Tag Archives: 2012

Time to Pop the Bubble of Secrecy


I haven’t posted very much over the past six or seven months. It’s not because I’ve been busy, though I have. It’s not because I’ve run out of things to say; I have lots of them. It’s because I couldn’t talk about the thing I must wanted to talk about. Because it wasn’t my news to tell. I’ve hinted at it a few times, and I’ve told a veritable handful for people.

Today I’m going to do more than hint.

Here’s the rest of why 2012 was the best year ever. Except for 2013.

It started in mid-October (cue the sequence where the months fall off the calendar) …

“Dad, I need to tell you something.” Those words came from my son, Austin, a few months ago as he followed me into the bedroom. In the past, they’d always signaled some problem or another – he’d hit a mailbox or needed money or encountered some kind of difficulty.

I sighed, closed the door to the room, and told him to go ahead. “You can tell me anything, you know that,” I said. It was true: I generally react pretty calmly.

He just sat there. “Go ahead, Austin, just say it.”

“I can’t,” he said. “I want to, but I can’t.” He looked down. He was scared to death.

So was I.

“Austin, you can tell me anything.” He just shook his head.

“Does it concern Grace?” Grace was his girlfriend of a few months. Karen and I had met her once, and we liked her a lot.

It was evident Austin did, too. He dressed better, and he just seemed happier most of the time. He’d told us she was very smart, and they were very cute together.

He nodded his head at my statement. “Uh-oh,” I thought. Somehow, I didn’t give voice to that thought.

“Is she pregnant?”

He nodded again.

That was a bolt of lightning. I’m not even quite sure why the suggestion came to me. Somehow, I just knew.

We talked a few minutes. They were surprised, but they’d discussed it. A lot. And they’d made some very adult decisions. They were going through with it. They knew it would be hard. They’d talked about every option. And he said something else: “We’re looking at it as a good thing.”

So am I.

There was still something to deal with, though. Telling Austin’s mom. “Do you want me to do it, or do you want to do it?”

I asked. He was adamant that he’d do it. But he had to leave for work. So I told him he had to tell her within the next 48 hours or I would. He agreed.

I’m not sure what happened next. I think he had second thoughts about doing it on his own and started a fiendish plan designed to make me do his dirty work for him.

Because he sent me a text message while he was going to work. (I know, I know, he shouldn’t have texted while driving, but consider his mental state at this point.) Then he called me to make sure I’d gotten it. (I hadn’t, I was still in my room upstairs collecting my thoughts under the guise of sorting the laundry.) But here’s the thing about that phone call: Karen answered and he asked for me. She wondered why. He wouldn’t say. So she got me and I told him I hadn’t gotten it but that I would look at it. (It was a long post, obviously written before he’d told me, in which he talked about his situation.)

Anyway, we hung up, and Karen was curious. Really curious. I’m not too sure that wasn’t Austin’s plan all along, to get her asking questions.

(Cue the Mom sense tingling …)

“What was that about?” she asked from downstairs.

“It was just something between Austin and I. He’ll tell you.”

“No, you need to tell me.”

“OK, come on up …”

“Did he get a ticket? How fast was he going? When did it happen?”

“No he didn’t get a ticket. Shut the door.”

“What is it then?”

I paused, grinned, and said it: “Hello, Grandma …”

Her jaw dropped. “You’ve got to be kidding me …” Only there might have been one other word in there.
I told her I wasn’t kidding. And that Austin wasn’t, either. And that we all WOULD BE kidding. As in being around a baby. Our baby. In just a few months.

Since then, we’ve learned more about the plan. They both plan to get as much education as they can – Grace hopes to be a pharmacist; Austin’s plans are a little more fluid, but they definitely include more school. We’ve met Grace’s family, and we like them very much. Grace’s mom, Karen and I have lined up squarely behind our children and our little grandson-to-be. Trust me when I say that many arrangements have been made, with two teenagers taking the point.

Again, much of this isn’t really my story to tell – only the outlines. Hence you don’t get the excruciating detail you normally would in my posts.

We’re not fooling ourselves. We know the road ahead is going to be hard. But I want you to know this: No baby ever has been more wanted. His coming out party should happen within the next month.

Just call me Pop. Proud, Overjoyed, Protective.

“Every baby born into the world is a finer one than the last.” – Charles Dickens

“Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.” – Alex Haley

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Here’s (Nearly All of) Why 2012 Was the Best Year Ever


Spoiler Alert: This one could get kinda sappy. But I have to tell you it could have gotten a lot sappier. Trust me on this.

I didn’t have such high hopes when 2012 started. Let’s look back a bit: I was working as a contract copy editor for Red Ventures at the time. The writing on my contract said the job would (or could) end in early February. I’d been told it would last through February. Considering the few bites I’d had from casting my resume out pretty widely since “my sabbatical” began in December 2009, I wasn’t very encouraged on the job front.

But pretty soon after we reported back to work – the office had shut down the week between Christmas and New Year’s, but as a contract worker that just meant I’d had a long stretch with no pay – we got the word: We were extended through at least March.

That meant I could concentrate on the cruise I’d given Karen for her birthday in September 2011 (pretty sneaky of me to give her a gift that I got part of, right). Particularly, it mean I needed to get a passport, because it would be my first trip outside the country (unless you count our trip to Baltimore a few years ago – but that’s a tale for another day).  Anyway, I detailed the passport experience (as always, in excruciating detail, here).

In between all that, I got a nasty case of vertigo. My doctor warned me it could last weeks, even months. For once, though, I got a break. I was better in a very few days. Though the idea of the vertigo recurring, especially given that I wasn’t altogether sure about my sea legs anyway (there’s a seasickness story here that I’ll save for another day, too). Anyway, I’d signed up for the cruise to happen in mid-May, with the idea that I’d move it to later in the year if necessary.

In March, we found out that the contract would be extended for three more months. But this would almost certainly be the last extension. Would there be any permanent hires, I (and many others) asked. Not likely, my boss told me. Which would have been devastating. But I wasn’t too so sure. I thought that (a) she was preparing us just in case, or (2) she didn’t really know.

Things kept changing rapidly. The other two editors and I were told later that there probably would be jobs for a handful of writers but not for editors. Then that there might be jobs for editors. Then that there wouldn’t. Then that there would.

But very little definite info came out. So Karen and I did what we do: We went on with our lives. Specifically, we went on our cruise, which would take us from Charleston to the Bahamas and back. I detailed it here, but here’s the short version: We loved it. There was no recurrence of vertigo, and we had a great time that we really still haven’t stopped talking about. So if you don’t want to hear about it, don’t ask!

One of the best things about the cruise was that it put us incommunicado for a few days. When we got back, we found out that Red Ventures had sent out invitations for writer interviews among the contract workers. (I’d indicated interest in both writing and editing jobs.) I didn’t get an invitation. No problem, I thought. They didn’t send it because they knew I was on the trip.

Turns out I was wrong. They intentionally didn’t send one. “We think you’re a better fit for the editor position,” the explanation in my email said when I asked about it. Which made me feel good – at first. I mean, there was some rejection there. And the editor position was no sure thing.

A couple of days later, the invitations to interview for the editor job came out.

My co-worker Heather and I would be interviewing for positions – we didn’t know whether there was one or two or none. But we made a pact, and we stuck with it. We wouldn’t compete. Which is to say that we wouldn’t try to advance at the expense of the other. And we’d share any tidbit we got about the process. Our dream was that we’d both get hired. We stuck to that the whole way.

We interviewed, and nothing happened for several days. It felt like months. But finally, we had appointments to speak with the head HR person (reality check: it was only a week later). Heather’s was first; mine was in the late afternoon. Heather got her offer. I was overjoyed for her, but now I was really nervous. Finally, my time came.

I had to go upstairs. Susan took me into a meeting room. I noticed she had a folder in her hand. That was a good sign. Inside it was an offer letter, which she took out within a minute or so. She went over a lot of stuff after that. I didn’t hear any of it. I had a job. Since then, I’ve had some amazing things happen at work: The CEO stopped me one day to tell me he keeps hearing great things about me. A few days later, he invited me to sit at the big boy table beside him during a company meeting.

The job offer came at the end of May. But more good stuff would happen to me, too. In July, I reconnected with some old friends in Jacksonville at Potterpalooza, a ssort-of engagement party that my former boss Elliott Potter was throwing for his son, Jake. We got to see a lot of folks we hadn’t seen in years. And did I mention that we were at the beach!

We took another short beach trip with the kids later that summer.

And I still wasn’t done with traveling. In early December, my company took its annual trip. To the Caribbean. In this case, the Dominican Republic.

There was a little work: We had an awesome meeting the first day. I talked about it a little here, particularly about some lessons I learned, though I don’t think I mentioned the topless beach outside my hotel room. Or the casino. Or the hilarious videos my colleagues put together.

But  I didn’t mention the other lesson I learned, which was how much I missed my family. Especially Karen. Because traveling just wasn’t as fun or interesting without her. We’ve grown so close it’s frightening. In a good way.

Something else fantastic happened, too. But it’s not my news to share.

But move over, 2012. Because 2013 is gonna blow your doors off.  And I’m not talking about the cruise we booked, either.

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