Last Thursday, I found out via the company rumor mill that I was on the list of people who would be laid off yesterday. I had been 75% sure I was on the list, so the revelation was no great surprise. But I was still angry and upset about how I found out. (And so, for the record, are the people who laid me off. The rumor mill was the result of one guy's big mouth. And he is not a director of the company, so I can disparage him... but I still won't. I think he just didn't think about what he was saying.)
Anyway, I couldn't hide the fact that I was upset from Pumpkin, who wanted to know what was wrong. So I tried to explain to her that I was about to lose my job. At first she didn't get it, but I kept trying, and now she thinks that Mommy needs to find a new classroom. Which you know, is close enough for a 3.5 year old.
Today, I went to the orientation for the outplacement services that I've been given. Since that started at 9 and wasn't far from day care, I dropped the girls off this morning, which is not our usual routine. Pumpkin wanted to know where I was going. I told her I was going to school (again, close enough for a 3.5 year old). Her little face lit up, and she said, "Did you find your new classroom, Mommy?"
No, honey, not yet, I explained. It will take a long time. This is just a class to help me learn how to look.
Pumpkin nodded, but I don't know how much she really understands. I think I would have tried to tell her what is going on even if the events of Thursday hadn't forced my hand. I don't know how much will get through, but I hope it will demonstrate that when things don't work out, you just pick yourself up and try again, and that you move on, even after things that make you really, really sad. I think this is the way our jobs will be in the future- I think the lack of security and the need to be able to cope with a lay off and a period of unemployment is going to move from just the risky, start up driven type businesses like biotech to the rest of the economy. In fact, I think this is already happening. I want to prepare my kids for this reality, and this lay off is giving me a chance to start doing so.
So I muddle through, trying to explain things to Pumpkin, but also trying not to scare her. One of the good things about the lay off is that I can take some extra time with my kids. I'm keeping Pumpkin out of day care on Friday, and we're going to have a mother-daughter day. She's very excited, and is talking about how we're going to go the zoo, and maybe also to the merry-go-round (which she calls "the secret" because Hubby originally tried to talk about a trip to the merry-go-round by calling it a secret). I'm looking forward to it, too.
Pumpkin has a tendency to repeat everything to everyone, and of course, none of this is really making much sense to her yet. I really wonder what she's saying at day care. I can almost hear her explaining earnestly to her teachers about how her she's going to the zoo because mommy needs to find a new classroom, and how we'll go to the secret, too. She's very verbal, so it will all be crystal clear. But I don't think it will make much sense. Maybe I should send a note....