Back to Work

I start a new job today. I’ve been hired by United Communities of Southeast Philadelphia to provide case management for a mentoring program for kids whose parents are incarcerated. I haven’t worked in almost exactly six months; so it’s about time. I’m excited to be taking on this new role and eager to get acclimated to it. It pays a little bit better than my last job as a social worker in the foster care system, and that will definitely be helpful, given that we’ve been without my income for six months. This will enable us to comfortably attend to our own needs, provide for Samuel, help Kirsten’s mom a bit (she now lives with us and has applied for disability; she’s unable to work and has no income at the moment), tithe, save for a house, etc., all of which is good. Also, Kirsten will cut back her hours and be home with Samuel more, though on some days, like today, we’ll leave him with her mom while we’re both at work. This is a wonderful gift Kirsten’s mom is giving us, but I also feel a little bit sad and nervous about it. I’ve had uninterrupted time with Samuel since he was born; I’ve been able to be there with him as much as possible when he was in the hospital, and since he’s been home, pretty much all the time. I love the little guy very much. Prior to Samuel being born, I had been in school again, working on my second master’s degree- an MSW. I had to quit the program, however, and I’ve consolidated that loan with all my other ones, and have no expectation as to when or if I’ll ever be able to go back. So somehow starting this job seems to have a bit more finality than any previous one. I know I need to "make it work-" I need to be committed to it for a good long while, Lord willing. I guess I’m at that place where I’m realizing that "this" (job) is what I’m going to "be" (at least vocationally), and somehow I didn’t expect to be there just quite yet.

Still, I’m 30 years old; so it may be that I need "suck it up" and "grow up." I may never get a PhD or complete my magnum opus, though I will yet try. Well, I gotta get ready to go (to work!). Wish me luck….

I managed to get a big smile out of Samuel today, with camera in hand, which I promptly emailed to Kirsten while she was at work with a message from the little guy. I’m really tired, having been up most of the night with him, but I’m not working yet; so it’s doable. I’ve been looking for a new job for a while (it’s a long story), and have a second interview coming up on Thursday that I’m pretty hopeful about. I need to be working again- now. Once I am, Kirsten will just work two days and her mom will watch Samuel on those rare days we’re both at work. He’s starting to freak out; so I’ll write more later…

Tired and Balding

It’s after 8 on Wednesday morning, and I’m exhausted. Being a father is a wonderful, hard thing, and it really is one of those things that you learn "by doing," with generous input from those who have modeled fatherhood, for good or ill, in our lives. Today, though, I’m feeling fairly spent. Samuel doesn’t sleep through the night, though he’s certainly getting better, and I am a light sleeper; so if I’m up to tend to him, I’m not always able or inclined to just go back to sleep. Kirsten and I try to split the duties as much as possible, but when she’s working the next day and I’m not, it only seems right for me to handle things alone, though I struggle with this mightily by the early morning and get pretty cranky.

My son is beautiful and amazing and I’m so glad to be his father, but it of course scares me too. Often, I’m simply afraid of hurting him. Though I know how resilient and strong he is, he still seems so fragile at times, and I fear injuring him inadvertently. Worse, given my abusive upbringing and the way that woundedness impacts me today, I likewise fear those moments when I’m sleep-deprived and my patience is at an end. Samuel is a great, wonderful boy, but he usually wants to be held- all the time (and who can blame him, given what he’s been through), and sometimes I simply can’t because I’m home alone and have to do something else, or it’s 4 in the morning and I’m so tired I fear dropping him if I hold him, etc. What’s more, he has certainly learned how to use his lungs, which again after being on the ventilator so long we’re exceedingly grateful for, but even his wonderful cries do began to wear on me. I still know so little, and love so imperfectly.

In recent pictures and in the mirror I’m noticing more and more how much my hair is thinning in front. Of course, I turn 30 on Tuesday and feel much older; so I guess it only makes sense, but I sort of feel like my scalp is indicative of me- on the decline….I know that’s "just a feeling" and I’m always so quick to say that feeling aren’t generally very accurate guides to external reality; they’re more like clues to an internal mystery- one that must be tended to. Still, I certainly feel that way- on the decline, today, and I have a number of external indicators of this, to boot, all having to do with all the change in my life that has come over the past six months.

Samuel gets kissed a lot, because Kirsten and I both love him and he’s simply adorable. In the pics below, though, Kirsten caught him not being so into it, though deep down I know he loves it. In the one on the right you can see that hair loss I’m talking about.