Thursday, July 23, 2009

Like Sheryl Crow Says – A Change Could Do Me Good



I tapped my foot anxiously as I sat perched in my home office, my signature move of one foot tucked underneath me modified with my new pregnant state. Tackling tasks that seemed manageable while waiting for “the phone call,” I chewed nervously on a pen cap and shared sneaky glances with the dog, who wasn’t sure quite what was going on. “We’re waiting to hear about the job El!” I said to her, watching her cock her head because these words were different from “treat, eat, hungry or bye-bye.” Torn between wanting my cell to shrill and avoiding it because then it would close my fate, I placed it on different parts of the desk as if that would sway some sort of magical force of communication that I had been longing to hear.

Moments later, Kenny Chesney’s voice filled the room, indicating not that our wedding CD was playing, but that my cell was ringing. A quick glance at the screen told me it was, indeed, work calling and I scrambled to hit the right button.

“Hello?” I greeted, my voice sounding awkward when I had been working to make it sound cool. “Hey Megan, it’s Jennifer,” said my potential supervisor on the line in her always poised, professional tone. “Hi – how are you?” I say, again sounding like a fool for of course I was expectedly waiting by the phone. “Well, I’m calling….” she seems to draw out the sentence as I manically start shuffling papers around to calm my nerves and try to listen carefully and anticipate what she’s going to say next.

“WE WOULD LIKE TO OFFER YOU THE POSITION OF SOLUTIONS, MANAGER AND WELCOME YOU TO OUR TEAM. YOU WERE the UNANIMOUS CHOICE – HANDS DOWN.”

Now those words I hear loud and clear yet the reality of their actual meaning seems to echo loosely between my burning ears. As my heart starts beating rapidly and I start to wonder if getting off cardiac meds had been the best idea, I feel my son tumbling rapidly in my tummy and a small smile creep upon the corners of my mouth and in the tone of my voice. From then it becomes a blur as I tackle the emotions that seem to be flying at me, from a sense of accomplishment, to excitement, to fear of change, to “can I do this,” etc. Yet that ol’ reliable pit in my stomach new instantly – that fabulous little thing we call “gut instinct” that kicks in before our heart and mind get in the way of all the planning and paving that’s, in my opinion, not really in our control anyway. I battled through the day, calling Mike first, spreading the good news to trusted colleagues and friends and doing my crazy “input” personality thing of assessing, making lists, creating stories in my head, etc. Exactly 24-hours later, I accepted with glee, pondering what this would mean for my budding career, growing family and yearning-to-grow heart and mind.

And so it came to be that I will transition within my current company (Child Health Corporation of America) from a Communications Manager to a Solutions Manager, a journey that is sure to be filled with surprises, joy, challenges, growth and endless opportunities. For my faithful blog followers (thank you!) this means I will manage four groups within 43 pediatric hospitals and lead them through projects, help them find resources, attend to their needs, host meetings, and help them improve any way they can so they can deliver the best care to children within their organizations. I will travel to various cities approximately 25 days out of the year and work for a budding group of women that I’m positive could take over the universe with their intellect, talents and skills. Sounds perfect for the Miss Party Planner I am, right? Bringing peers together to solve big problems for the betterment of the world? Sign me up! Oh wait…I did!

As I tuck myself into bed each night I think about all this can mean for my growing family, my dreams laced with the impact this could make for the organization, my personal and professional life and health care in general and me. So even when those seeds of doubt trickle in or I’m terrified of the amount of change being thrown into Team Choate’s life in the next three to six months, I hold on to the my mantra of “everything happens for a reason” and look forward with anticipation and excitement for all that is ahead. We are so thankful to not only be employed, but for me to have the luxury of working somewhere that I am passionate about and fully use the skills that I've been blessed with - we are very aware this is one of life's greatest gifts particularly in these times. Thank you to our friends and family who continue to support us on this journey from new careers to new babies and so much more – you are the reason this journey is worth traveling!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Amazing Grace - How Sweet the Baby Shower!


As the dull buzz of my alarm sounded on my nightstand, I felt a smile creep upon the corners of my mouth as the baby kicked against my tummy and the realization of what day it was connected in my mind. A day to celebrate, cherish, photograph and remember as one of life’s most fun events – the girlfriend baby shower!

Normally slightly hazy and resistant to the obligation of rising, I caught site of my sassy pink dress pressed and ready, perched near the bathroom door. Tucked near the corner was the array of shoes I had strategically been testing the night before, along with my favorite pieces of costume jewelry strewn about the dresser top. Practically squealing with delight to share the majority of the day with my nearest and dearest, I trotted down to the kitchen to start the day off right with a little protein for the wee one. Grabbing the Kashi and milk, I spotted the darling invite my girlfriends had so lovingly created, taking in the gentle colors, vintage trim and scripted words. With another heartfelt squeal coupled with a gleaming smile, I raced up the stairs (ok, swiftly walked) to begin preparing for the day.

Hours later, I was greeted by “she’s here, she’s here – the woman of the hour!” from my dear friend Jenny as I breezed up the drive balancing an enormous diaper cake and hostess gifts for my incredible friends. Surrounded by blooming flowers, perfectly placed d├ęcor, lavender-scented candles and gourmet cooking, I stepped excitedly into the door and was immediately greeted by some of the most incredible women I’ve ever met. Ice water was placed carefully into my hands, my purse whisked away and after grateful hugs and cheek kisses were shared with the hostess, I was on my way to mingling with the more than 30 girls who were gracious enough to attend and celebrate our son-to-be.

As the moments passed, I was amazed and humbled by the acts of grace going on all around me. Katie, with a purposeful look, walked quickly about the room capturing golden moments with my camera, understanding I would want every detail documented. Leah straightened the gorgeous arrangement of flowers, all the while answering questions about her beautiful new home and where the ladies’ room was located. Natalie and Jennie flitted about, making sure mimosas were plentiful, each woman had a new friend to talk to and that seating was fit for a queen. Jenny sat cross-legged in front of me with trash bag in hand, plucking away the gorgeous green and blue paper designed specifically for baby as the embarrassing display of gifts was opened one after another. As Gina stood by scribbling fiercely to make thank-you note writing more manageable, a crew of girls whisked away the generous gifts to my awaiting car, making this shower-planning event look like something they do every day. Surveying the room, I was awed by the amazing women who surrounded me, each such an important part of my past and for always, my future. Sharing their love, smiles, stories of children, college memories, career woes and even making new acquaintance with those they had not ever met. As my eyes filled with gentle, warm, tears, I thought to myself – “I am the luckiest woman in the entire world.” My guess is this is what Oprah would call an “ah ha” moment – to realize that not much else matters in this world than friends, family, life’s journeys and the amazing gifts that are brought about in times of celebration.




As these amazing women jetted off to their next celebration or to save the world, nurture their family or manage the millions of things they are responsible for in life, I kicked off my shoes to help the tireless hostess’ with cleanup. We reminisced upon the day, commenting on the plethora of items now available for babies, the changes I was going through, the women they had been so pleased to meet through this encounter. And again, I thought to myself – THIS is what it means to really live. And for the first time, I felt the passion and life’s maturity fall upon me as I thought to myself that I could truly die today and feel I have lived the most abundant of lives. Now how many 29-year-olds can say that? It wasn’t the presents, the food cooked with love, the energy spent in creating the euphoric event for all, but the women – the girlfriends that make that thought become a forceful reality. So here’s to you, amazing women in my life, for always being there when it counts the most and for giving of yourselves in countless ways. May life’s journeys constantly remind of us what really counts and may we always celebrate each other in good and bad. I owe you a lifetime of celebrations for helping to make me what I am today and what I hope to be tomorrow. I love you!

PS: View the nearly 100 photos on http://teamchoatephotosite.shutterfly.com/