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I didn’t go to school to be a manager. I went to school to be a designer. I originally wanted to be an architect, but through a short and annoying process ended up starting my freshman year as an industrial design major. By the end of that year, I’d had it with that particular program.
Still, I was a designer at heart. Unfortunately, at such a technically-heavy university, there were limited avenues for liberal-arts-designer-types. And I’d fallen in love. With the school, with a group of friends, with the Chorale, and with a certain young man who was a part of all three. So I stuck around.
At Georgia Tech, what I did has a name. A derogative name that we recipients have grabbed onto and joked about and adopted as our own to lessen the sting a bit.
I rode the M-Train.
Sure, being a Management* major exempted me from the calculus-based courses (thank goodness), the many science classes (awesome), and the killer programming (double thank goodness). That’s a good thing, because my brain isn’t wired the way that good scientists’ and developers’ brains are. But “easier” doesn’t mean “easy,” especially at a school like Tech, and college certainly wasn’t a cakewalk. I earned my management degree.
Still, I didn’t go to school to be a manager. I went through the motions, convincing myself that I’d get along just fine in business. Upon graduation, I had no idea what I wanted to do. The designer in me was completely unfulfilled…enough to be pretty well squelched. The artistic outlet that Chorale had provided was suddenly gone. But I was happy. The aforementioned young man and I were planning our wedding, and we had the rest of our lives together. I had the rest of my life to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
While I was figuring that out (or more accurately, while I was still figuring out that I hadn’t yet figured it out), part of our planning took root. We were expecting a child. We made plans. My mom offered daycare for the baby, and I would continue my administrative-assistant-financial-analyst job for the wonderful people I worked with.
Nicolas had other plans. Having a baby three months early does tend to throw a wrench into whatever intentions might have existed. We couldn’t afford for me to stay home back then, but Nicolas needed me. We scrambled, we borrowed, we struggled, we made huge mistakes. Finally, we pulled ahead.
I didn’t go to school to be a manager, but I am a manager. I manage our lives. I’m continually amazed at how experiences in college – in class, in extracurricular activities, in my social life – prepared me for where I am in life.
I took statistics and have a healthy understanding of standard deviation. I am an advocate for my special needs child and can interpret the data given me, with a bit of help.
I took human resources. I understand the nuances of open enrollment and various benefits when Jason brings home the paperwork and am well-equipped to make the best decisions for our family.
I sang in the Chorale for four years. I can help my son sing the notes he’s attempting to replicate as a new trumpet player.
I took economics. I didn’t understand it a bit, but at least I understand the words the economists use while talking about the current state of the economy and can nod intelligently.
I made friends. Really, really good friends. Friends who helped me become the person I am. Friends I love a lot.
I took finance and accounting. I make a killer budget spreadsheet.
I took class after class after class requiring written reports. Before those classes, I thought I couldn’t write. I thought I was “BS’ing” my way through the papers. I was told otherwise by my grades and the praise of my professors. My confidence in my writing was nonexistent before college. Now, I write. I know I write well, and I enjoy writing well.
So, no, I didn’t go to school to be a manager, but I don’t regret the path one bit. There’s still time to decide what I want to be when I grow up.
*A management degree is basically a business degree obtained from a technical school. (I’ve read other descriptions about their differences, but I truly believe it boils down to that.) In the business world, this difference has distinct advantages, including an exposure to technology that can be applied well in business and a lot of exposure to engineers, developers, and scientists. The latter exposure, I believe, contributes to more successful management, especially in a technical setting. A manager whose friends are “techie” will better know how to communicate and work with folks in those positions.
I was wearing my go-to maternity top: a blue, patterned shirt with gathered elastic below the bust and the requisite string tied around the back. Pregnant with my second child. Jason, Nicolas and I were checking out, and the cashier asked me when I was due.
Believe it or not, my eyes filled. When you’re plus-sized and well-endowed, you “show” later than other women. For a long time, you just look fatter. Clothing hangs from your chest, rather than your stomach, for months. (Two-year-old Nicolas once told a woman at Michaels, “My mommy has a baby in her CHEST!” while pointing at my newly-enhanced cleavage. Awkward!)
Thus, when you’re plus-sized and well-endowed and have your first baby at 28 weeks, chances are you can go your whole pregnancy with no one outside your friends and family asking your due date, asking to rub your tummy, or annoyingly rubbing it without asking.
So the poor Disney Store Girl asked and got more than she asked for. A teary “August 3,” and I think, perhaps, a quick attempt at explaining my emotion. I don’t remember.
I do remember savoring the feeling, the knowledge that I was pregnant enough that other people could tell. It was one of many things I missed by not having a “complete” pregnancy the first time around.
While I always felt lucky and blessed that things turned out as well as they did with Nicolas’s birth, I also felt gypped. Gypped of the happy, if painful, birthing experience. Gypped of the glowing and planning and expectation that comes in the third trimester. And, yes, even gypped of the annoying touches from intrusive strangers. All the normal pregnancy things that every single one of my pregnant friends experienced.
Kalen was my second – and last – chance, and I went in knowing it was unlikely to be a typical pregnancy. Of course, it wasn’t. I was on partial bed rest by 30 weeks, and full bed rest shortly thereafter. But, while I never did have to put up with a stranger reaching out for my belly, I did at least get pregnant enough that people – strangers – knew it.
And I basked in it, because by then I knew what a gift the knowing was.
(Catching up on my Words & Pictures. ‘Little Things’ was Pip’s writing and photo prompt two weeks ago. The timing was perfect and imperfect. Perfect, for it was the week of Nicky’s birthday. Imperfect, because it was the week of our move. Now, I feel ready to give the subject its due.)
Nine years ago, little things ruled my world. The central little thing was under two pounds, living down the road in the hospital, breathing with the aid of a CPAP, keeping warm with the aid of an incubator, eating with the aid of a tube through his tiny navel, surrounded by other little things.
Little things, like micro-preemie diapers, the size of my palm, which were still too large for him. They covered him midway up his chest unless we folded them down.
Little things, like disposable cameras we left by his isolette, always ready to catch a Kodak moment.
Little things, like the hour each day we got to hold him…once he was ten days old and stable enough for holding.
Little things, like the cc’s we would use to measure his food intake for many more months.
Little things, like the bear Juli bought me when I told her I was pregnant – the bear that now fits in the palm of his hand.
Little things, like the cradle my grandfather made for me twenty-five years before, taking its place in a nursery we would put together in between visits to the hospital.
So many little things dominating our new little family.
And now, the little things are not so physical. They are the little things a mother notices about her son, when she can go weeks (and sometimes months) without remembering how little the other things used to be.
Little things, like his compassion, his willingness to eat salad, his love of Star Wars, his friendship with his little brother, his trust that everyone tells the truth, his acceptance of the things that make him different and his ability to work around them.
Happy 9th Birthday, my big little man.
My issue of Interweave Crochet came today, and there was a familiar face on page 8!
Last summer, I was asked to write the Atlanta edition of IC’s Crochet Around Town feature. I can’t tell you how excited I was to combine two of my loves: crochet and writing. Not only did I get to share some of the great yarn shops in Atlanta, I was able to show off some of my other favorite things in the city. (The Shakespeare Tavern probably tops my list there. What a great evening that place provides!)
I have been sitting on pins and needles since the IC preview was put up last week, waiting for my copy. Now I guess I’ll have to go to the bookstore and buy a copy to keep pristine in my writing files, because there are a few patterns in the issue that I simply must make.
Thanks to Jason for the photo, and to j. – my favorite editor – for the ripping and rearranging of my draft and the inspiration for the opening hook. (Ha! Pun not intended but not deleted, because I do love a good pun.)
I love writing prompts. (Thanks to Pip!)
I lie in bed, encased in sheets and down,
while raindrops hit the roof and window pane,
and warmth that only early morning brings
when snuggled under well-loved comfy quilt
The radio, it clicks most softly on
to add to rainfall’s soothing, rhythmic song
The sun has not yet risen from its bed
not day nor night, but somehow in between
A child I am, my world a close cocoon
the rain plays back-up for the radio
while Eddie Rabbit sings of Rainy Nights
and I resist the need to start my day
A memory is forming while I doze
Years later, I am stumped when I recall
Was this one morning’s coziness I felt
Or many rainy days rolled into one?