I just returned from a walk down memory lane though this walk was not on my usual route. The usual path starts at Failed Marriage Drive, heads north down Dating Douche Bag Street, turns left on Cancer Way, heads westward when I hit the fork in the road between Dream Chasing Avenue and Motherhood Street and usually ends at Emotional Breakdown Blvd. This path is followed several times a year where I am always drawn to the same conclusion, it's a miracle I am where I am with the crazy life I've lived!
My walk this week began while looking at my sister-in-law's new company website and searching her competition to see how she matches up. While searching, I ran across my blog page and began reading the blogs that consumed my life for a three-month stretch of time in 2012 and decided that I needed to write about our year. So, in lieu of sending a neatly typed note in our yearly Christmas card, this year I'm saving trees and taking up my edge of cypher space with our year in rewind.
2014 may go down as one of the most stressful years of our lives. I read an article recently and took one of those fun online "quizzes" that asks the fool (i.e. me) to check the box next to all of the "major life events" that have taken place in the past 12 to 24 months. At the end I was instructed to add up my score and voila, the 300+ points I racked-up made me highly susceptible to anxiety-induced illness!! Well, Merry Christmas to you too online quiz!! Now, give me a moment to go throwaway my snotty Kleenex!
February 1 was a milestone for our family, Elyse celebrated her first birthday which meant we made it through one whole year with a kid that is still a living and breathing being. I have no idea how we managed to keep her alive but we did and I thank God daily for it.
Gayland started the year with a new lease on life or at least work. In December of 2013, Dell offered a global buy-out to all employees, which Gayland jumped on like Will Rogers jumped on Soapsuds' back to ride off into the Oklahoma sunset. We loaded up our wagons and headed north until we found a spot that seemed like a good place to set down roots which, to these city-slickers, is two miles due east of downtown Denver, CO. We bought a house, set-up shop and have loved our time in the Mile High city surrounded by beautiful scenery, seasons and a whole slew of fabulous people!
When you take a buy-out from a company, you are effectively, jobless, which means…no... job, no income, and a wife that's living on pins and needles. Luckily for our daughter, she was able to spend hour-upon-hour of quality time with her Dad! This is the best gift they could have given each other. Gayland began his short stint as stay-at home-Dad and perhaps God’s biggest small blessing was all of the time Elyse and he had to bond. No amount of money can buy that kind of time back and I'm thankful!
With what seemed like constant change, the one thing we could rely on was the consistency of my job, which I've had for over four years, right? R-i-g-h-t….that is until two days after we arrived in Denver my boss called to let me know the "great news"! The sales team had restructured and the whole scope of my job had changed. I was now on a new team with a new manager focusing on our strategic partnerships, which essentially meant all new customers (with the exception of a few) and non-traditional restaurant companies (hotels, grocery stores, convenience stores, cruise lines, entertainment, etc.). My territory went from six states to fifty and everything I thought I knew about the world of restaurants changed in the matter of seconds. It's been exhilarating and scary and rewarding and fulfilling and maddening and nauseating! If you've ever had new job you get what I'm saying!
The worst thing we endured this year was what felt like the very sudden passing of Gayland's Mom, Mary, in May. Looking back, her health began to decline after her 70th birthday party, which was in August of 2009. She was in incredible pain every moment of every day for the past few years and when we finally received a diagnosis of her illness, all of the years of suffering made complete sense. Multiple Myeloma is a complete Bitch! If it were a woman I would take her out back and give her an old fashioned ass whoopin'! Cancer has no discrimination, fear or care of the lives it wrecks. I hate it!
A week prior to Mary's death, Gayland landed a "hunter" sales job which put him outside again but still in technology with a company called Zones. He actively pursues new partnerships and resale’s products such as HP and Dell hardware and software for companies like Oracle. He loves the challenge of establishing a brand virtually unknown in the Denver technology world and new work relationships!
My summer was spent traveling non-stop, experiencing people and places I never thought in my wildest dreams I get to meet and see. Though being on the road is draining, visiting the Pentagon twice in a few months time made it all worth it.
In November, our New York City experience came full circle when we took Elyse back to our adopted home to visit the nurse, doctors and sonographer as well as restaurants and friends that have left an indelible impact on our lives forever. I plan to write a separate blog post about this experience but suffice it to say, it has made my heart whole again. OH, and while in Manhattan, I was lucky enough to finally complete the NYC marathon…pretty awesome!
So, this leads me to December 9 and two days before we leave for Tennessee to visit Gayland's family for the first time without Mary. You know, Mary was Jesus' mother and for Christians, the mother of our faith. I can't imagine how she must have felt when her son gave his life on the cross. It must have been horrific to lose someone you loved with all of your heart and soul. As I think about the upcoming holidays, Mary and Mary come to my mind. To my mother-in-law, I'm forever grateful she gave me her son to love until the end of time and for the other Mary, I'm so thankful I get to celebrate the birth of her son, Jesus, who gave his life for mine. CHRISTmas always reminds me of the full circle of life.
In closing, my hope is this holiday season fills your heart with peace, tranquility and thankfulness. Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy 2015!