Our son was born on November 13.
On December 16, movers came in and packed up all our stuff, and we spent 3 days in a hotel. Mr Nikki continued to work for 2 of them.
On December 19, we got on a plane and moved up to Seattle where we’ve spent the past month and a half in temporary, corporate housing (like living in a box, really). Mr Nikki had two weeks off but we spent those two weeks house hunting and getting acclimated and dealing with a small baby.
On January 4, Mr Nikki started a new job. Not just a new job, but a HUGE, high profile job that’s the biggest job he’s ever had. It’s the job he’s been working towards for the past decade. A job where he’s finally recognized & respected for all his hard work & talent, and where he’s in charge of many, many people.
This weekend we officially load all our crap that was with us in corporate housing into the house and over the past couple weeks there’s been a LOT of back and forth to the house to let in painters, electricians, contractors, getting estimates, furnaces fixed, etc.
All of this has been done on the sleeping schedule of a young baby.
If that doesn’t sound like a lot to you – oh, it is. It is. Baby, move, new job – three of the biggest, most stressful things a person can do, all at once.
People (my parents, specifically) keep reminding us of this – with the intent of making us feel better about all we’ve been through and how well we’ve apparently handled it. Usually when people ask how we’ve managed all this, we just smile weakly & shrug. It just had to be done, and it’s worth it and it’s everything we’ve wanted, so no point in thinking about what a massive undertaking it’s all been.
It’s only really started to sink in & hit us, just how much we’ve done over this past year – especially this last couple months. I, for one, am exhausted.
The thing is – as fabulous as Mr Nikki’s new job is and as much as it affords us all these things we’ve wanted, it’s also been extremely stressful. He was in the middle of a project at his previous job and for the last 4-5 months of the pregnancy, I barely saw him. We’re lucky we left when we did, because we were just about to lose our weekends together, too. It’s the nature of his industry, that there’s serious crunch time and lousy hours to get projects out. Working a minimum of 12 hour days, 16 or more in the last few months of a project. We expect that come April, he’ll be working till 2am or later.
He left one job just as the worst of it was starting only to start a new job right smack in the middle of it all and the worst is just about to start again. Especially when for this job, they’d been searching for someone to fill his position for quite some time and had gone through a lot of interviews until they got to him (and I’m immensely proud of him for being as talented as he is to be “the one” they’ve been searching for) – but that means that the team has already been going full steam ahead and established a routine & schedules and Mr Nikki has been dropped right smack in the middle of it. Sink or swim. Trial by fire. He’s doing fabulously and they love him, but it’s exhausting and tiring and he feels like he’s constantly struggling to catch up to everyone.
The point of all this is… well, I don’t have a concrete point. I’m venting. It’s been hard. I feel like I’ve barely seen him for a year and now there’s another few months ahead of his of not seeing him. I moved to a whole new country by myself, for the most part, and had no problem fitting in and making a life for myself there. I had new friends almost immediately, thanks to the knitting group I started, spend days happily wandering the city (Prague) alone, hung out in cafes, learned the language and never once felt isolated or alone, even when all the shit hit the fan with my ex.
I’ve never been a person to sit at home waiting on someone, to lick my wounds mournfully and feel… well, lonely. But lately, I find myself sitting in this little box of an apartment with only a 3 month old for company and feeling incredibly isolated and alone. I’ve been too tired to really do anything or just found it all too daunting to go places with Felix. I’ve been feeling lonely & really missing my husband, dammit. Every day he’s had off or any little bit of time we’ve had together has involved family or rushing around or getting stuff done for the move or sniping at each other for lack of sleep or sitting on the couch in a daze with Felix between us.
The shit hit the fan (did I actually use this phrase twice in one post now?) the other day when he again brought up a trip to Wisconsin in August. A cousin of his, who he hasn’t seen in years, is getting married in Michigan. He’d been saying how much he wanted to go, to stay in Michigan a day or two for the wedding, then head over to Wisconsin for a couple days (to see family. His mother’s side all has cabins on the lake where the come together for family gatherings.) I’d wearily agreed to this because, well, it’s family. I’m not big on family gathering but now that we have Felix, I realize the importance of keeping in touch.
Then I thought, “Who the hell gets married in August, anyway?”
I asked when, exactly, in August, this wedding was.
August 14th. I know it’s irrational to get angry at someone for getting married the same day I did, but WHAT. THE. FUCK.
We had a lovely wedding. I wouldn’t do it any differently. Santa Barbara was gorgeous & I’m thrilled that it was just the two of us, but still. I’ve wanted to get married in October my entire life. Fall has always been my favorite season and I was really bummed out that circumstances made it such that October just wasn’t the best idea. Mr Nikki had one weekend where he could get away to do the deed, and that was the weekend of August 14. We got married on Friday, August 14.
Circumstances dictated my wedding and now circumstances dictate that my one year anniversary be spent in fucking Michigan, which I have ZERO desire to go to, at someone else’s wedding.
Maybe it’s wrong to be bitter or annoyed, maybe “it’s just an anniversary” and shouldn’t matter. But this entire year has been so difficult and full of stress, this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I need a break. And once again, Mr Nikki will take time off from work and we’ll have days together but it will be because of family, again, and my time will be dictated for me, again.
Plus, I’ll go from being isolated & alone to being thrown into a large group of people, which I do not do very well with. I’m not good at huge gatherings of people for more than, say a few hours. I get fried. I need alone time & space. I can’t take all that socializing and being “on.” I’m not a social person, really.
We’ve had a long talk about and Mr Nikki has said that we don’t have to go. But here’s the rub. His mom has Parkinson’s and thanks to a really shitty decision on his step-dad’s part (long story), she’s been deteriorating rapidly. He’d like them to come out here in March, but it’ll be on me to entertain & essentially babysit them while he’s at work. Part of me knows I should just suck it all up because who knows how much time we have left with his mother. Another part of me just can’t deal right now. Did I mention? I NEED A BREAK. His parents are not in the condition that I can leave Felix with them for a few hours while I go do my own thing. His mother might need a lot of help while she’s here. She might be fine, or she might wander around wondering who we all are and freaking out because she doesn’t know where she is. Plus, it would be in March when we’re just finally getting settled into the new house.
I feel guilty. I feel like I’m a terrible person for not wanting to go to this wedding in August because the larger picture is that we should go do the family thing. The smaller picture is that I’ve spent a lot of time alone & dealing with a lot of stuff while he’s at work and a lot of time missing him and FUCK, let’s spend some more time racing around.
What I WANT is to just chill the fuck out in the new house, to relax and finally focus on getting out more. I’ve hooked up with a local group centered around natural birth and other women/mothers like me which I’m looking forward to hanging out with. I’ve volunteered to be the referral/resources coordinator for when other women are looking to have natural and/or home births, as well as helping to educate and inform about home birth. I’m HOPING to make it out to a meet up tomorrow, but we’ll see. I’m looking forward to having them over to the house for an afternoon of knitting & whatever, but who knows when I’ll be able to do that. I’m looking forward to getting my independence back and being able to look back proudly on how we got through these past few months, versus still feeling paralyzed by all of it. Because some days, “paralyzed” is exactly how I feel.
No, I’d never recommend that someone move & start a new job right after having a baby, if you have a choice. But we didn’t, so we’ve made the most of it. It’s worth it and I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but right now I just keep thinking about how there IS an end in sight. This project will be done in June and he’ll be working normal hours again. He said that the next project won’t be so bad, because this particular thing they’re working on is the initial release of something big. (Something quite huge and I wish I could talk about it. But all I can say is that it’s fucking awesome that Mr Nikki is in charge of a whole piece of it.)
I also keep thinking ahead to when he’s ready to make the move to Boston, though that probably won’t be for about 10 years now. 5, if I’m lucky. Boston means he’ll be leaving his currently type of work to work in education. He’ll move to teaching the theory & practice & technology of his industry and I certainly hope he warns them all about the hours. The nature of the beast is that it’s a cool job and all, but you have to give up the idea of having a life for long periods of time.
Every woman I meet says, “Oh! My husband/boyfriend wants to do that,” or “Could Mr Nikki help him get a job like that?” and I laugh and say if you value your relationship, you’ll steer him away from it. Yes, it’s a job (or the industry, rather) that many a man/boy covets but the fact is it takes a tremendous amount of work & sacrifice. You’ve no idea how much until you’re involved with a person who does it.
I know that it’ll start to be that much easier next week, once we’re in the house & I’ll have room to maneuver & cook and a huge backyard to hang out in.
I’m also keeping my eye on October. Originally, we planned on a Holland/Iceland trip in March because at his OLD job, the project would have been done this month and he’d have two weeks off. Now, of course, he’s got a new job with a new timeline. One of the reasons I knew he’d get this job, when we were waiting to find out, is because that meant no Iceland in March.
So now we’re planning on October. October is my reward for the past year, it’s worth everything we’ve gone through up to now. We’ll stop at my parents’ on the east coast to have a big ol’ belated Autumn wedding reception with family at my parents’ house. Then we’ll leave Nugget with them (I just hope they’ll give him back, because they sure are attached to him) for a week while we run off to Iceland & Holland. I don’t even care about sight-seeing because I think I’d like to just spend every damn day in Iceland doing nothing but floating in the lagoon. I’m fed up with running around. Sleep & float, that’s all I want. Sleep and float and hop over to both our favorite city, Amsterdam, for a day or two.
In the meantime, we’ll just keep on muddling through and I’ll be as supportive as I can. I know how lucky we are and really, it’s all a small price to pay.