November 1st last year was the first time I was admitted to the hospital. It's been quite a year, and it goes without saying that we are unbelievably thankful to be out of that hospital, out of that situation, and generally almost well again!
I've not had a lot of time for reflection lately, but I am coming to realize a few important things. My "why" has changed. My mother told me that everything would look different to me when I had children. I believed her then, but I had no idea what she meant. I had no idea what a seismic shift a child would bring into my life. And then of course we went and had twins!
I've been fortunate enough in my life to be threatened in a very real way by death a few times. Each time I re-evaluated my life, I did not see things quite the same afterwards. I think I was better for these reality checks. I had never experienced this mortality through the lense of a child. We didn't lose either of our children, in fact they are thriving. But the "almost" made everything change.
I am struggling to leave my children with other people, I had to leave them every night for 19 days with the NICU staff, many of whom were excellent, but none of them were me. I had a c-section and a very tough pregnancy which I was lucky to survive. I am slowed down, my capacities are limited. The babies have little scars from their long term IVs and the repeated heal pricks to test their glucose levels. Having two is wild. I can spend all night holding my baby and wake up almost in tears because I miss my other baby. Leaving them at the end of the day in the NICU was the most physically painful thing I've ever done. Biology is pretty serious. I am protective of them of course. It makes sense. We are a bit traumatized. It's a process. We are growing through, or managing with. BUT, the world is quite different looking from this vantage point.
I have been ashamed to admit that I didn't want to go back to work right away. I thought surely I could have children and then go back to kicking ass within a few months. What would be the problem? I could do it all! The reality is that I probably could. BUT I'm profoundly unwilling to. I had to drive to NYC for a discussion with our manufacturer and I left my kids from 7:30 am to 7 ish at night. I hated it. I was so clingy the next few days, they were clingy, we were all depleted and desperate to be close. I've never felt that way before. I didn't know it would be like this. I am quite literally addicted. And I have no desire to quit. I've felt shame, not named but deep seated. I'm only just getting the words right now. This is some powerful biology.
Holy shit it's the most incredible thing in the world to be the parent of these two dudes. There is nothing in my life that could have prepared me. David and I are having the time of our lives. AND it's really hard! We are not people to do things by half measure. SO when we have kids together the predictable result is that we're obsessed and highly focused. We're on the maximum effort train.
There is so much to be done every day with twins. We wash a load of laundry almost every night. We eat a lot of take out, there is not a lot of sleep. We could easily just do this. We cannot really take shifts, there are always two kids. I know this will get easier when the kids can wait, and can be more independent. For the first few months I couldn't care for them alone because of my physical limitations. Now it's much more possible for one parent to be taking care during the day. Not easy, but possible.
So where then does Volante Design fit? How do we craft a future for this company that we love and have built, it's been 10 years. We are not done. We can't wait to make little jackets for them and teach them how to make things with their own hands. We have a lot of ideas for products that we would be proud to make. How do we do enough of both? How do we soak up these miraculous babies? (Twins are miraculous in so many ways. They are one egg, fertilized and split in two, they are identical but sooooo different, they almost didn't make it a couple of times, but then they did make it.) There is so much we are grateful for. There is also literally so much all the time.
And there is so much that needs to be done at Volante Design. It needs vision and leadership and a reminder of purpose. It needs designs, and blog posts, and arguments about different shades of blue. It needs us. The people at Volante are extraordinary. They deserve our time and focus.They are working towards the mission and they are dedicated and we are so grateful that they gave us the time to be with our boys when we literally could not handle ANYTHING. This is probably the greatest gift that these people will ever give us in our lives.They probably don't even know. They took care of our business, our cherished purpose and project. Thank you so so much. It has been huge.
SO how do we re-enter? How do we honor their work and their choices? Where do we sit at the table with them? Alongside them in some ways? Above them in hierarchy? There is a way in which we cannot resume the day to day tasks, and probably that's for the best. So how do we belong again? What's the best way to bring our vision, our disruptive ideas, our dreams, the cool solutions that only we would think of. I am determined to find a balance. It is surely possible.
We've just been slammed with Covid, and now some other crud, so it feels like too long since we've been really fully at work. I miss it. I am not willing to be a stay at home mom. Even if we didn't have this amazing company to sustain. I am not "just" anything at the moment. It's a lot of roles, a lot of switching. I am stretching, growing new muscles. It can be hard. Like I tell my team, growth can be hard but it can be a good feeling.
We are forging a way. And it may mean you don't see us so much as we work in the background, figure out the next strategy, go deep, think about what the mission needs next.
TLDR: a few non-negotiables have arisen for me:
- I can't miss my kids' childhoods.
- I am ready for a new chapter at Volante Design.
- I have not been there enough especially recently as we've been repeatedly slammed with illness.
- I am leaning into the discomfort and the complexity of being a parent and running a company.
- There is nowhere I would rather be.
- Let's get creative!
As always, stay badass, be extraordinary, protect your magic.
Thanks for reading,