good, sometimes they’re not. But if it’s overall uplifting then I guess I’m doing okay.

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  2. My favorite post too. I have extended family that are going through really rough times and I doubt my own faith so much lately. It breaks my heart to have to search for the hidden blessings. Not what I am used to and don’t want to get used to it. Don’t want to “figure this thing out.” You have brought me renewed strength. You and your family.

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