Home > Family, Life > That was May, This is June.

That was May, This is June.

Me and Mr. Latimer of his big day.

Me and Mr. Latimer of his big day.

May. I couldn’t wait for May. March and April had been hard and weird, but May, that’s when all the good things would happen. As April ended, all I cared about was that on May 3rd, my dad and his girlfriend were getting married. My dad’s marriage seemed like the biggest event to happen in our family since my mom’s death in 2006. Before 2006, the biggest thing to happen in our family was my brother’s death in 1998. Finally. Something good. Something new. Something hopeful.

May 3rd. I couldn’t wait for May 3rd. Although my dad and his girlfriend, Jeannie, had been together for several years ago and shared a home, I felt excited for it to be official. I know both my dad and Jeannie have struggled in their lives. Now in their 60s, they have the chance to build something meaningful with each other. I felt relief knowing that my dad could finally settle into a good life. A calm life. The life he deserves. There’s something about us humans where we don’t say how we really feel until something big happens. Usually we need something horrible to push us to that state of vulnerability. With a wedding, I could tell my dad and Jeannie my love and hope for them during something joyous. So I think I wanted May 3rd to happen so badly because it was an opportunity for me to tell my dad how much I admire him and how much I love him. I never took a moment to tell him and Jeannie how glad I am that they have each other, but May 3rd could be that day. Since I asked my dad if I could be his best man and he said yes, I gave the speech for the wedding toast and was able to say all the things we don’t say in day-to-day conversation.

In my own selfish perspective, I was pumped to officially inherit a new family. Jeannie has two sons and a daughter-in-law. Over the last few years, we’ve spent holiday, birthdays, and just days together. After losing my brother and being raised by a mom who was pretty unstable, I couldn’t get over how relaxing and natural it felt to sit together as a family. I also missed having a brother. While I will always miss my big brother, I like knowing that I now have two brothers and a sister.

 

Our new crew.

Our new crew.

My dad’s wedding was just the start of May. Two weeks later on May 15th, my cousin, Noah, graduated from his Master’s program. In 2012, my cousin moved his family from Miami back up to Philadelphia to earn a degree to push his career in a better direction. It was a big risk, but a necessary one. Noah was nervous since he had done no academic writing in over 10 years and his highest degree was an Associate’s. He was worried he wouldn’t have the skills to succeed, forgetting his valuable his years of professional experience would be. So he worked. Man, did he work. And it paid off, since he was offered an exclusive fellowship for the summer after his first year. At the beginning of his second year of school, Noah and his wife, Shawnette, had their second child. Noah struggled to be a dedicated, reliable husband and father while trying to balance the demands of a Master’s program. Noah’s family had his back though, and wanted him to achieve. When Noah graduated in May, his program selected him to be the student commencement speaker. When his program director talked about Noah during his hooding ceremony, she fought back tears of pride. It was clear. Noah didn’t just succeed, he flourished.

Me and NoNo on his big day.

Me and NoNo on his big day.

As for me, I didn’t think anything great would happen for me specifically. I was thrilled for my family, but in my own life, I felt frozen. I was fighting to decide if I should take a risk like Noah. Since my supervisor left in Mid-March, I felt compelled to evaluate my own place in the agency and what my next steps as a social worker could be. It was hard for me to accept that my growth at the agency had pretty much come to the end. While I still loved my clients, remaining in my current position would mean stagnation. I started exploring my options and in less than two weeks, I found a new job. I never thought it would happen that fast. I mentally prepared to stay at my agency for another three to six months. But life decide to rocket blast me to my next step. I submitted my resignation letter on May 27th.

Now it’s June. I’ve had an official new family for a month. It does feel different when I talk with my dad, Jeannie, and my new brothers and sister. I can’t quite describe it, but maybe it feels more comfortable, more certain than it did before. Noah can finally get some sleep and be present with his family like he wants. He has options now, real options to pursue his passion and build a life with his family. I look at myself and sometimes I get scared. I have two weeks left with my clients. I started to say goodbye last week and it’s been ripping my heart out. It hurts just as much to hear a client tell me they are mad at me for leaving as it does when someone says they are happy for me, wishing me the best. I know they are smart, resilient individuals, which is part of what makes it hard for me to let them go. It’s strange, but as I move forward to meet a new set of standards, expectations, and challenges, I want to make my clients proud. My new opportunity would not have been possible without my last two years with my clients. They taught me and pushed me to be the kind of social worker I strive to be. I feel like I owe them to do well. June. I must be patient with June, since once July arrives, so does the start of my new life.

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  1. Dennis Nappi II
    June 7, 2014 at 20:59

    I’m so happy for you, Lori. You and your family deserve all of the good things in your lives now. Enjoy it. You earned it. You all did. Love you!

    • June 8, 2014 at 18:15

      Thank you, Dennis. Sometimes it’s hard for me to accept that life doesn’t have to constantly be a painful mess. Things can settle down.

      • Dennis Nappi II
        June 9, 2014 at 08:32

        I know what you mean. I think that is a side affect of PTSD. You are constantly bracing for the next impact. It’s nice when you can experience such a wonderful moment and let your guard down because you get to see there really is a beautiful side to this crazy life we live.

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