Write a short story based on a moment in your life that imagines what would have happened if you had made a different choice at that moment. For example, what if you hadn't taken that job? What if you hadn't said "yes" to the marriage proposal? If you can, share a little about the moment that inspired you to write the story.
Skip to the bottom section for the "What if" or continue reading if you'd like the full, detailed story.
Nearly a year ago, I was still working for a wonderful company. Yes, it was a drug company and people tend to consider them "evil" but really they treated me so wonderfully and was also ranked consistently in the top 5 companies for working mothers. When T Rex was born I took an extended maternity leave. I was gone from my job for nearly five months. It was wonderful to have that time to focus on my new child and experience life at home. I had always been a "go, go, go career woman" so there was little doubt I'd be back to work as soon as my five months were up.
Going back was harder than I anticipated. I had fallen totally for this new little person in my life and leaving him, even for a job I loved, was one of the hardest things ever for me. When I returned, I also had a new boss. His tag phrase was "It's go time" - enough said. I had to hit the ground running. Plus, we had a new drug we were launching. In a short time I was back in the swing of things. I spent most of my working time in my company car and so that's where I did my pumping. I managed to find a car adapter for my breast pump.
This went on for six more months until T Rex finally only needed milk first thing in the morning and right before bed. When I had overnight travel, T Rex Dad would go with me so I could nurse T Rex (he never took to a bottle). I tried to limit my travel to day trips when I could but it made for long hours in the car and little time for breaks. Plus, I hated being so far from my son.
Then right before Thanksgiving I was told one of the drugs I was promoting was going generic and to anticipate a possible reduction in work force. I started to see the writing on the wall. I worked in a low potential business area. I was pretty sure they were going to eliminate my position entirely. Our territory was performing first in the region. We were totally rocking but even if we achieved 200% of our goals (which we nearly did), we still would not bring in the same amount of business as someone in a big city would with just meeting 25% of their goals.
Fast forward, I finally get word in January 2009 that indeed my position had been eliminated. The kicker was someone else working for my same company on a different team resigned that same day. My boss, who I grew to respect during those 9 months, told me of the developments and said I had the choice to take the open position or the severance package. The only thing, this open position would entail more travel than I was already doing. Argh. I was not sure I was up for that. Nor, was our family up for that. It was a lot of hard work on T Rex Dad when I traveled.
I took a few days to consider my options. I could not tolerate the idea of being away from T Rex more than I already was. T Rex Dad said the decision was entirely mine but I really needed to consider the magnitude of my decision. After a few sleepless, cry-filled nights, I found myself in the bedroom sitting on the bed sobbing when T Rex Dad found me. He held me for a few minutes and then I knew what I wanted.
I called my boss the next day, thanked him for everything, and asked to take the severance - I was going to pursue my long awaited dream of going back to graduate school to be a nurse practitioner. Fortunately, I still had 2 weeks to pull my paperwork together and apply to school.
I waited and waited (okay, only 3 months) and finally the letter came in the mail. I was in! T Rex Dad and I had been discussing how we were going to fit another child into our plans and I was worried how I would fit it in with school plans. Thus, I signed up for the part-time program and we decided if I was pregnant within 4 months it would work out. If not, then we would have to wait three years to finish school before adding a second child to the mix. Two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant.
So, "what if" I had not been laid off or if I had taken that job - well, I'd still be the "go, go, go career woman", not a step closer to pursuing my dream of being a nurse practitioner, and I would not have a baby girl arriving in the new year. And, all those hours I would have been away from T Rex being on the road, I cannot even imagine how unhappy we all would have been. Honestly, the time I would have been missing with my little guy and my husband the past 9 months, I could have never gotten that back. That is truly priceless. We are happier now that we've ever been - even taking a 50% cut to our income and making some tough cuts to our lifestyle. But, we really do see this as the golden time of our lives with our growing family. How blessed we are!
Thanks, Jenners, for the prompt. And thank you, Everyone, for sharing this intimate story.
T Rex Mom