People are very thoughtful and kind about our situation and a lot of times people who care about us and our family will lean in and say in a soft voice, "So how are you doing?" Which is really nice because I know that they care and want to check up on us, but aren't quite sure how. But "how are you doing?" in a soft voice and leaned in is such a weighted question, you know? And it feels like there is no real clear answer. But I try to answer those friends as honestly as I can without sacrificing the privacy of my family, so I suppose I will attempt the same on this blog tonight.
Most days we're doing great! Most days are really productive and it feels like we have the world by its string. We feel strong as a couple, we feel like kick a** parents, we aren't afraid of anything in the future. The house gets clean, the orders are out, my papers are graded, June is fed and clothed and washed and happy, creative projects are underway. Most days it feels like there is a lot of HOPE in our future, which is a really awesome feeling to have after months of not feeling it.
Take last week for example. One morning I worked on a blog post while Greg cleaned up, took care of June and then put her down for a nap late morning. We worked on all of our orders together, got all of our jewelry goals met and then when June woke up from her nap we all went out for a late lunch. After lunch Greg went to the gym and then to his rehearsal and I came home and played with June and read my book and took a bath and it was a perfect day. Very simple, but productive and happy and filled with all the best things in life- work, play, family. We are making a living and making our family work on our terms, no one else's. We are creating our own schedule and our own way of doing things. It might not be traditional, but it is working and it's making us very happy. It is very rewarding to get to create your own work. We are endlessly grateful for this blog and the jewelry and the plays Greg gets cast in and all the little extra ways we have found to make a living for our family. (P.S. Greg is in Peter and the Starcatcher at the West Valley Hale and it opens in three weeks. The show has a five week run with at least two performances a day, sometimes more, so things are about to crazy up in hurr.)
I know that there are days that Greg misses his students fiercely, and I know that those can be hard days to come through. I know that sometimes he questions if he made the right choice, quitting. We both do. But those days are fewer and fewer as the time goes on. I look back to a year ago and I look at where we are now and I'm proud of the progress we have made. I wish I could show year ago Bonnie a picture of today and tell her that things would work out and that Greg quitting would not be the worst thing in the world and that we'd all come out of this healthy and smiling. (Well, most days.) That would have saved me a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of stress. I had a good friend at school who said to me when Greg quit, "I know it feels like you are giving up on a dream. But know that now you're going to a new dream and the new dream will be better than this one and will be worth it." I really clung to that and continue to cling to it. I believe it, and I see the new dream Greg and I are carving out for ourselves and for our family and it is better than the old one.
That is not to say that all days are like this. Some days are still really hard. Some days still feel dark and heavy and like there's this looming shadow of depression and doubt in our home that lingers late in to the morning and stretches in to the afternoon and even sometimes has the audacity to show up for dinner. Some days I feel tired and selfish and like I'm failing at everything. Some days June is still in her pajamas at 3:00. I still have moments where I feel like it's too hard and I just want to quit now mkay thanks.
These days are fewer and far between. Sometimes I get frustrated when I feel like we revisit an old problem or don't make the progress that I think we should. But I have to remember something I learned about healing after my dad died. Healing is two steps forward, one step back. Two steps forward, one step back. Those steps back can still feel so painful and like there's no hope to be seen, but I have to remember that the forward steps out number the backward steps and on the whole we are better than we have been for probably a year and a half.
Greg is very strong and I am so proud of everything he is coming through and the battles he continues to fight. It is not easy, what he endures. Greg is as committed an individual as I've ever met, and he is a fighter. Sometimes I feel frustrated or overwhelmed or like life is just super sucky and not fair and in those moments Greg is my absolute rock. He buoys me up and talks some sense into me and makes me see the good all around me. When I need his strength, he gives that to me. Then there are days where Greg feels overwhelmed or hopeless or panic stricken. And then I get to be the strength to him. We take turns being strong. And I think that's a pretty awesome thing to have in a partnership.
Hopefully that answers some of your questions of "yes, but how are you doing?" We're progressing, we're happier, we're figuring it all out. But we're not 100%. (But is anyone ever really 100%?) Some days are sucky, most days are happy. Two forward one back.
I tried to be honest in this post without divulging too much of the nitty gritty. It can be hard to give a total update as it's not fully my story to tell. Sorry if some of it is super vague and you can't even figure out what I'm saying. Blog world + Openness + Honesty + Privacy don't always jive. We're a work in progress over here. And if you want to ask any questions about quitting jobs, coping with mental health, supporting loved ones, etc, feel free to ask in the comments and I'll do my best to reply. I can't promise I'll have an answer, but I might have a joke and that sometimes helps too.
P.S. In case you are interested... This is far and away the coolest blogging campaign I have ever been involved in. So proud to be involved in an organization that puts so much good out there.