Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Am I there yet?

I guess its been about six years since I thought I'd begun my career path and found the bottom rung on the corporate ladder. I was hired to be a Market Manager for GMR Marketing and I was so excited to be working for a company as large and well known as GMR.

So I was hired and three days later I was on an airplane flying into Milwaukee, WI for a week of training. When I arrived at the Hilton and picked up my room key, I headed upstairs to find my own room. That's right a room with a king sized bed, decent view and large television and I didn't have to share it with anyone. Then I opened the backpack that was given to me when I checked in by the GMR group. Inside was a Swiss Army watch, a Swiss Army travel alarm clock, Vuarnet sunglasses, a mini Maglite, a CD player and some candy bars. And the first thought in my head was I've arrived.

After working as a Market Manager for a year, my market was closed. So my boss recommended I apply for his RM position since he was leaving at the end of the year. I did and several steps later I was driving my Honda to WI loaded down with as much of my stuff that would fit inside. Now I had roughly seven markets I was responsible for and I was traveling a LOT, on average probably about fifteen days a month.

While in Dallas on business I was staying at the Westin right next to the Galleria. I was headed out for a bite to eat and stopped to get a recommendation from the concierge on a good steak house. And off I went to eat one of the best steaks I've ever had in a restaurant where every car in the parking lot was either an Italian sports car or a German automobile. I ate at the bar and was surrounded by some of the wealthiest and well known individuals in Dallas, apparently this was the place to be on a Friday evening. While enjoying a salad, a filet and then some dessert I thought once again, "I've arrived."

In my second year as a Regional Manager, I was traveling so much that the fancy restaurants, nice hotel rooms with the free upgrades and flying first class was so routine that it was getting harder to impress me. But after spending a week in Seattle where I had a lot of spare time for sightseeing and eating some of the freshest seafood I've ever had it was back to the airport to return to Milwaukee. I boarded the plane, took my window seat in first class and pulled out my book.

After we were in the air, the television in front of me flipped on and I had a choice of five movies to watch, all of them complimentary. So I chose a movie and sat back and relaxed while enjoying a cocktail. And as we left Seattle I looked out the window and enjoyed a breathtaking view of the sunset over the mountains. It was truly beautiful and I thought, "I've arrived."

When my little girl was born in October of last year I thought I'd feel emotions so incredible that no words could express them. But after going through labor and being weak, tired and in pain I just felt relieved. I was relieved that McKenzie was finally here, no more waddling around the house, no more maternity clothes and no more heartburn. Where was my joy, where was the feeling "I've arrived?"

A few weeks after McKenzie's birth I was diagnosed with Post partum depression. And for the next three months life was a blur. I functioned on auto-pilot and accomplished the minimum on a daily basis. I was afraid to sleep, afraid to change her diapers, afraid to leave the house with the baby and sometimes I was afraid to live. And I was angry, wasn't I supposed to be happy? I know now that the emotions I experienced are totally normal and a part of PPD. But I still feel guilty that I missed most of my daughter's first three months of life.

Now here we are and while I'm still battling PPD, we're in a routine. MC and I are here during the day and I change her diapers, know when she's tired and when she's hungry. She began trying to walk around 9 months and now she walks, runs and toddles all over the place. When she walks over to me and wants to be held my heart swells, when she gives me an unsolicited kiss I get chills and when she falls asleep in my arms I'll sit still as long as possible ignoring the numbness, a full bladder or the phone that's out of reach.

This weekend we were headed out to run some errands and after gettign MC ready I put her down on the floor. I picked up her diaper bag, grabbed the keys and offered my hand which she took in hers and my heart melted and I thought...."I've arrived."