Sunny Days in DC

Jack of All Trades, Master of 3-ish.

The Happiest of Happiness

on December 18, 2012



We are still a hair’s breath away from losing the house, and until I sign the offer letter, and even then- until I walk in the door on the first day- I’ll still feel like I could lose it at any minute.

I was in the grocery store when I got the call. After ten months of being unemployed, I pictured the moment differently. I know that sounds weird… who “pictures” the moment they hear they got a job? But I did. I pictured myself being very dramatic, handing my son off to my aunt as I collapse in a puddle of relief on the floor, thanking every deity I can think of, and making up a few on the spot.

But it didn’t happen like that. I had my son in the carrier on my chest, and I was pushing a cart full of groceries that, two weeks ago, I would not have been able to afford. My unemployment had come through, but the hubs and I were still discussing just how to make the mortgage payments over the upcoming months. Then, my phone started vibrating. I picked it up, and the recruiter said that she wanted to congratulate me on my new job, and was I still interested?

Time didn’t slow down. I didn’t collapse. I didn’t cry, and Ed McMahon didn’t walk into the store with a giant offer letter and balloons. I just stood in the frozen food section and thought, “Ten months. Ten months of begging for help from family. Of staying up at night, not sure where I would get the money to buy Max cold winter clothes. Ten months of crying, but trying to smile so he wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with mommy. Ten months of trying to figure out which bill I COULD pay this month. And it’s over. I can breathe again.”

And I’m stupid, because of COURSE there are people who live this life longer than ten months. There are people who live like that for YEARS. They live less than paycheck to paycheck, and they don’t have friends who pitch in and buy warm jackets and pants for their kids (I was very, very lucky that I have such giving friends and family). I’m a foolish woman who just stood in the frozen food section of the grocery store, thanked the recruiter profusely, and then splurged in celebration, and bought the expensive orange juice.

And yes, we’re still so close. Are my bills paid off? Is the mortgage settled? No and no. And my credit is shot to hell.

But fuck it all, I got a job. I start January 2nd. And I’m finally starting to feel like some of the pressure is releasing. Not all. Not yet… but it’s a start.


13 responses to “The Happiest of Happiness

  1. Ki Vault says:

    Told you Hannah never give up not that you sound like you ever would. I am thrilled for you all have a great non xmas!

  2. Yes! Happy and relieved for you! Congratulations!

  3. Adam S says:

    Such a touching little snippet of your life. Thanks. And congrats!

  4. chris9911 says:

    oh wow, I didn’t realize the situation you were in. Your line of, ‘Ten months of crying, but trying to smile so he wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with mommy’ is so amazing and it symbolizes what a strong caring mom is all about. This blog is beautiful & inspiring, but most of all, hopefull. Congrats on your new job and just know you have a huge fan that is rootin’ for you and your family!

    • H. Stern says:

      Awww, thank you so much, Chris!!! It’s been a tremendously challenging year, and while I’m not the same person I was 12 months ago, in some ways that’s been a good thing. But no matter what, I am very lucky to have my family who are happy and healthy. I hope you have the same in this new year. Happy 2013!!!

  5. ekgo says:

    Oh HOORAY! I mean, of course, this could all change because you see where I am in backstalking, but still. HOORAY!
    And also, Good Mommy of the Month for not giving your child Shaken Baby Syndrome by jumping up and down, shrieking, in the middle of the store! Very impressive, madame!

  6. Why didn’t you say anything? This just breaks my heart.

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