Friday, April 13, 2007

The Best Laid Plans ...

A former ‘career girl’ turned Stay at Home Mom, with two kids in suburban America! How the heck did this happen to me? An Irish girl – whom only a short while ago had no intention whatsoever of leaving Ireland, much less to come 4000 miles away! I loved my comfy little life thanks very much with my nice car and well paid job. I am what most would call a ‘homebody’ too, I loved being close to my Mum and the rest of my family and friends.

This is what happens when your world gets turned upside down by meeting a cute Irish guy in a bar in Ft Lauderdale. He was a friend of my cousin and her fiancé, and I was in Florida for their wedding. I met him the night before I left to return to Ireland. Buzzed on one too many Rum Runners, I kissed him goodnight in front of many cousins, aunts and uncles (one of whom is a Priest!). I took off from Miami Airport the next day, never dreaming I’d set eyes on or hear from this guy again. I mean holiday romances never work out, and we hadn’t even had a romance at all! Imagine my embarrassment too at arriving home, met by my parents at the airport, to discover that the family jungle drums had been beating and all of a sudden I’m getting the third degree on the ‘young man’ I met! Cut a really long story short – we kept in touch by phone, he came home intending to stay, couldn’t hack it, moved back to the USA, broke my heart, we kept in touch a bit more, and the transatlantic visits started increasing in number – both directions.

All the while I was working my way up in my job in bank marketing, and doing pretty good. Of course, despite my own delusions to the contrary, nobody is perfect, and the one ‘flaw’ that kept coming up in my evaluations was my aversion to risk – I kept being told that I needed to take more risks ( ironic considering that the banking industry has to be one of the most risk averse I can think of!). And so began a period of intense self contemplation. I liked my job, I was good at it and I was excited that I was earmarked for further promotion – but what did this mean when the man I loved lived so far away? At work we were always encouraged to set professional goals etc – I never managed to come up with convincing plans and it is only in retrospect that I can see why? I only thought I loved my career.

What I realize now is how I could never have been fulfilled by my career alone, and couldn’t have continued to make transatlantic trips twice a year to see my fella. There would always have been something missing. On a visit to see him in Florida in April 2002 I was asked a question that would have me considering the most risky decision of my life so far – he asked me to marry him! I said yes instinctively and came home to much celebration from our families, and celebration tempered with curiosity and a level of concern from my co-workers and immediate line managers! I guess they knew the writing was on the wall and that I’d be leaving soon – something I wasn’t even prepared to admit to myself. How could I just up and leave my job and trek halfway across the world?

And so my self contemplation continued for a while longer, my risk averse self hoping something else would take over and make the decision for me – do I leave and head Stateside?, or do I work on my husband-to-be and persuade him to make the move home? I knew that the latter option would make him unhappy at that particular time so the only choice really was for me to move here.

Here I am four and a half years later, married, with two beautiful children. Staying at home was an easy decision for us. We had, thanks to a long drawn out immigration process, been living on one salary since I got here, (my work permit didn’t come through until just before I got pregnant with my first), but more important than that minor inconvenience, both of us wanted me to be at home with our child(ren). Living with the decision has been difficult at times, and I have struggled with the ‘losing my identity’ thing more than once. Settling in Florida has taken a long time, I was desperately homesick, and while I do still miss home, kids have a way of giving you a different focus, and truthfully keep me too darned busy most of the time to feel homesick.

So, the best laid plans do go astray as they say – had you told me 6 years ago that I’d be swapping my suits and salary, for sandals and spit-up I’d have laughed heartily in your face. While I always hoped to be married and have children, I imagined them fitting nicely into my life as it was – now I laugh heartily at myself. In telling me that I was risk averse and needed to work on that, my bosses helped me take the plunge in my personal life, kissing my professional life goodbye – for now. I had to do what my Mum and many others encouraged me to do – submit to another plan, not my own – but put my trust in God and be guided by Him – and I thank Him for bringing me here.


Velveteen Mind said...

I'm on vacation(!) and I found your blog! Sorry I couldn't get to it in my mad dash to slllooowwwllly pack for this trip--

This is fantastic! You know I will be a loyal reader every day and love every minute of it. I can't believe how much of this I didn't know.

BTW, I think "Sandals and SpitUp" would have been a fine blog name, too.

Annie said...

You know Megan, I absolutely considered Sandals and Spitup as a title, honestly - then talked myself out of it since we'll not be in the spitup stage (hopefully) for however long I might keep this blogging gig up. It's all a bit of a work in progress - and maybe I'll change it to that - we'll see.

Glad to see you have your priorities right after all - why shouldn't my blog adventure come before your big getaway?? pff! ;)

The Humble Housewife said...

Hi Annie - great first post! I loved the romance story... but I think ultimately you took the first risk all along... by kissing him! ;-) Can't wait to see more!

Monkey Giggles said...

I m so glad you found my little blog. Thank you for your heart felt comment. I do know that this journey of grief I am traveling is a long one. I not only lost my brother 10 months ago in a tragic accident but 8 years ago my oldest sister was killed in a car accident. I will be praying for your husband because I know the sorrow his heart must hold. Blessing to you and have fun blogging

moodswingingmommy said...

What a great post! I didn't emigrate from quite as far as you, but can certainly relate to your feelings, not to mention all the red tape you went through to be together. The "what if" factor is mind-boggling, isn't it? I'd never have thought I'd be where I am today in a million years either.

Flamenco Mom said...

Fantastic first post, Annie! I look forward to reading your blog everyday. And I agree about Sandals and Spit-Up being a good title for the blog. Although I am optimistic that the spit-up part won't be for very long.

Annie said...

Wow! Thank you everyone :)

Pressure's on now, everyday huh? ;)

Shauna said...

I think this was one of the best first posts I've ever read!