Day 27 – The Perks and the Panic of Unemployment

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.

Wednesday – September 24, 2014

I am officially the regular pickup parent at school. Cami’s teachers know to look for me, we have conversations that continue from one day to the next, and they feel free to give me pertinent information. I remember when I would go pick up the kids once in a while and Cami’s teachers would reintroduce themselves every time. I like being more in touch with things, but it also represents a loss of… status? No, that’s not right. Something though. I lost something to gain something there.

* * *

Our friends Pete and Lisa, who live in Europe, came over to hang out for pretty much the whole day. They brought pizza, then later when we were done with that they bought bags and bags of candy. We all blew our diets to smithereens as we played games and laughed and talked. In the middle of the freakin’ day. I felt like I was getting away with something. I know I took a vacation already this year, and yet I didn’t have to ask for time off to do any of it.

There are perks, is all I’m saying. There are perks.

Cami

Cami

Cami was particularly insistent on her share of candy, even going so far as to say “candy.” I’ve mentioned that Cami is a our middle daughter with special needs, but I don’t know that I’ve ever explained what those needs are. The sad truth is we’ve got no idea what is up with Cami–she does not have a diagnosis. She’s smaller than other kids her age, less coordinated. She doesn’t process information the same way we do and it’s hard to gauge how much she understands because her vocabulary is only in the double digits. Whatever it is that delays her development so very much, it impacts her speech in a big way. Once in a while–once in a great while–she’ll come out with new words out of the blue. Today, it was “candy.”

A couple months ago, when we still had jobs and went on that vacation and could do things like spend money freely (we were so young! so innocent!), we were with family in Oregon when Cami all of the sudden decided she could say “Daddy.” She said it over and over again, particularly when I entered the room. This wasn’t a case of interpreting a sound to make it mean what we wanted–she was really saying my name (well, title).

How do I even explain what that did to me? I have been waiting nine years for Cami to call me “Daddy,” but I’ve never even heard anything close to it coming out of her mouth. Cami is always excited when she sees me, but there was something about her actually saying my name that put a big ol’ rock in my throat. I could not be more connected with Cami, and yet, instantly, we were more connected. She was my little girl and I was her Daddy for what felt like the very first time.

There are two sad codas to this story:

1. She has yet to say it again since we’ve come back from Oregon. (This is Cami’s way–she’ll do a thing and then either never do it again or wait several years before making it a regular part of her behavior.)

2. She has still never said “Mommy.” To be fair, she seems completely unable to make the “m” sound. I think Erin will honestly break down in tears if it ever happens.

* * *

Had a good time this evening drawing for my online comic, The SuperFogeys, after everyone went to bed. I don’t do a whole lot of drawing these days because I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to, but every once in a while, for a change in pace, it hits the spot. This was one of those times.

One of my favorite SuperFogeys strips.

One of my favorite SuperFogeys strips.

Unfortunately, right in the middle of this late night drawing session, I was hit with a wave of panic. Ever since losing my job I’ve been getting these now and again. There’s no real rhyme or reason to when they happen–they just happen. When the wave hits, I feel lost and abandoned and, worst of all, like I’m just not doing enough and am somehow responsible for the current state of my life. Like I’ve broken faith with my family and could have done something that could have avoided all this.

I don’t honestly believe that (the circumstances of my job loss had nothing to do with my performance on the job), but it’s hard sometimes to not play the blame game a little. I look around, I try to find someone to blame, and I land right on me.

I’ve called moments like these George Bailey Moments, and that’s still accurate. I’m getting better at shaking it off though. I’m able to rationalize my way through it as an unproductive line of thought, a lie the weaker part of myself is all too willing to tell.

That part of myself? That guy that brings me down? He’s a tool.

Advertisements

4 comments

  1. I really think it was the Oregon air that did it. 🙂 remember that as you look for jobs! (Okay I’m mostly joking but I’m
    Still pulling for you guys to end up here.)

    Like

  2. Wow. I very much enjoyed your cartoon and checking out The SuperFogeys. You obviously have talent on many many levels. But I also see here you have stress on many levels and that does get hard to take. I’m really sorry for you….not pitying you, but just in an understanding sort of way. I feel that panic you have inside. I know how hard it is to feel that loss of status or whatever it is at the school gates and how hard it is to think that you somehow should’ve prevented this. But you see….none of that matters now. Not one piece of it. The only thing that matters is forward – eyes ahead and attitude up. That’s the only way through to better things. Others have done it with even worse burdens. You can do this. You’re too talented to give in to doubts when you have so much going for you. I’ve only “known” you a day and I can see this. Should be easy enough to rally up some support on that end over there…..ask your wife! 🙂

    Like

    1. I really do okay most of the time. I think the panic moments are just those little reminders that things are not quite as okay as they they were. Honestly, I’m grateful for them. They help me kind of plug back in and force me to say, hey, this is really serious. Not that I don’t know it’s serious, but it’s a good check.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s