All my life I have been a creative person. And while I never really settled on one particular thing as my best outlet of expression, I don’t think that anyone who knew me for more than 5 minutes would ever imagine that I would be in a field that didn’t involve some degree of creativity.

So imagine the surprise of… well… all the people when I agreed to come work for my father as his office manager. Accounting. Human Resources. In a nutshell, a very dry and seemingly analytical job. And it is. On the surface, my job is about numbers. Debits and credits. Health insurance. Office management. Not exciting.

And I’ve never really admitted this to anyone but I took this job not for me but for my husband. He was slowly suffocating in his previous job. Giant, global corporation. Day in and day out, unpredictable hours, tiny raises, little to now recognition, meetings to plan meetings. He was being crushed by it. And coming back home to work for my father’s company was like a second chance. On the surface, it was a pay cut (for him… quite a nice raise from me but then again… I was working part time so that wasn’t exactly hard to do.) But I was terrified to take this job for so many reasons. I’m bad at math. I wasn’t sure about working for my dad. I was apprehensive to move back home. The idea of sitting at a desk day in… day out… I really wasn’t too sure if this was going to be a good idea. But we were a package deal and for him, for his happiness, I would happily do this.

I was shocked at how much I liked it. I think that I underestimated the fulfillment I would get from knowing that I had a direct impact on a company every single day. And the longer we are here, as we drive around this area where we both grew up, I am able to point to things and say “Our company built that. That is our foundation. That is our retaining wall. Those are our sidewalks.” I LIKE that feeling.

And no… my contributions to those buildings aren’t immediately visible. I didn’t design a wall or figure out how to make that foundation strong. But I helped the people who built them. I impacted their families. I worked with them to get health insurance. I helped them with their vacations and sick days. I sat down with them to talk about benefits and retirement plans. I filled out forms so that they could qualify for car loans and mortgages. And when things went badly for them, when they had to talk to me about wage garnishments or child support, I did it with compassion and without judgment. Those are MY guys out there working. And many of them have been at this company longer than I have. They are my extended family and I would do whatever I could for them.

So as we drive around and point to something, yes, I see it as something that I helped build. Because MY guys built it. And I hope that while they were building it, I was able to make their lives a little easier. I never thought that I would find satisfaction in this job. But every day, I love it a little more. I’m good at this. Mostly… my organization leaves something to be desired. And… sometimes I get distracted (right this second, for example… I have a stack of invoices next to me that need to be entered and I’ve made it through the “H’s” but then for some reason this whole thing popped into my head and I decided to get it out before I lost it) but having the freedom to get distracted is invaluable. I’m here alone right now. Patrick and dad are both out at jobsites. My aquarium is bubbling happily behind me (except for that one dead fish… I know he’s in there somewhere and I know he’s dead because I haven’t seen him in a week but I CAN NOT FIND THAT LITTLE ASSHOLE… or what’s left of him at this point, I suppose). I have Netflix open also because everyone has watched all of Orange is the New Black but me and I’m not even done with episode ONE! I’m such a slacker. I could have watched it this weekend but there was sun and lake and pool and now I’m tired and bordering on sunburnt but oh so very content.

It’s not even in the same universe as the contribution I imagined myself having. But I’m part of something. It matters whether or not I show up every day. I may have taken this job more for Patrick than for me but I’ve gotten so much more out of it than I ever thought I would. And for some reason, I just felt like I needed to get that out and remind myself that there are other things in my life besides the batshit crazy roller coaster we find ourselves on with being foster parents.

(Oh yeah… about that… her parents are no longer allowed to have unsupervised visits with her. Long story and I would love to share the details but suffice it to say, everyone in the room at the last meeting left there shell-shocked because that outcome was NOT what anyone was expecting. But only two of us were happy about it…)

But we build stuff. And the guys that build that stuff are my people and I take care of them. Here is what my people built…