Executive Vice President, Home Operations

Archive for the month “March, 2015”

The Best Job You Will Ever Have

If I’ve heard her say it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times.  My mother and mentor is quick to tell me that “Being a mom is the best job you’ll ever have.”  Every once in a while, usually after I am griping to her about an extremely frustrating day with the Associates, she will modify it to say “Being a parent is the HARDEST job you will ever have.”  I hear the words but sometimes it is hard to really believe that endless laundry, dishes and diapers is the best job in the world.

I mean, I had a really REALLY cool job before.  I actually had a really cool career.  From 2002 to 2010 I worked in Republican Politics in Washington DC and for candidates across the country.  The work was hard, the hours long, but the perks were very cool.  I met Don King the night Republicans gained seats in the 2002 midterm elections (which almost never happens when the same party is in control of the White House) because you know he likes to hang out with winners 😉   I got to have after work drinks on the Speakers Balcony of the US Capitol Building overlooking the entire National Mall;  I attended White House Christmas parties, watched the fireworks on the fourth of July from the White House lawn, and even stood on the White House lawn to pay respects to President Reagan’s casket as it was paraded through Washington.  I had the honor of working for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mayor Rudy Giuliani, dedicating a year of my life to each of them (and yet I just had too google to spell check both their names – ugh MOMMY BRAIN!).  Most recently, I served as campaign manager and district director for Congressman Bill Posey, one of the most down to earth, honest statesmen the state of Florida has known, and in doing so was able to intimately learn about the community I lived in. I worked with all the community leaders, elected officials and CEO’s; I toured the big industries – from citrus groves to aerospace companies; and perhaps the coolest part of my job was being able to attend numerous Space Shuttle launches from the closest viewing area possible at the Kennedy Space Center.

Seeing a space shuttle launch has got to be one of the most amazing experiences in the world, no matter where you view it from.  But it was nothing short of emotional at these special VIP launch viewing receptions because the families of the astronauts where there, many former astronauts, scientists and engineers who worked on whatever program was being launched, and so much tradition and history that you couldn’t help but be in awe of the amazing accomplishment of sending humans into space and returning them safely.

Me with KSC Director and Astronaut Bob Cabana and my boss, Congressman Posey, and the stunning Atlantis Space Shuttle behind us.

Me with KSC Director and Astronaut Bob Cabana and my boss, Congressman Posey, and the stunning Atlantis Space Shuttle behind us.

KSC Director Bob Cabana telling the Congressman and I about the heat shield tiles and re-entry as we stand directly below one of the shuttle orbiters (Discovery or Endeavor?)

KSC Director Bob Cabana telling the Congressman and I about the heat shield tiles and re-entry as we stand directly below one of the shuttle orbiters (Discovery or Endeavor?)

Photo taken by the CEO of a Shuttle Launch from the VIP viewing area we were guests at.

Photo taken by the CEO of a Shuttle Launch from the VIP viewing area we were guests at.

Failure is not an option!

Me with Gene Kranz, fellow CCHS grad and lead flight director during NASA’s Apollo 13 manned Moon landing mission. (aka my personal hero)

These doubts were ringing loud in my mind one morning as I rummaged through my coolest memorabilia from the shuttle launches I attended.  Associate P’s class was learning about space that week, and I was to be a guest speaker and then read our favorite space book, Mousetronaut, by Astronaut Mark Kelly.  I couldn’t help but think, had I made the right choice when I left a job I loved and was passionate about, and had worked so hard to succeed at?

We were of course off to a hectic start that morning, and perhaps she could sense my mood, but my mom said her same old line to me again “Being a parent the best job you’ll ever have dear.”

The phrase floated in my head as we rode bikes to their preschool and I wondered what big important thing might I be doing right now if I were still working.  Would it be better than trying to inspire a few toddlers to dream about becoming a rocket scientist?

After a giving my thrilling presentation to his class, his teachers thanked me for sharing my career with the kids and I almost corrected them… “It’s my former career.  I don’t work for the government anymore.”  Instead I just mulled on that phrase the whole way home.

Needless to say at that point I was having a full on personal crisis. I love my boys and I love teaching them the ways of the world, but I missed feeling a part of something so big… and it doesn’t get much bigger than working for the Federal Government. ha!  Would I ever get that feeling of doing something big again if I am just a mommy.

The CEO and I decided their learning about space was a perfect opportunity to take the Associates to Kennedy Space Center visitor complex for the first time so they could see the now retired Shuttle Atlantis up close.  So that Sunday we loaded them up, plus my parents, and headed to KSC.  The boys loved it.  What an awesome, fun educational adventure!  I could see their imaginations take flight.  Associate P loved seeing the mission control room and announced he wanted to work at a computer like that one day, and my heart swelled with pride.  How proud would I be if he really did grow up to do something amazing like that!!!

Then it happened.  The circular moment that brought it all together.  The KSC bus tour took us to another of the special viewing areas, and my parents and I reminisced about the time, thanks to my job and position, that I was able to get them here, to this location to watch a shuttle launch.  BAM.  I could still see in their face how proud they were of me.

My parents had done something big.  They raised an Architect and got to walk up the gorgeous ramp of the Seattle Space Needle that he helped design.  They have been in homes their other son built with his own two hands.  They have supported two daughters who care for others daily, and have even saved lives, in their respective nursing and Optometric careers.  And they have gotten to enjoy the perks of my political career, from tours of the Capitol to shuttle launches.

Being a parent is the best job in the whole world, because you get to help mold and shape the next generation and see what amazing things they might do.  Behind every brave astronaut that prepares to launch, I bet there is a mother who is already over the moon with pride.

So since this epiphany it has been a little easier for me to see the long game.  To appreciate the little moments to teach, encourage, love and support my little Associates as opportunities to mold them into men who might one day do big things.  Then I know I’ll be over the moon with pride.


PS: Being a parent, especially a SAHM is still crazy hard, exhausting work.  So I might amend my mother’s phrase to instead be “Being a GRANDPARENT is the best job you’ll ever have” because they also get to enjoy helping raise amazing little Associates, but they can hand cranky Associates back to the parents and sleep all night long uninterrupted 🙂

My parents with Associate P at KSC.  They were pretty proud of our little Astronaut.

My parents with Associate P at KSC. They were pretty proud of our little Astronaut.

Riding the Emotional Rollercoaster

So we all know toddlers are crazy, right?  I mean you don’t have to be a parent to know this.   Anyone who has ever met a toddler has probably experienced their split-personality tendency when they go from screaming fury to pleasant contentment after their parent gives in on whatever it was the psycho-toddler was demanding.

Ok, maybe they aren’t crazy.  They are just learning how to control their emotions and figure out how their behavior can control their environment.  Everything is over dramatized, and because their energy is finite, they vacillate between euphoria and hysterical depression before collapsing from exhaustion.  I know they can’t help it, and I’m supposed to be the one to help them figure out how to manage these emotions, but it is so hard to be the even keel some times.

Supervising this learning process often feels like an emotional roller coaster that leaves my head spinning, torn between vowing never to ride again and wanting to immediately get back on.

I found some notes from December, when they had been sick, and one day the ride was so wild I had made an effort to write it down, positive I was so exhausted I wouldn’t remember.  Re-reading and reliving I see the funny, although it was far from it at the time.

Thursday 12:30am:  Exhaustion.  We normally go to bed 10:30/11pm, but the CEO and I had a hot date the night before and walked in the door at 12:30 am.  I could barely keep my eyes open.  As I fell asleep the room began to spin and I began to regret asking for a 4th glass of wine.  I’m going to pay for this tomorrow.

5:00 am:  Associate A’s meds have run out and he wakes in a fever spiking up at 102.  He is tired, but too miserable to sleep.  I spend the next hour trying to get him comfortable, but nothing seems to work.  He wants me to hold him, but at the same time pushes me away.  He’s shaking with chills but refuses a blanket.  He’s hacking but won’t drink anything.  He wants his lovie, but also doesn’t want it because it is wet from his own tears.

Sometime after 6am we both fall asleep on the couch.  This hour ends in bliss, as my little man is not usually cuddly, so I cherish the chance to hold him while he sleeps.

6:45 am: Associate P wakes up and his meds have also run out.  His fever broke yesterday, but his cough is worse than ever.  He is coughing to the point of gagging and throwing up.  He and I hang out the playroom, and try to let Associate A and the CEO get a little bit more sleep.  I am grateful because he is such a sweet kid.  After one vomit, wash up and new clean shirt on, he instantly coughs and gags up more, but looks and me and apologizes.  “I’m so sorry mommy.”  My poor, sweet kiddo.

7:05 am  Here comes the Cra Cra.  Associate P rolls around the kitchen ground, crying and refusing to drink the “special sick tea” that for the last two days he has been chugging down like a champ.  He is still coughing violently, but now, for some reason, won’t drink the warm water with honey and lemon that I know will soothe his poor throat.  This random refusal drives me insane, as his picky eating habits are growing out of control.  It also wakes up the CEO who stumbles in just in time to play interference before I really snapped on the poor kid.

7:50 am  Potty Bliss.  Associate A wakes up in a good mood (thank goodness) and even tells me he has to go poopies, BEFORE he does it, and successfully drops his first poopie in the potty!!! This is a huge deal as I just recently began encouraging him, and yesterday morning during some naked-time he pooped in the playroom then came and told me, and the night before that he told me as he dropped a big package in the tub.  Speaking up before is a BIG DEAL.

8:45 am Insanity.  Both kids are now adequately medicated and running around like the caged animals they are.  They’ve been cooped up for three days, and they are bored and restless.  They’ve also discovered the jingle bells I put out on the front door when we decorated the house this past weekend.  My head is pounding as I feel the pain of last night’s over-indulgence, and I do not appreciate them screaming Jingle Bells.

There is a rocket waiting to launch just 30 miles north of us at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, so I get them changed and head out the door to the beach in hopes of seeing it take off.  Words cannot describe how much I love living next to the beach – the giant free sandbox from God that keeps little boys happy and occupied for hours.

9:30 am  My associates don’t like my plan of “you two play in the sand while your hungover mommy lays on the blanket and naps” and insist I march up and down the beach finding shells with them.  I have a rough job, I know. You should feel bad for me.

The launch is scrubbed, which leads to the most annoying thing in the world… a three year old asking the same question over and over and over and over and over and over.  I try to explain why, after almost an hour and a half of talking about it and building up excitement, now we will not be seeing a rocket launch.  Associate P does not accept my answer (to windy) and would like me to put him in contact with mission control to get answer’s straight from the commanders mouth.

A 75 degree sunny day in December is reason enough to stay at the beach and we do have a great time.  In fact I’m so content after what had been a very long morning already, I lose track of time, and it is only when I see their noses start leaking uncontrollably again that I realize my launch window has closed.  I better get these kiddos home before they explode on the beach.

That is where the diary ends… and I honestly don’t remember the rest of the day, so I am glad I had typed that bit up.  It is also clear, in retrospect, that perhaps they aren’t really the crazy ones.  I think I am a little crazy for complaining at all.  If that was one of our worst days, life is pretty darn good.  Maybe I am ready to go for another ride…. hmm…




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