I feel so fortunate to have an 11 year old daughter who loves to try new food, who has exquisite taste, and loves for me to create new things for her nutrition and survival. I owe a lot to her actually. She knows me well. She knows when I've picked her up from school, she's telling me something that happened with her friends, and when I hardly respond, I'm still thinking about something I need to do for work when we get home. She says, "Nevermind. I'll tell you later. I can tell you're not listening." So of course I tell her just repeat please!!
When Gianna was 9 months old, I sacrificed 18 days away from her to train for a pharmaceutical job in Bristol, TN. (I have a very supportive husband who kicked in and held down the fort!) On the day I flew out, for some reason, I had to go from Little Rock up to Ohio and back down to get to the small, well known NASCAR town. We were delayed about 6 hours, and many of us from around the country waiting for the same connection to Tennessee got together and bonded over drinks about what we heard training would be like. My Arkansas counterpart Brian was pretty mad I'd made him give up his seat on the plane and wait with me while I did nothing but engage in girl talk with my new friends! Oops, my bad. Such good teamwork on his part, though!
By the time I arrived to the Courtyard Marriott in Bristol, TN, there were flowers in my room from my new manager Marie. She'd hired me just 2 months ago and we knew very little about each other aside from the fact that it would be hard for me to be away from my family for 18 days. The card read, "Thinking of you." I burst into tears, and my roommate Kerri from Las Vegas came in at that very moment, a complete stranger, consoling me because she had a little baby one year old boy back home too. Marie had mentioned we would be paired with people that they thought would match well.
I learned from some of the more seasoned, travelled reps during that time that a 9 month old baby might be somewhat reluctant to welcome a mom home back with open arms after an extensive time away. I learned that lesson the hard way. I'll never forget returning home, wanting nothing more than to hold my baby, and she refused to let me have her. She cried and turned away. She was mad at me for having been away. My heart broke. I was crying in the airport, and our good friends the Rogers just happened to also be returning from a trip as well. So awkward.
Eventually Gianna gave in, of course. The years went by. I'd had a 5 year goal that I achieved in 3, and I didn't want to slow down on the momentum. I was doing so well in my new job that I had the opportunity to move into a specialty position, a part of my 5 year goal. I'd built my dream house in my dream neighborhood. Marie even said that I needed to consider the larger territory that came with the promotion. Consider the evenings I would sacrifice away from my new house for the promotion. At this point, she knew me REALLY, REALLY well. But I went for it and got it.
Gianna was in Kindergarten at Baker Elementary. I'll never forget the day. I was practically kicking her out of my car at 7:30 a.m. so I could get to a breakfast where I could see a large group of high decile prescribers. From the age of 3, she's acted like an adult. You can ask the PTA president at the time who said, "Talking to Gianna is like talking to an adult." But that day I was reminded she was just a kid. I heard her say, "MY MOM!"
Those two words haunted me all day. So much for work! That year, I met one of the top cardiologists in the state. In regards to our jobs taking us away from our kids so much, he said to me, "Sometimes I wish I could just make my money and get out." Later that year his 2 year old toddler died of cancer. This doc was a favorite of all the drug reps. We were all hurting for him. The next year, I signed up to be Room Mom in Gianna's class, I volunteered at every event at her school to spend as much time as possible with her, and I joined her for lunch on a weekly basis. Now she's 11 and I know that another 7 years will fly by and she'll be leaving the house to head to college.
I hope she'll continue to spread the word about the food blog that she once convinced her mom to start when she was only 8 years old! She's had such a profound effect on my life in such short years, I know she has great things awaiting her in her own future. I plan to nourish her the best way I can while I still can. I hope she'll have great memories of the new grilled cheese that we created together and remember how Eat Arkansas once mentioned her taco ring too! For those of you with new or young kids who try your patience, take it from me. Before you know it, they'll be all grown up! Treasure the younger years, I would love to go back now that they're such big kids!!