A Tale of Two Cities: Little Rock to Portland

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Valentines Day 2015

Almost 5 months after we left Little Rock, I thought I had it all licked in Portland. I had landed a swank advertising gig just off the waterfront of downtown, my husband earned a managerial liaison position in Alaska with big oil ConocoPhillips, and our kids were getting adjusted to their new schools. All was happy in Happy Valley.

Then my husband called on Valentines Day. He was saying something about his new boss Keith, and his son Levi. I left the busy sales bay, through the lobby where Fox News was constantly on the air, and went into the large conference room where I could see cars driving on the bridges outside the large windows. He asked if I’d gotten my flowers. Yes, I had. Some small vase of flowers, including carnations. In my mind, I thought, “This is how much he loves me?” After all the sacrifices I’d made, and all I did despite the fact that I worked full time while he’s always gone, and I take care of our two daughters on my own basically? He said that Keith asked him to stay 6 weeks on and 1 week off despite the originally offered 3 weeks on and 3 weeks off. I started crying.

“You don’t like the flowers?” he asked. Wow. He knew me well. I told him that the one week he would be home, I had to be in Denver for training with my new job. I think both were legitimate excuses for getting emotional. When I got back from lunch, I had new flowers at the office. We counted 18 long stemmed roses with chocolates from Moonstruck. My General Sales Manager Al said it was starting to look like a hospital room in my corner. I laughed, then started crying again. I vowed to be more supportive of my husband and to be stronger while I was on my own.

I feel so fortunate now because I was able to leave that job and focus on my family full time. Looking back, I never thought I’d be a stay at home mom. I always saw myself as an independent woman in a successful career. But I’ve changed quite a bit since I left Little Rock. I’ve begun feeling like it’s okay to be who I am in Portland.

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