Thursday, June 9, 2016

Living Through Changes

We are living, we are loving and life is changing.

Bella finished up 3rd grade last week, seriously how is she already through 3rd grade???

She is ready for a fun summer, spending time with her friends during the day and going on fun field trips, lots of swimming, summer dance and probably some soccer.

Time is not slowing down like I hoped it would ;)  I know I've said it before but I will say it again, Bella is the most down to earth, sweetest, most giving and caring little girl.  There are days when I ask myself what we did to deserve her.

We love to be silly, play jokes on each other, hide in the dark hallway to jump out and scare one another.  She is our joy, the very brightest spot in our life and I thank God for her every day.

The moment I see her when I pick her up my worries fade, for that one moment, these days a single moment is needed.  I feel selfish sometimes for counting on that from Bella, but hey I'm her mom and she is my everything.  Also I feel the same joy from her when she sees me, ready to pick her up and spend time together.

Kyle is thoroughly enjoying life at Kosama, we have been blessed to become a major part of such a supporting and caring group of people.  Throughout our life there have been ups and downs with Kyle and various jobs, I have worked to be his rock and stay strong for our family.  I love seeing him so happy with his job and knowing how bright his future is there.  He is appreciated, he is respected, his trainers and members truly enjoy having him be such a large part of their lives.

I love him.  I love seeing him thrive.  I love seeing him happy.

When people tell you life can change of course you listen and understand that.  When major changes occur that you never could have imagined would even be possible, well, that is a hard pill to swallow.

My professional world has been rocked and for the first time in our life together I feel uncertain.  My job is something I enjoy, the organization I work for is an organization I truly believe in.  By no fault of my own or my Local that I work for my job is at stake along with everyone else I work with.

When I first started working for Teamsters Local 238 I knew how lucky I was to land such a job.  They pay well, benefits are fully paid and it is a job that doesn't come around very often because people don't leave that type of job, they retire after 30 years or so and are able to enjoy retirement thanks to their pensions.  My dad was a member when I started and I was so proud to be a part of something that he believed in so much.  We have been close always but my job became something that we bonded over even more.

For quite some time Central States Pension Fund, the company who handles our pensions has been losing money.  Various factors have played into the demise of the Fund from deregulating trucking which shut down a lot of big trucking companies nationwide to other employers closing their doors and filing bankruptcy, which left a lot of "orphans" drawing partial pensions.  Central States Pension Fund submitted a plan to the Treasury Department which included cuts to all current and future pensioners.  The cuts would have been awful, but I was for them because I knew the outcome if the cuts didn't happen.  My dad who draws his pension from Central States was also for them even though his pension would have been cut more than we projected.  The Treasury Department rejected the plan in May and that's that.

Next month we should have a more certain timeline on when the Central States Pension Fund becomes insolvent.  Then I will have an idea of how much longer I get to continue working for Teamsters Local 238.  Once the fund becomes insolvent and every employer that pays in is forced to pay their unfunded liabilities, our Local will be forced to file bankruptcy and close its doors.  If anyone is interested in reading about the situation this is a good article that explains why the Government took over the Fund in the 80's and how many poor choices were made with money paid in by hard working people and it was lost. 

At the age of 20 I knew how lucky I was to work for such a great organization, I knew I could provide for my future family not only with a steady income but also health insurance benefits and a retirement.  Now I am at a loss of what I can do.  There is no solution for Central States besides help from the Government.  Over 400,000 people are in the same boat as I am or worse.

I do not deal with change well and over the next five years I need to figure out how to deal with it.  Bella sees me as a strong, independent woman and lately I feel I have grown weak due to uncertainty and complete fear.

We as a family will push through and thankfully a wonderful opportunity is in the works.  Funny how things come about that can be big, scary and exciting opportunities right when the solid foundation you walk on has been shattered.

Our life has been a revolving door of challenges and unexpected changes.  Relationships you thought were unbreakable are gone and yet out of some of that there has been good.  Other relationships have strengthened and we will always take in anyone who needs help as we always have.  Thinking about it I believe Kyle and I have lived in our house over the past 10 years with just us that first year.  I wouldn't change a thing, I am proud to say we have been able to take in my best friend, one of my nephews and my father-in-law over the past nine years.

I have to just keep swimming for my family even on the days when I honestly want to do nothing other than let myself sink into the terrifying darkness of uncertainty.  Thank you Kyle for taking on the role as the rock and to Bella for being my sunshine and to my father-in-law for being a source of relief and to my own parents for trying to help me keep my sanity even though they have their own uncertain future ahead of them.

Positive thoughts are needed and some prayers as well for our little Griffin family.  We will persevere because I will allow nothing less.