Last weekend, I met up with my good friend Terrell to see Silver Linings Playbook, a movie with much buzz and many nominations. I typically enjoy these sorts of movies, the ones that are hard to define in any one category, and for the most part I did like it, despite being almost too quirky for its own good. It’s not exactly a rom-com, nor is it a drama, but it featured romantic, comedic and dramatic elements, alongside a hefty serving of crazy, too. Maybe not theater-worthy, either, but I’m glad I saw it if nothing more than it got me thinking about my own silver linings.
So, obviously, the biggest silver lining to my layoff is getting to stay home with Rowan. A few people have pointed out the serendipitous timing of our one-on-one time together, what with my due date a mere two(ish) months away, and it’s definitely not lost on me. He’s at an age now when he may actually remember this time, how now we can drop whatever it is we’re doing to go get burgers and milkshakes for lunch at Dick’s Drive-In, or marvel at the butterfly exhibit at Pacific Science Center, while everyone else is either at work or school.
That’s not to say we’re not still adjusting to this new reality. We’re both — and forgive me for yet another seafaring analogy — navigating through unfamiliar waters, trying to figure out schedules and routines that make sense and make the most of our time. These past three weeks have been equal parts wonderful and overwhelming, for the both of us, I think.
Before I was let go, Rowan spent his week days at the same tiny in-home daycare he first went to when he was 4.5 months old. Even though we’d been prepping him for a change come fall with the introduction of full-time preschool, I don’t think he was ready to just be yanked from his cozy cocoon of familiarity. After a couple of days at home with him, I knew he needed something more than what I could provide, so we enrolled him in a very part-time preschool through a local community center. It’s just two days a week, for three hours each day, but so far, it’s helping to break up the large expanses of time we have to fill each week. (And allowing me to feel like an adult, too.)
Another silver lining to this unfortunate situation is that despite losing my full-time income and benefits, we’re actually going to be OK, financially speaking. When you subtract how much we were paying for full-time daycare, gas for commuting, daily back-and-forth tolls and lunches out, and then add in what I’m getting for unemployment, we’re doing just as well, if not better than (!), as before. Seeing those positive numbers in a spreadsheet, seeing that really, truly, we’re not going to drown, not anytime soon, really puts things in perspective. Obviously, this situation isn’t the ideal, nor is it our long-term plan, but for now, it’s OK.
I’m looking for work, as I’m required to do, and I will consider anything that comes my way — anything that makes sense given my impending due date and desire to be “off” after the baby arrives — but I’m really trying to see the forest for the trees, and other overwrought, cliche expressions. Now is the time to take a step back, evaluate my surroundings, decide who I am and who I want to be, and just go from here.
One week — one silver lining — at a time, anyway.