Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What makes you stronger

OK, first, the truly good news: I won the Best Special Needs Blog Award from The Bump! Thanks to all of you for your support, thanks to the Academy, and kudos to the other nominated blogs, they're excellent (for•ev•er, Rhema's Hope and Slurping Life.) I win a $100 Pottery Barn Kids gift card, which I'll offer up as a giveaway, because without you where would I be? I am now up against the blogs in all categories for Best Overall Blog. Many seem to have bazillions of readers, so I'm guessing I won't win that but hey, I am not greedy. Want to vote, anyway? Here you go.

Now, the news that will turn out to be good, I am sure: I got laid off from work on Monday, along with a bunch of other great people. One word: recession. Today was my last day at the office. I love what I do (I'm a magazine editor), I adore the people I worked with, but I am feeling fine. Perfectly fine.

It's weird: After going through the trauma of Max's birth, I literally thought nothing could ever stress me out again. I was right, and I was wrong. I still stress about plenty of stuff, of course. I stress about Max's lack of speech, his cognition and his limited use of his hands. I stress about deadlines. I stress about our finances. I stress about my parents. I stress about [insert stress here]. Yet while I had anxiety about the prospect of a layoff, I have actually not been stressed by the reality. I can weather the big bad things, because I have weathered really big bad things: having a baby who had a stroke at birth, and having a kid diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

My pep team has been rallying:

* My mother wants to do a girls' trip to a casino (she is The World's Most Conservative Woman but once a month she takes a bus with a bunch of seniors and hits the nickle slots and the buffet, I am not sure my heart can handle that kind of excitement).
* My sister wants me to come hang with her and baby Margo.
* My friends want to take me out for drinks.
* Dave wants to break open some Dom Perignon champagne we got for our wedding. Please don't worry, I have no plans of becoming an alcoholic, although if I take The Granny Express to the casino I may have to bring a flask of something along for the ride. Actually, I just checked, we could get $159 for that bottle of champagne on ebay—wow! Good to know in case we can't swing the mortgage.

Tomorrow morning, I will be putting Max on the school bus, and then I will drive Sabrina to preschool. That's my idea of a wonderful new beginning.



  1. I'm so happy for you! No, not that you won the blog award, silly. That was a slam dunk. A no brainer. You were the obvious winner. And if I have anything to do with it - you'll win the overall best, too. Because that's what you are, overall.
    But - the reason that I'm so happy? Because now you are free to start a new chapter! You weren't meant to be confined in an office. Your writing is too big - your creativity is, too. You'll be much more successful - and likely happier - and more in demand - now that you're FREE!!!! I'm so happy for you. You really can weather anything - and Max's birth didn't MAKE that happen...Max just helped you realize what was already inside of you.
    Congratulations. xoxo

  2. Ellen, congratulations on the blog award it couldn't happen to a nicer person.

    Wow does this mean we will now see the random 10:00 am post midweek? I could get psyched about that!

    Really as talented as you are about writing and with Max's story have you thought about taking a lot of your posts and publishing Max's story? I can't tell you how many parents this would help who find themselves lost in similiar situations. Just to see the hope and know that it can be done, and to show CP is not a bleak path nor does a stroke at birth have to be the end of a dream, just the beginning of a new adventure.

    I can't wait to see how you bloom with your new role, and Good Luck!

  3. Hey Ellen, I've nominated you for another award. In my blog post at http://allaccesspasstojack.blogspot.com/2009/10/making-lemonade.html, I explain that I nominated "To the Max for being so very real!"

  4. Congratulations! That's wonderful. And so weird and symbolic about your job. I'm sorry about that but do admire your reaction/attitude. And I agree -- something good will come of it all. You're such a positive, inspiring person.

    Drink the champagne!

  5. Yeah for winning Ellen! I voted...um...lets just say a lot!

    Sorry about the job, but like I told you previously, more time for the beach house and chocolate ice cream! Welcome to being a stay at home mommy! You could always take a field trip to Boston...

  6. Congrats on winning the blog. I voted alot haha......I have to say I start my day by reading your blog and i have come to love Max and Sabrina almost as much as my own two girls. I wish you luck in doing whatever you choose to do with your free time now. My advise...drink the champagne I mean how often do you think someone can say they have drank Don Perigon? hmmm hardly ever!

  7. Wow Ellen, you sure have a positive outlook. I would be a wreck. Here's to positive thinking!

  8. Congrats on the blog award - very well deserved! I love reading about Max and Sabrina. You give me hope for "down the line" (I feel relatively new to the whole SN roller coaster thing).

    You have a great attitude about the job situation. It does open the door to many possibilities. Hope the new chapter is all that you hope it to be!

  9. Congrats on the win but bummer about your job. I hope you are able to find something soon. Enjoy your time off though!

  10. Congrats on your blog award and your great approach to the layoff. Isn't the perspective we get from our kids great???!

    Enjoy the champagne and your wonderful new beginning!

    Cheers, Louise

  11. I voted for you.

    Wow...some of those blogs are amazingly laid out, how do they DO that stuff? Makes me feel like my blog is just an eyesore. Maybe I'll re-think my design.

  12. Wow! Congrats on winning, but consolances on the loss of your job. The good news is that there are a ton of money-saving websites out there now with some great advice. And don't forget to get all the government help that you can. Unemployment and medicaid for the kids and food stamps can all make a huge difference.

  13. ......we could put our plans into motion.....

    Does that sound too cryptic? :)

  14. Well, let me say that being up against blogs with a million readers is a good thing! They might check out the competition and you could meet some new people.

    Second, I think Kate has the right idea about the job thing. A new chapter sounds just right to me. I'm definitely one of those people that thinks that something that seems yucky could, in fact, be one hell of an opportunity. I wish you good luck in whatever venture you choose to pursue.

  15. I always say that if you think optimistically about things, you are bound to win, whether it's good or bad.
    That you can see the good in your lay off is awesome! I am one of those people that can see the silver lining in anything. I think that partly comes from the birth of T - not knowing what was going on, but believing that he would be okay and will be okay, even though he hasn't spoken a word and is very cognitively delayed. It gives me great inner peace to think this way and gets me through life with a grin on my face. I know that I sound like a hippy chick - but I like that I am this way. Makes everything more enjoyable.
    Congrats on the blog award - your blog totally rocks! Everything rings so true with me!
    Enjoy you time off!

  16. I am so sorry you were laid off. Times are really crappy for so many people right now.
    You are right though after what we go through parenting a child with special needs other things sometimes seem easy. Elizabeth was diagnosed with life threatening allregies and after her Dr. told me I think she was waiting for me to cry or meltdown. I can handle her allerigies with ease compared to her CP diagnosis.
    Congrats on the blog award as well.

  17. Uh...hello...you forgot about coming up to Garfield to start your new life in the restaurant business...or at least edit/co-write my book about the insanity in the life of a restauranteur? Remember, I have wireless now...he he. And, thanks for the plug the other day. Actually, when I read the story in print, I can't BELEIVE that I really bought Jeremy to school naked. Just like the title, desperate doings for desperate times. Finally, congratulations on your blog win - you go girl- take your talent and show the world what you really have!!! Chat soon... XOXO PAOLA

  18. Congratulations on the award -I just knew you would win (an have voted yours in the overall category). I'm so sorry to hear about the job, but I think good things are about to come your way soon!

  19. Congrats on winning!
    UGH to the lay off. I know how much you loved your job. I have to say I had a little thrill the one time you told me your real name and your job and I found you in the front of a real live magazine! LOL
    I'm glad you've got things in perspective and are relishing your new role. Enjoy it!!!

  20. Thanks for the nice words and good wishes, everyone! I am feeling great. And yes, Paola, I owe you a visit at the restaurant! As long as I don't have to deal with a naked Jeremy.

  21. Congrats on the award! I'll vote for you again in the Best Overall :-)

    I, too, am a casualty of the recession. Finished work in July and am amazed that I still have no time - LOL! I love being home and am amazed that 3 months have gone by already. I've come up with a zillion things to do - as I am sure you will, too - but still trying to get some of it off the ground. I'm sure you'll hit the ground running much better than me!

  22. Ellen, you are going to be surprised at how many economies you'll be able to make now that you aren't paying for train fare, buying lunches and coffees at work, and spending money on clothes, drycleaning, whatever. I hope you file for unemployment, because you can ride that wave for quite a while and you may be surprised that you don't notice any difference in your lifestyle EXCEPT that you are more relaxed and able to interact in a more lazy, less mission-oriented way with your babies. Stand by for some fun days ahead...and how nice that they're coinciding with the holiday season, when there's NEVER enough time in the day anyway!

    It seems I am always telling you what to do (I don't mean to sound bossy, I just think you are so damn talented and...well, REAL); anyway, I think you need to write a book. I think a coping/confessional book would sell like hotcakes, I also think a children's book starring Max and Sabrina would be a winner (illustrated with your great photographs, or drawings based on them).

  23. Congrats on the blog award!

    Sorry to hear that you lost your job, but it sounds like the bad news has come at a good time.

    I was meaning to go back and post a follow up post in the exercise post you wrote earlier, to say that exercise and full-time work don't go hand in hand in my opinion. So now you can really embrace the inner Jane Fonda/Serena Williams/Cathy Freeman (Australian athlete) in you ;-).

    It's fairly obvious you are very resourceful and creative, so I am sure that you'll be busy and active and loving this new phase in your life. All the best for this time of infinite opportunity!!! How exciting!!

  24. My husband was laid off last year, and while it was a somewhat tough time (he ended up living away from us for a chunk of the year) he ended up finding a job that makes him much happier.

    I was laid off earlier this year, nearly lost my mind, lost my grip on our finances, and have yet to get us back on track, even though I have been back to work for a few months.

    Based on our experience, the laid back approach worked much better in the long run. Because I am still stressed and continue to get collections calls about bills I don't know how I will ever catch up on given our paycheck-to-paycheck existence.

    Some days are better than others. I hope you continue to choose to enjoy this time.


  25. Piera and I are rooting for you, Ellen--blog awards and otherwise! xoxo

  26. Also am I dumb? I can't figure out how to vote for your blog in this round. Help? xx Jenny

  27. Yay Ellen! Congrats on the win!

    I am sorry to hear about the job, but it sounds like you are making the most of it & are at peace with what happened. I am so impressed with you. I hope that this time is relaxing and that you are able to enjoy every minute of it!

    Thanks for the great blog & for sharing all of this with us.

  28. Hi! Congrats on the blog award! (I had no idea I was nominated until I read your post just now - feels great to be in such company). Hoping lots of great opportunities come your way!


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