This illness is the best thing that has ever happened to me. (GASP!) "Why would you say that Michele?" — you ask. I've realized that its the best thing because it has caused me to slow down, and really take a look at what matters in life. What matters in life, first and foremost in my relationship with the Lord and my relationship with my family. That is what matters most. Anything that comes after that is just the icing on the cake.
Due to this illness I was basically forced to quit a job I had been at for 8 years. I have always worked. Before I was 16 years old I babysat to earn extra money, or did extra things around the house so that I could earn money. Then when I turned 16 I hoofed it over to the Humdinger, and applied for a job. I kept going back until Ron hired me. I would ride my bike to work until I was able to get a car, pay for the insurance and the gas. After high school I went off to college for a couple of years, and then began working in a law office when I was about 19 years old while I continued to go to school.
I got most of my "schooling" on the job more or less. This last job I had was by far the best as far as teaching me everything I needed to know to be a paralegal. My boss taught me to think for myself, think on my feet, and taught me to write better. It was great. I honestly loved my job.
In November 2008, I got hit with an illness, unfortunately. It was not a new illness, it had been one that I had been dealing with for years. It just erupted again during that month and I was down for the count. The details of which aren't important right now. I began having to miss a lot of work due to it, and began to feel it wasn't fair to my boss that I couldn't make it to work. He was always very gracious and very understanding, but he needed someone he could rely on (I felt). So in May 2009, I gave my notice. I continued to work periodically when he needed some extra help here and there, but then realized this month that I couldn't do that anymore because the stress was really affecting me.
Honestly, I loved having the security of having a two income household. We didn't have to worry about finances at all. It was wonderful after having had so many years of struggling financially. The great thing was that the Lord gave us enough extra income during the time from when we were married to May 2009 that we were able to get completely out of debt (with the exception of our mortgage). Thank you Lord!
In evaluating this decision to stay at home, I realized that the pressure that society puts on us as a whole to be a two income household. I mean, look at the advertising. They show us all these design shows that show us these big, beautiful homes that are decorated to the "nines", you see the brand new cars everywhere, and the pressure all around to own a Lexus, an Acura, a Hummer, a Mercedes, a BMW, etc, but honestly, who are those for? Us? Or do we purchase these things to impress others? Same thing with clothing, shoes, purses, make-up, etc. I mean, when we purchase a "Coach" purse, or "Steve Madden" shoes, who are we purchasing them for? I think we generally (me included) do it to impress others, whether we want to admit it or not.
I mean, the big beautiful home is wonderful, but if you are working so much (both of you) that you never get to see each other, or you're working so much that you don't get to enjoy it, is it worth it? Is that fancy car worth it? I've realized that now, more than ever, my kids need me home. I'm not as frazzled (like when I was working) as I am beginning to adjust to this stay-at-home lifestyle. I can cook them meals, take care of them when they are sick, just be there for them when they come home from school. Nicole came home the other day and didn't even turn the tv on for at least an hour and a half, and sat and talked to me. To me, THAT is worth it.
Now, are we going to be able to afford to go on extravagant vacations, and purchase all the best (I'm talking Abercrombie or American Eagle) for them? Probably not, but honestly, what will they remember more? Me spending time with them, or that American Eagle shirt I bought for them in 2009?
I am beginning to think that this illness was a blessing in disguise because honestly I wouldn't have quit my job otherwise. I'll be honest — I loved having the extra money to get what I wanted, get them what they wanted, etc, and I did love the work I did, but I'm realizing that being home for them and with them is far better than what I had prior to the illness. I get time with the Lord now in the mornings, I get time with the kids, I get time with my husband. Money can't by that. I can always go back to work after they all move out, but for now, I believe that the Lord will provide for us — He already has. Stay tuned — I'm sure there will be more. Thank you Lord for my life today! (I put the pic of the kids, because they are worth it!)