Courage to Change

I am shocked to see I have not blogged since January 1st. Admittedly, these past three months have been filled with…a lot.

In January, on my way to a 9-day vacation in Mexico with my beautiful friend, Becky, I got caught in an ice storm in Texas and was trapped there for nearly 3 days. While there, I read a fun mystery involving Bernie Sanders. I left it in the airport, hoping its liberal sense would permeate through the conservative air. I don’t think it worked. 😉

My time in Mexico was lovely. Visiting with Becky was the highlight, but also seeing iguanas in trees, attending an authentic Mexican rodeo, eating apples with lime juice, and drinking margaritas on the beach with my toes in the sand while chatting with one of my dearest friends. Of course, losing my glasses in the ocean wasn’t great, but being able to try out contact lenses was life changing. Next week I finally get fit for a proper pair of contacts and I’ll be able to wear sunglasses while I run. Exciting!

Another “event” that happened in Mexico–I used a Nespresso machine. This might not seem like a big deal, but oh my word, I fell in love with it–the taste, the convenience, the recyclable pods, all of it. Before I left Becky’s home, I ordered one for my house so my vacation could continue indefinitely. It’s truly a fantastic way for my day to begin.

Once I got back home, it was back to reality–work, committees, home chores, volunteering, all the stuff. Unfortunately, just a week after I arrived back home, my husband was off to Florida to help care for his father. It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for my husband–navigating the hospital and family, lack of sleep for days, plus emotionally exhausting. He came home after 10 days, but my father-in-law entered into hospice care the very next day. He was able to go home but died from lung cancer just two days later.

Supporting someone who is grieving can be difficult, but living with that person is even tougher. I don’t know how my husband survived living with me as I grieved my brother and parents. There are never any right words or even actions, except to listen–which I’ve done, but I always think I should do more. Maybe it’s because I just want to take the pain away, but I can’t. I have learned to step away and leave him alone when it seems best but made sure he knew that if he needs to talk or hug or just be in the same room with me, that he tells me. I don’t want to hover, but man, that’s not easy. I’ve had to tell my son all of these same things because I all I want to do is stick with him and constantly check that he’s ok. I have to step back, take him to therapy, spend time with him, talk with him, and just let him know that I’m here.

Throughout these past few months, as my family has been navigating another loss while still trying to work and go to school, balance all of life’s responsibilities, and even visit a college my son is interested in, I’ve continued to hope for a positive adjustment in my life. I haven’t just hoped but have started working towards some changes. And now it looks like a major one is coming to fruition.

In my last blog post, I mentioned I need to change my work–either make changes at my workplace or look for something new. Amazingly, the Bangor Public Library, a large public library (large for Maine, anyways!), has hired me as their new Head of Circulation. Their current head of circ is retiring after 36 years–that is so much institutional knowledge I will never know, but I’m tremendously honored to have the chance to work for this fantastic institution, alongside their equally fantastic staff.

This is a tremendously bittersweet moment for me. My work as the Director of the Pittsfield Public Library (and previously as the Circulation & Catalog Librarian) has led me to people I’ve come to know and love as my family and friends. When I started there in 2005, I was still trying to get pregnant, I was 30 pounds heavier, and all my family was still alive. My brother and both of my parents used to visit me at the library. I still have specific memories of all of them in that building—the library even has several dvds that my brother donated. My son also spent many, many hours at that library. During one program, I had my boy strapped to my back as I walked around the library. When it was time to unstrap him, I couldn’t do it and a lovely older couple had to help me (the wife is still my patron–we still talk about that day).

I’m proud of the work I’ve done in Pittsfield. I’ve worked with dozens of organizations and helped connect them with community members that needed their services, I’ve matched patrons with books they’ve fallen in love with, and I’ve advocated for the library and the staff within the town government by inviting community members to tell their elected officials what the library means to them.

But it’s time for me to go. I know I can do more at the Pittsfield Library, but I need a new adventure. Working at an urban library will be a huge change and challenge, and I’m looking forward to it. I still have another month in my beautiful, small and rural library, and I hope to make the best of it.