Wednesday, June 25, 2014

School Stress, Work Stress

I'd been begging for an assistant in our department for years, and when I started grad school, we started looking for someone to help with the work load. We hired ReDonah, it was immediately obvious that she was far more than a department coordinator, and within weeks I didn't know how I had survived without her. Then, just in time for the last three months of grad school, ReDonah went on maternity leave. I miss her all the time (and not just for the work that she does), but I know she's doing something amazing in caring for her little girl.

So how have I been dealing with the stress of working without ReDonah? Simple. I send her texts whenever I get too stressed out asking for baby pictures to remind me why she's not here. Plus, who could have a bad day after all this cuteness? So for all of you who are stressing out, I share with you some of the most sickeningly sweet baby pictures ever.

Royal less than 24 hours after stealing her mom away from me. But how could I possibly compete with a face like that?

Royal reminding me to chill out and not worry. She'd let me have her mom back in a few months.

Royal pops by for a visit. Shh...don't tell the boss, but productivity might have been down that day.

Oh the horrors! I'm blinded by the cuteness!

She's waving hello before we head into the longest week of the year, preparing for our annual convention.

Good thing I have Alex here. She's totally had my back while ReDonah is gone. Plus, she likes baby pictures, too.

So ReDonah comes back to the office soon. In fact, she comes back the day I leave for my final residency at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Unfortunately, I won't have any cute baby pictures to send ReDonah to remind her why I've left her with all the work. But I do promise to bring her back a picture book or two.

ReDonah and Alex and all of my other coworkers have supported me through this MFA program. They've encouraged me and asked me about my work. They've never complained when I leave for two weeks twice a year to attend residency. They're understanding when I'm exhausted after pulling an all-nighter to get an assignment in. And they've made sure to tell me that they've seen my writing improve, even though I write healthcare editorial content for work and stories about teenagers for school.

I honestly don't know how long Royal will be in my life—I'd like to think it will be for a good, long while—but I do know that her mom is a huge part of why I've been able to get my master's degree. And maybe someday Royal will pick up one of the books I worked on while I was in grad school, and it will help her through something she's dealing with in her life. But for now, her cuteness is enough to take the edge off the stress.

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