Things that count

Building Sandcastles at the Beach

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count;

Everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.

Albert Einstein


You may have noticed lately my posts have been about decision making challenges and notably my inability to make a decision.  Click here for the gory details.

Wait!  Don’t close your screen, rolling your eyes and sighing, ‘Lady, enough already!  Either crap or get off the pot.’

You’re right.

This post was going to be a list of pros and cons related to quitting my job and relocating to another district.  Big city girl goes to small town life.  This is something I’ve dreamed of doing for 10 years now.

You’re right.  I should have done it 10 years ago.

But the time was never right, the right job was never posted and I like a sure thing.  Leave a high-paying full time job in this market?  Which is why I stayed in an area that is familiar, but not right, for 10 years.  I was stuck because I cannot predict the future – I do not know with certainty the financial and social outcomes of such a change.

But honestly, it’s gotta be better than where I am now.  What do I have to lose?

Three kids, one hubby, some significant special needs and a future involving serious medical interventions.

But, what do I have to lose?

I don’t want this post to be a list of pros and cons, because it makes a lot more sense to stay here.  My city has it all.  Healthcare, Art, Culture, Intellectual Life, Well-paying Job with Benefits and Job Security – you name it, we have it.  But I really don’t want it anymore.

This town has what I need – basic health care service (a decent hospital about 30 minutes away, a not-so decent one right in town), grocery stores, Ontario Early Years Centre, YMCA, a couple bookstores, restaurants and bars.  Oh yeah, my family are there too.

Job security, full time work, and decent earnings – I have it, and honestly don’t want it.  Or, rather, I need to take more time off with my kids.  In a small town I can afford to work part time and we’d still have food on the table and a roof over our heads.

Both Hubby and I would be starting new jobs.  Zero seniority.  Complete unknown.  And we’re ok with that.

Less than a week ago I stopped working at a full time, one month, contract.  It was at a major university, so I loved the work and felt so proud just driving my car with the ‘university staff’ parking permit.  The folks I worked with loved me, and I really enjoyed being with them.  I will keep in contact with some of them.  On my last day they bought me lunch, gave me flowers and a lovely card.

It was great, but…

During that month the baby would cry whenever he saw me, reaching out his arms or crawling after me, crying for me to pick him up.  During that month I barely spoke to Little Miss Adorable, I was so busy.  She has a subtle personality, and she blossomed in the time I was home with just her and the baby.  Now I barely see her before she’s whisked off to bed.  I wave at her when I come home, and that’s pretty well it.

How did Mr. Sensitive deal with me working?  I referred our family to a SECOND behaviour therapist.

This is not the life I wanted for my kids.  I am fortunate that Hubby was home with them.  I wish it was me.  Or at least we could enjoy a summer holiday together as a family.  For the second summer in a row the camping trip we planned has fallen through because we’re too busy.  How messed up is that?

In that month I’m juggled work, three kids, a household, and dropped balls everywhere.  We basically lived on take-out pizza for that month.  I’m not kidding, we must have had pizza at least three days a week.  Then we’d have take-out chicken dinner on the weekend.

The shame?

I love to cook.  Really, I do. I bake, I read cookbooks, I buy parchment paper in bulk.  I even blog about it at veggiemama.

I’m not even going to calculate the cost of working vs. net earnings.  I think out take-out food blitz killed our food budget.  I know I can get by with less, and less is truly more, as long as you have the time.

Over the weekend we went to visit my family in their small town.  My parents have a house in the ‘country’ but 5 minutes from ‘town.’  Their property is filled with maple trees and covered in rocks.  My mom somehow gardens between the trees and rocks.  Lilies bloom in patches of sunlight.  My dad feeds an army of hummingbirds and knows them all by name.  My sister lives there too – I’m usually on the phone with her while she’s running errands or on a break from work.  Life there is a sharp contrast to life in an apartment in a large sprawling city.  Slower, more meaningful, and somehow richer.

On the way up there Mr. Sensitive fell asleep in the car, then jerked awake.  He smiled, “I had a dream.  I dreamed that I was singing and clapping and dancing and you and Daddy were watching me.”

This is what he needs.  A slower, richer life.  Not stressed-out, super-busy parents struggling to put meals on the table and arguing with each other over who’s supposed to walk the dogs.

Aside: at a recent behaviour therapist session Mr. Sensitive was playing with a dollhouse, putting furniture into the rooms.  He put a TV on the bed and TV on the kitchen table.  The behaviour therapist asked if he liked to watch TV.  Horrified, I realized what they represented.  I explained, “Those are laptops, we don’t own a TV.”

What’s his dream?  To have his parents actually be in the moment with him.  To love him and celebrate his strengths.

At my parent’s place Mr. Sensitive loved walking out the front door, declaring, “Ah, fresh air!  A kid can really breathe out here.”  He looked at the clouds, insects, hummingbirds, rocks and plants.  Mr. Sensitive played in the dirt and splashed in a wading pool.  We went to the beach (funny, you can actually swim in the water there, unlike where I currently am).  We spent the afternoon building sandcastles.

For the first time in a long time were all in the moment.  Sand, waves, stones.  We enjoyed each other’s company.  No traffic, no racing to appointments or work, no too-busy parents.  Mr. Sensitive was a whole new kid.  He was happy.

During that month of working full time my friend’s father died suddenly.  I’d been friends with this woman for over 25 years and been close to her family for that long.  Her family all lived minutes from each other, her kids spent afternoons at her parent’s home.  When I was working I missed her stressed out texts and emails.  I missed hearing about her father in the hospital.  I missed the funeral.

I missed life, the end of a life and the celebration of life – because I was working.

In a recent conversation I told my friend about my struggles to leave my high paying job in the city for the unknown.  I explained how the things like a stable, well-paying job don’t count for much in the city because of the high cost of living.  I tried to list the pros and cons – she cut me off.

“Do it – your family are there.  Your parents and your sister.  Your kids need their grandparents and their aunt.  You’ll be all happy there.”

Looks like my friend and Albert Einstein are both right.  Why didn’t I see it before?



Some things need repeating:

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count;

Everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.

Albert Einstein

Dear Readers: I always appreciate your words of advice and support. xo Angela



About Angela

Super-powered, Special Ed teacher and special needs mama to FOUR (!) children with an assortment of special needs; including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Prader Willi Syndrome. Our family features a heavy dose of good ol' ADHD). I blog about our halfpastnormal life.
This entry was posted in About Me, Big City to Small Town, disABILTY, Halfpastnormal is who we are and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Things that count

  1. I know what you mean about being so caught up with work and life that you sometimes neglect the really important stuff. It sounds like you’ve made the decision to go for it so good luck. Ps that picture is gorgeous 😃

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