I run my fingers over everything in the store: the stuffed animals, the baby clothes, the teething toys, the books, the games. And I smile. And I finally let myself not be afraid anymore. Adele is my daughter and she’s not going anywhere. This is my first time in the Animal Kingdom since having a baby, and everything has a new meaning. All the toys and clothes and stuffed animals. All of them are Adele. Everything is Adele.
It’s quite obvious I haven’t posted in a while. And not for any other reason than life is utterly amazing and we’ve had new and exciting things happen for us! Most of you know by now, but in the midst of me being home with Adele I got a job at Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development working as full-time writer and editor. I started on July 1; Adele started daycare the following week.
So as I am adjusting to our crazy new life, I have barely had time to breathe. Maybe now, for the first time, I am catching my breath.
The new job wasn’t planned for or sought after, I can assure you that. The opportunity presented itself right around the same time we found out about Adele. After I was offered and accepted the job, I made sure I didn’t start until July 1 so I could have my full eight weeks of (unpaid) leave, which was what I was going to take anyway, had I remained at The Gazette.
The decision to leave The Gazette was not an easy one. I was happy there, and love everyone I worked with. I was nervous to tell them, but as expected, they were overwhelmingly happy for me and understood why I couldn’t pass up such an amazing opportunity at Penn State: for myself and for my family.
This kind of opportunity doesn’t happen frequently, especially for a newspaper reporter who has only worked at newspapers since college. Given the opportunity to still write articles that mean something to me, edit, write press releases, layout newsletters, and basically use and expand my skills to the fullest – I couldn’t pass it up. Plus it means more financial security for our family. Plus it means we can afford to put Adele in daycare (more on that later, but she has been THRIVING there).
Anyway, long story short: I LOVE my new job. I have my own office in the Henderson building on campus, and am basically responsible for writing, editing and generating content for the college’s eight academic units. I am meeting faculty and staff and professors and researchers and telling the stories I feel most passionate about: in health and human development.
So all of that happened really fast. I got a new baby and not just a new job, but a new career, all within the same two months of each other.
So I am adjusting. Life as a full-time working mommy with a demanding career (this job is demanding but I love it) is HARD. And this past week I did it alone. Sean is in Chicago until tonight (he left Sunday) so I took care of Adele, Campbell and myself on my own, while working 8-9 hours a day. It has been rough, but I got through it. I got Adele fed and changed and off to daycare each morning, got to work, worked hard, attended meetings, brought her home, fed her, changed her, sometimes managed to eat dinner myself, fed Campbell, sometimes managed to give her a bath or me a shower, sometimes managed to get the mail, put us all to bed and did it again, and again, and again the next day. The towels may not be folded or the flowers watered, but we are all safe and fed and clean. And that’s all that matters right now until Sean gets home.
I guess I surprised myself. I did it. I am doing it. When you have no other choice you just do.
There are no words to describe Adele, but I’ll try. She is THRIVING. She is the bubbliest, happiest, curliest baby. Chubby, curly hair, long eyelashes, huge eyes, huge smiles, arm rolls. She smiles and “talks” all the time. She’s grabbing and moving and nearly holding her head up herself. I read to her, I dance with her, I sing to her. My love for her is all consuming, indescribable. It is everything I feel, the way I live, the air I breathe. And my love for her continues to grow. I see her shiny face each morning in the crib and my heart lights up. She is the most beautiful baby. She is my absolute everything. I miss her all day when I’m at work; I stare at pictures of her in my iPhone and on my desk.
Friends and family have been visiting a lot this summer so it’s been wonderful for them to spend time with her. Tomorrow we have our second post-placement visit with the social worker. A reminder to everyone: that means after Saturday, we have ONE MORE visit, and then a few months later we will get our court date. Once the adoption is finalized in October, November or December, we will be able to post photos online. Until then please FaceTime us if you have it. I am still working on thank-you notes so if you haven’t gotten yours, I have not forgotten about you! We have been blessed and have received hundreds of gifts (still coming in the mail) so I will get to yours if I haven’t yet. I am also putting some print photos in some of the notes so if you want one please request one. Until then I will do my best to describe her:
She has cinnamon-colored skin (she is Vietnamese, African American and we think maybe Hispanic), lots of dark curly hair and is very chubby. (big cheeks, big legs!) She has large beautiful dark eyes (sometimes they look brown, sometimes they look grey, sometimes they even look blue), plus eyebrows and eyelashes. And she smiles and kicks and speaks. She is alert, finding her fists, smiling at everyone who talks to her. We are so blessed that she is such a healthy baby and is developing so nicely.
The transition hasn’t been an easy one. (New baby, new career) I’m still getting used to being a mom while adjusting to a new job in a new place with all new people and all new responsibilities and tasks.
As I write this today I am in a good place, but a few weeks ago I was not doing well. I have learned I need to EMBRACE the change, even the hard parts, instead of fighting them. Instead of resisting. Some parts are hard. Having a 3-month-old (on the 26th!) is hard. Having a new job is hard. Doing it all is hard.
But we are DOING.
A few more announcements before I tie up:
I have my annual breast MRI Aug. 12 in Hershey (a little nervous so happy thoughts are appreciated)
We leave for Ireland (with Miss Adele) on the 23rd of August
I have been asked to present a workshop at the 2014 PA Breast Cancer Coalition annual Conference Oct. 13 in Harrisburg. This is a tremendous honor for me. My workshop (which I am creating from scratch) will focus on the unique issues young breast cancer patients and survivors face, many of which I’ve dealt with, am dealing with or wrote about in this blog: body image, starting a family, etc.
Since the last time I wrote we’ve had my cousin Carolyn’s gorgeous lakeside wedding in NY, our annual family BBQ during ArtsFest weekend (Heidi came to visit and meet Adele!), an awesome 4th of July (I did the 4K and Dave came to visit), plus Rachel, Jordanna and Adam visiting. Sean has been training well for Tour de Pink. I’ll include some photos of our recent happenings, in no particular order.
|Carolyn and Zack's wedding in Rushford!|
|Boating with my cousin Hannah at The Woods at Bear Creek during Carolyn and Zack's wedding weekend!|
|Jenn, Hannah and Alison at the wedding! (Plus Joey in the back)|
|Annal summer BBQ at our house!|
|Another from Carolyn and Zack's beautiful lakeside wedding!|
|I was SO happy Heidi stopped by during her visit to Arts Fest to meet Adele!|
|4th of July!|
So those are the updates. Thanks for bearing with me!