Though I’ve been keeping up with this blog on and off since May 2008, I didn’t decide to crank things up a bit until some time last year. As a new stay-at-home mom, I was finally getting into my own little groove and was relieved to be more comfortable with our new normal.
When Hadley was three months old, I logged into my neglected blog to write a few summary posts about my labor experience and motherhood so far, and here I am many months later still sharing away. 🙂 When Hadley was five months old I decided to rename my blog and give it a go at becoming my renewed beloved hobby. After playing with many titles in my head and discussing options with my family and friends, I settled on Whimsical September. Because September is here, I thought now would be the perfect time to explain the meaning behind my title to those who don’t know. Buckle up! I have some wild stories to tell.
A couple Septembers ago I had a moment when I was pregnant with Hadley where I just couldn’t believe where I was in my life; If you would have told me the previous year that that’s where I would have been, I would never have believed you. My stream of consciousness started running absolutely wild thinking about how every September for the last few years I’d been in a place that I never would have imagined the year before.
In September 2009 I was a senior in college majoring in Secondary Education. Jamie and I had been dating for 18 months, but an engagement wasn’t anywhere on the horizon. My plan for September 2010 was to be teaching at my alma mater high school and be living back in my hometown until Jamie and I hopefully got engaged and figured out wedding plans.
In September 2010 I found myself teaching at a catholic middle school in my hometown and head over heels in love with my job. I never wanted to teach middle school, I never wanted to teach somewhere private, and I’m not Catholic. This was the job offer that came first, and I accepted it before receiving an offer at the high school later that summer. I had also been engaged for three months, something else that I had no idea was on the table for us that quickly.
If you had told me in September 2009 that this is where I’d be a year later, I would have died laughing and said “no way!”, but in September 2010 I was a very, very happy girl who was in love with her job and in love with her fiance! At this point we had a wedding date planned for June 2012, and I decided that I would teach at the middle school for two school years while Jamie was deployed in Afghanistan the following year for one year. I figured in September 2011 I’d still be teaching and in full wedding planning mode still living with my parents. Nope…
In September 2011 I’d officially been married for eight months. We pushed up our wedding to January 15, 2011 and planned it in seven weeks after deciding that we wanted to be married before he deployed. We also got married on the beach! I had no idea that that’s the type of wedding I’d always wanted. It was so incredible. It’s definitely something we never saw coming.
I also wasn’t teaching at the middle school anymore, or even teaching at all! In September of 2011 I was traveling the country as a seasonal presenter with the non-profit organization Rachel’s Challenge speaking to thousands and thousands of students, parents, and educators about Rachel Scott, the first student shot and killed at Columbine. You can read about how I scored that job here; It was crazy and such a God thing, I tell ya. We also bought a home. Are you kidding me?! Married, traveling the country for a living, and owning a home… I never saw any of that coming, but I was so happy with all of it. I just missed my husband, but he’d be home soon. In September 2012 I hoped to still be working with Rachel’s Challenge because that job was Heaven on Earth.
In September 2012 I wasn’t working for Rachel’s Challenge anymore. I’d received a call in February out of the blue from the local school system asking me to come in and interview for a high school teaching job; I’d created an online application one day out of the blue when I debated going back to teaching so that I could be home more with Jamie and not traveling. I never even finished the application. I interviewed, received the offer, and decided to take it to be home with Jamie. I was so devastated to leave RC and still sorely miss it to this day, but it was wonderful to have a job four miles from my home and to go home to my husband every night. I was also in over my head as the head cheerleading coach. I received the program when it was a slight mess, and trying to turn things around gave me some of the biggest challenges I’ve ever experienced in my life. I really loved my cheerleaders though! I was very fortunate to have them in my life.
I loved loved loved the content I was teaching as an 11th grade English teacher, though that first year at that particular school was challenging and helped me grow the thicker skin that I didn’t know I needed. I was positive that in September 2013 I’d still be teaching and coaching and that life would be quiet. Funny joke…
In September 2013 I found myself seven months pregnant with Hadley and completing my entire pregnancy alone. Jamie was assigned another 12 month deployment to Afghanistan out of the blue the previous January, and we only had six weeks to prepare. He left in February, just 54 weeks after he’d gotten home from his first.
I found out eight days later that I was pregnant, which leads to where I was in September. I’d decided to resign from my teaching job once I was 38 weeks pregnant so that I could stay home with my daughter. I never imagined the previous year that I’d be pregnant and that Jamie would be deployed again. Never. I was so incredibly happy though. We weren’t sure when to start a family, so we joke that God decided for us. 🙂
When I imagined September 2014, I figured I’d still be a SAHM with Hadley, living in Tennessee, and that we’d be gearing up to sell our home in anticipation for our move to Arizona in the spring of 2015. Things didn’t work out that way though…
In September 2014 we were settling in Kansas. WHAT!? We received news in December (when Hadley was just one month old) that instead of Jamie attending his Military Intelligence career course in the spring of 2015 that he was being required to go in March of 2014. We officially had three months to sell our home and move across the country with a newborn. It was so insane and kind of awful at times. We couldn’t sell our home that fast, so we decided to become landlords and rent it out. We lived in Arizona for five months before receiving our next assignment to move to Fort Riley, Kansas. We really wanted to live in Georgia or DC, but the Big Guy upstairs had other plans, and we’re so thankful for them because we’re so happy here. When thinking about September 2015 I had an idea of where we’d be that’s somewhat similar to what is actually happening, but not exactly.
In September 2014 I figured that in one year that we’d be gearing up for Jamie’s third deployment, which we are. He leaves soon, but thankfully we knew about this one a whole year in advance. There are also a few other things going on that I’ve been working really hard on that I definitely didn’t see coming (in a million years), and I’m so excited to share them with you soon when I have more specific information to share. All good things that I’m so excited and thankful for, but also really surprised by. Can’t wait to share when I get the green light to do so! Yippee!
And about the word whimsical. I love it! Whimsical has so many synonyms which include comical, fantastic, unpredictable, and uncertain. These words so accurately describe the last six years and what an incredibly beautiful roller coaster they’ve been. I’ve truly been so happy every September doing things the complete opposite of what I’d originally thought I wanted to do.
I know you’ve surely all heard the quote “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans”, and it’s just so true. Those that know me well know that I’m a planner by nature and am always trying to prepare for next week, next month, or 10 years from now, but sooner or later I’ll eventually learn that as much as I try to plan, I’m not the one ultimately in charge. 🙂
In being totally transparent, I didn’t take all of these changes very well. Some of them have been extremely hard to swallow and at the time seemed like the exact opposite of what I wanted or needed. A few examples: I cried when I got the Catholic teaching job before the high school job, I was terrified when I found out I was pregnant and alone without Jamie, and I stomped and cried like a child when I found out we were moving to Kansas. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know, and that’s that I would still end up exactly where I wanted to be.
If you’re not exactly where you want to be in life right now or confused about what you should be working towards, don’t lose hope because things can change for the better in an instant, and though sometimes we think we know what will make us truly happy doesn’t always mean that there’s not something better waiting. I speak from experience. 🙂 Hang tight!
This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Erica DeSpain. Whimsical September accepts forms of products and compensation in exchange for an honest review. All images are copyrighted to Erica DeSpain and may not be reposted or used without prior permission.
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