When Pamela announced she was seeking guest bloggers for her post-baby days, I thought “YAY! How fun!!” Then I realized I had to come up with a topic for some very loyal readers, and then I started feeling nervous and wondering, “what was I thinking?!” But Pamela came through and suggested I write about a good decision that I made but that everyone else thought was crazy. Oh did I make a decision.
I finished my bachelor’s in April of 2006, and after applying for a bunch of jobs across the country in my field (journalism), I hadn’t heard a thing and was starting to get frustrated. I contemplated going back to school, but wasn't sure what for exactly. I had grown up and attended college near my hometown and was really wanting to get out and see the world. So what did I do? I created a profile….
Yeah, I completely changed gears. I really wanted to see places other than Michigan, and childcare really wasn’t foreign to me. (I started babysitting at age 12, and did tons of volunteer work with kids throughout high school and college.) I was surprised that in less than 1 month, I had received several job offers – from New Jersey, from D.C., from Michigan (turned that one down, obviously. The point was to MOVE AWAY FROM THE SNOW), and 2 from Florida.
I almost hopped on a plane to New Jersey to meet a family I didn’t feel I clicked with over phone interviews. But I did get on a plane to Florida to meet a family I was very excited about working with. The 3 kiddos were 2.5, 6 and 7.5 when I met them. The youngest, unfortunately, has a neurodevelopmental disorder (on the autism spectrum) that prohibits her from walking, talking, and eating food by mouth. I don’t wish to expose her life here, so that’s all I say. It was incredibly humbling to meet a family who lives with this every single day. And they were a perfect match for me.
They flew me down to meet/interview with them on July 11, 2006 and I moved into their home 3 weeks later. When I told my family and friends I was leaving, of course they were happy for me, but I know they were wondering if I’d gone off the deep end. I left everything I knew behind, and moved 1,200 miles from home. I cried some, sure, but I actually expected to spend the first few weeks crying myself to sleep at night. But I didn’t. I made the decision to move and I never looked back.
I worked for that family for a year and a half. I now have a job that allows me to (partly) utilize my college degree, and I still keep in touch with the family. I live about 20 minutes from them, still babysit occasionally, and visit the kids on their birthdays. They always send me birthday/holiday cards and the kids text me to say hi on the weekends. Their family picture hangs on my fridge, and I grateful for my time spent with them. And I certainly look at life differently after my experience.
To learn more about my life, visit my blog.