Over this past year, the McDermott family vessel has been blown way off course. The winds shifted suddenly one winter's day last January, the rain fell hard and fast, and then the water calmed and we found ourselves completely turned around and looking for directions.
Most of our friends and family are aware that Tyson was laid off from the job he loved last winter. We had an idea it was a possibility (or even a likelihood), but nothing prepares you for actually getting that rug pulled out from under you.
Thankfully, his company only laid him off on paper, but kept him employed off the books through a temp agency for the last 12 months. It may have seemed like nothing had changed, but with no sick leave, no benefits, no vacation time, and no company perks (car allowances/ gas cards, etc)... it was actually a pretty devastating blow financially and emotionally for our whole family.
Tyson is the most hard working, patient, devoted employee that any company could ever ask for. I think anyone he has worked with in the past 3 years would testify to all of that and more. This was his first 'grown up' job, and he happened to be in love with it. For all of these reasons combined with the fact that job stability is priceless to family life, this was particularly traumatic.
There was hope at first that the economy would not recede, that stimulus would prevail, that people would buy homes and afford us back the luxury of a full time job with great pay and benefits in a few short months. But as time rolled on and things continued to look bleak, we were forced to stand back and look at the many years ahead and weigh our options.
The central coast is a lot of wonderful things. Business and employment opportunity is NOT listed among them.
So there we were, exploring non-existent business opportunity, and career change seemed like the only logical solution. We looked at a lot of different things and weighed the time and training commitment vs. the long term benefits. Do we move? Do we go back to school? Do we both get extra jobs? Get rid of the kids?...
California Highway Patrol came up early on in our musings. We were desperate for options, so we didn't want to toss it out completely, but I was initially more than dead set against it. Its dangerous, its time consuming, its stressful, the hours are not always practical to family life, my kids could NOT live without their dad for six months while he went away to training (not to mention ME!), and who on EARTH would change all the light bulbs and tuck me in at night?, oh, and then there was the tiny detail that... "TYSON?! A COP! HAhahahaha," he is the most kind, patient, gentle soul in the world, isn't there some kind of 'must be arrogant and self inflated ass wipe at time of application' clause in the job description? (Sorry for all the cops I know or will come to know who are reading this, but you HAVE to admit... there are a LOT of jerky cops out there!).
No, Highway Patrol was NOT a good fit for our family a year ago... but Tyson applied just the same, not wanting to limit his options for down the road.
And then... a change began. A beautiful change. A change that was long overdue and more than necessary for our family's vitality, but that oddly I couldn't see coming.
I lost a TON of weight, and found some self confidence I never knew was missing. I began to think that maybe, just maybe... I might be able to change a light bulb myself.
The kids have been busy growing up, and learning to do important and beautiful things, like communicate with words instead of tantrums, play outside in the sunshine with the neighbor kids with light supervision and sleep thru the night.
Tyson has asserted himself for his family like I have never seen. He has been researching this path to the fullest extent of his ability. He frequents the discussion board. He made flashcards. He started running. He sought out council from our neighbor down the road who has completed this process only recently. He started wanting this!
And I realized that the reasons I initially thought would not make my husband a good cop... his patience, his mild mannerisms, his devotion to his family... would actually translate into intelligence, patience, thoughtful discernment, and overall dedication in the field when the job gets tough.
By the time we got the acceptance letter, I knew in my heart we had all changed and grown for the best, and we had found our way again.
Tyson leaves February 1st for six months of a highly intense training that will supposedly turn him into a cop. But the last year has already made soldiers out of all of us. And now, at this moment, I can honestly say I AM EXCITED about the possibilities and even the challenges! WE CAN DO THIS!
And so, we are officially sailing in a brand new direction to get back to where we came from a year ago. It will take us a little longer to get there, but when we find our way to land again it will be the promised land.
I am bursting with pride already.