Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Reflections of a Once Upon a Time March of Dimes Fundraiser

DISCLAIMER:  All opinions are my own!

Here it is, the arrival of the midnight hour, the most magical time of my day.  The house is quiet and I can be still.  Sometimes I believe I should be pouring my words into my novel instead of a blog post. I craft these blog posts with tender loving care. Tonight I have a thousand thoughts I want to share. My life has been taking so many turns at lightening speed that I can barely hold on.  I always welcome change and see change as an opportunity to create something that wasn't there before.

I will get all of my stories here, in one place, eventually.  This is the place where I discover my inner voice.  One post at a time the words will tumble onto the computer screen.
Tonight I must take a deep breathe.  I officially walked away from something that I have treasured for too many years.  It was time to let go.  And I thank God for leading me down a path of reflection and introspection.  It is not always easy to make the right decision.  But the more time passed and the more I soul searched, I realized that the right choice was the choice I had made in the beginning.
                                            The beginning of a long emotional journey.
Two weeks ago, I was told my part time position had been eliminated at the March of Dimes.  I had inquired three weeks prior if my position was "safe" because I knew donations were down across the Nation.  I was told that a fundraising position was never cut first and that I would be the last to go.  I should have listened to my gut feeling because I was the first one to go.  It was hard not to take it personally. I had done an AMAZING job by motivating my family teams to fundraise and had exceeded our fundraising goal two years in a row.  Also, this Spring, I had raised the most money ever, raising close to $4,000 with my own March for Babies family team, The Fabulous Five Fitzgerald Family Team.

Since 2001, after the loss of my son, Joshua, who was born still born at 27 weeks, I have been the sole fundraiser for my March for Babies family team, always securing recognition as a Top Walker, raising $1,000 or more. This year I secured the Number 6 spot for Top Ten Individual Fundraiser's for the Fairfax County walksite.  And I had accomplished all of this while working part-time.  It had been a looong March for Babies season and I was exhausted.  I was looking forward to working my agreed upon, very minimal, summer hours.
But the first week that my summer hours began, I was told my part-time position had been eliminated.  I was offered the full time position that had been created.  A position that offered no flex time, required me to be in the office 5 days a week, 9-5pm, along with an hour commute each way. And I would have to work a considerable amount of "extra" hours that I wouldn't be paid for since I would be an exempt employee. This included late night evenings, early sunrise mornings, and kiss your weekend good-bye hours.
  •  Maybe if I was in a different place in my life? 
  • Maybe if I was not a wife to a breadwinner husband who travels upon a moment's notice? 
  • Maybe if I didn't have to manage a time consuming, family activity filled schedule? 
  •  Maybe if volunteering at my kid's school had become dull and boring?
  • Maybe if it didn't bother me so much that there would be no guarantee that I could attend their special school performances? 
  • And maybe if I did not have outside interests that I wanted to pursue (like running the distance)? 
            Take all of this away, and maybe I could have accepted the position on the spot???

I did not accept my part-time position to get rich and this full-time position was in the same category. As my husband says "I am the soul" of our relationship.
I needed to do some soul searching in the next two days.  And then if I accepted the position, I was to start in a week.  Yes, you read that correct. I had TWO DAYS to make a major life decision and a little over ONE WEEK to find childcare for THREE kids in this rat race we call Northern Virginia.
I cannot begin to explain the emotions that flooded my very being.  I was a zombie for the first 24 hours after being delivered the news.  And then I went on a run and got caught in a hail storm and that changed Everything.  That awe inspiring, "I am strong and can do anything" run was my game changer and I wasn't going to walk away that easily.
I kept being told how this was "a business decision" and it was " the best thing for the March of Dimes to re-create my position and make it full time."  I find the irony of this decision is that it was made after I secured a successful March for Babies campaign for 2013 and the news was delivered the first week of my summer hours.
I am a darn good negiotator and decided to use my skills.  What I did, an attorney could have done.  It was a long, exhausting week that expended all my energy.  My husband didn't get it. He kept reminding me how I didn't want the job with such inflexibility and how I'd have to say goodbye to my freedom and my family if I accepted the position.  In retrospect, I think I was trying to gain control over the situation.  I wanted to believe I actually did have two sustainable choices in the matter.  I was fortunate that he let me walk away without guilt.  He also knew what was the best decision for our family.
So today I cut the ambilicord to the March of Dimes.  I have thoroughly enjoyed working with so many families who have provided me inspiration to be the best that I could be, in my position as a Community Director.  I walk away knowing that I have made a difference in this world through my fundraising accomplishments and motivating other families to fundraise for March for Babies.  I have been their fearless leader for the last year and a half.  I have cultivated numerous relationships in the community.  I am thankful to have the conversations with other Mom's who have lost a baby and found myself being their vehicle of HOPE.  I never meant to be a source of inspiration.  I think that just came naturally because I believed in the GOODNESS of the world and that I was truly helping to save the babies.  But now it is time to say Goodbye.  This journey has ended.

Today begins a New Chapter. A New Beginning. A New Story to write. If something in your life is not working, always be reminded that you have the power to make the decisions to change it. It takes courage and strength to close a door but always remember, there will be beautiful beginnings ahead. I have already witnessed this firsthand in my life since making this major decision. Know that you will be stronger than ever before and will face life with conviction. You are worthy. And everyone deserves a life full of happiness.

This blog is part of a 15-day blog challenge! Here are the blogs participating in the challenge:
1.Role Mother2.Mrscpkc - Personal Memoir and Lifestyle Blog
3.Twingles Mom4.Tiny Steps Mommy
5.Ukalithian Mama6.Viva La Mommy
7.My So-Called Supermom Life8.Julie Unplugged: Mommy, Writer & OP

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