Monday, October 10, 2011

This and That - an update by Jill Culver

As predicted we returned from our wedding weekend over a week ago now with great photos... that we can't upload to our computer because it is 500 years old.

The weekend was great, the wedding beautiful, and we can now highly recommend the Aberdeen ER. The Culvers are suckers for tradition and a new one we appear to have started is our annual fall trip to a remote ER while attending a destination wedding. Last year you may recall Edie's ear infection on Whidbey Island while attending our friends' Jessie and Clay's wedding? Well, I can tell you with confidence that if you're in a pinch with a screaming toddler, I'd much prefer to be stuck in the Aberdeen area than Whidbey (rudest hospital staff ever). Edie was a big hit at the wedding while everyone waited for the ceremony to start. She enjoyed the 1-2-3-SWING! maneuver that our friends were treating her to... until she stopped enjoying it. Meaning, until her elbow was accidentally dislocated during the whole "SWING!" part.

Thankfully, the ceremony was at 1pm, but the reception wasn't until 4pm, so instead of taking naps between the two as planned, we just drove the 30 minutes to Aberdeen and visited the ER where the nicest staff ever popped Edie's elbow back into place. She instantly went from miserable to pleased as punch while sucking on a popsicle, waving to the nurses and doctors that walked by. In fact, I seem to recall her saying in a put-upon tone, "I just want to go back to the paaarty." So we did. And Edie rallied and fun was had by all. Hopefully, I can post photos soon to prove it.

I don't talk about work much on my blog (confidentiality and professionalism, blah blah blah), but after helping to coordinate this particular wedding, I spent last week dropping Edie off at daycare and then going home to clean the house. I'd run out of paying work. I've had the same two "irons in the fire" for months, but both bids for work have been stuck in red tape land and I was starting to question whether either would pan out before I bailed on the idea of freelance work altogether. I've been hesitant to seek other work though because I was SO EXCITED about both of these potential gigs. I felt like I was so close to the "Holy Land of Work-Life Balance" and I wasn't ready to give up yet.

And I'm glad I didn't because last week *both* gigs came through for me! Seeing as my primary job for the last 2 years has been being a Mom, this feels really momentous. Like starting a new job for the first time in over 5 years. Granted I've been working for the last year, but it's been pretty part-time and intermittent. Both of these new gigs are long-term freelance jobs that together will equal about 25 hours of work per week. I have SO loved being home with Edie and feel very, very lucky in this day and age to have had the choice. But it's time to start working more and I'm so excited to A) Work B) Still have some time at home with Edie and C) MAKE MONEY.

Edie will be picking up an extra day of daycare at Jen's house (which fortuitously became available at the exact right time) bringing her daycare total to 3 days per week from 8:30am-5pm. My Mom also still comes down most weeks for a partial day, which will help with my busier weeks. Edie is completely through her transition period at daycare and officially loves it, asking most mornings if she gets to go there to play with her friends. Another little girl about her age recently started there, so now there are 3 girls and 2 boys, all 2-3 years old. God bless Jen - can you imagine? I feel good about dropping her off; know that she's having fun, learning a preschool-like curriculum and making friends.

And the cherry on top of all this is that both events I'll be planning are with organizations that are SO worthy - I'll be joining the team to plan a very cool 2-day event in the Spring for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and leading the charge on a 4-day conference in the Summer for Seattle Children's Hospital and the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS). There have been times as an event planner when I've had opportunities to plan elaborate and beautiful events - but when the cause is trivial or non existent it can sometimes feel like my job is a bit vapid. I mean creating custom cocktails is fun, but it's a little silly. But creating custom cocktails for people who just spent all day making the world a better place at a meeting you coordinated? WINNING!

I will say that life is looking pretty fantastic right now. Recent events have led me to feel particularly grateful for everything I have.

Last week I went to the memorial service for the husband of an old friend of mine. We lived together in college (along with 6 other roommates) and haven't kept in touch much since then. She's moved a lot and we probably last caught up in person over 2 years ago. Her husband had just turned 30. He died suddenly.

I think all of us who went to the service spent the rest of the day (or longer) with a lump in our throats. I mean, you commit your life to the people you love and they can be taken away like that. This person who used to make fart jokes and choreograph dances with me to Destiny's Child is a widow at 32. I just can't stop thinking about the sadness I would feel if put in her place and it's almost too much to bear. And as a mother now, I feel a whole other level of grief for the parents who I'm sure were ready to die before their child. When they played the slide show of photos and one of him almost exactly the same age Edie is now flashed on the screen, I had to avert my eyes completely for the duration of the presentation for fear of audibly crying at a funeral that had almost nothing to do with me. How dare this world take a child away from his parents at the age of 30 and leave my friend grieving?

Count your blessings, hug your loved ones close and spend the time you have doing the things that matter to you.


Tib said...

life and death - (with weddings, and ER visits in the mix) we all know this is the cycle; but sometimes the death part just comes to close to the birth part.

The least we can do is remember to say "I love you" to those those we do love, and remind ourselves to be grateful for all that we do have (even if all it is is love).

Kathleen said...

Oh - Edie has inherited my Culver elbows. This happened to me at least three or four times when I was little. No swinging in circles for me either!

cranky rae said...

Exactly. Great post.

lindsey said...

I did not expect to cry when I pulled up your blog this morning! This was a really touching post, J. First, I am sorry about Edie's elbow but so happy all was quickly well again. Second, I am beyond thrilled for you with regard to your work sitch. This is fantastic news and I know that those events are going to be so much better with you involved. Third, I am so sad for your friend. You wrote about things I think about all the time even though I try not to. I can't help but think that these terrible things have to happen to someone and what's to keep them from happening to me? It is so scary to think of how much we have to lose but the flip side of that is how much we have. Have a lovely day today, my friend! Thank you for a really wonderful post to start my day (even if you did make me cry).