I’m Back.

I’ve been gone for awhile.  Too long.

Has it really been more than two months since my last post?  Apparently so.  The date stamp don’t lie.

What have I been doing with myself?  Working.  And…

Nope.  Just working.

I’m not gonna lie.  I do not wear a wild and happy grin most of the time.  I wear it sometimes — like weekend mornings and the exceedingly rare weekday evenings when I manage to get home from work before Lil Mil goes to bed — but the rest of the time I wear the glazed half-smile (and by “half” I mean “totally fake”) of a person who is going through the motions.  A person who spends the bulk of her day sitting bleary-eyed in front of a computer screen (a PC!  Ick!), staring at a contract that needs drafting or an email that needs crafting, wondering what the amazing creature she used to spend every second with is doing.  Without her. 

Don’t get me wrong – I am happy.  Wildly happy, in fact.  My daughter is a giggly ball of curiousity who laughs more than she cries.  My husband is an even better version of the completely awesome man I married 5 years ago next week.  I’m working on a TV project that I’m exceptionally excited about.  I’m shopping a novel I’m genuinely proud of.  

The problem isn’t that I don’t like where I am or what I’m doing.  The problem is that I don’t have the time or mental space to notice where I am or what I’m doing.  I’m always either wholly occupied by work or wholly occupied by the desire to be somewhere other than work.  And when I’m not at work, I’m working my way through my laughably long to-do list.  I’ve given into the momentum of my life, letting it push me along.  I’ve started drifting through my days, letting each day bleed into the next, not keeping track or taking note of milestones big or small. 

No more.

Starting today, I’m back.  Back to blogging, yes, but more than that, back to noticing.  To reflecting.  To relishing.  To cherishing.

To living.

We Are Those People

We were drunk, but not from the wine. Or, at least, not just from the wine.

It was a Wednesday (a weeknight!).  It was late (11pm!) We’d left work hours before we normally do (5pm!)  to spend much too much on gourmet pizza and wine in a decidedly un-kid-friendly environment (yay Mozza!), and now we were sharing a $11 beer at an outdoor concert, holding hands, listening to Ray Lamontagne sing a song we both know by heart.

We were off duty.

In this moment, we were us again.  Not the three us, but the two of us.  The People We Were Before.

[The picture above is NOT from last Wednesday night because we took no photos that night, just like we've taken no photos of just the two of us since Lil Mil was born.  The picture above was taken two months before she arrived in the world, on our 4th anniversary, and is that last "just us" picture I have of The People We Were Before.]

Exactly the Right Amount

Posted in: Thinking Big

It’s my new routine (I love routines):  Husband drops me off at work (we’ve been riding together since my In-laws, aka our life-saving live-in nannies, arrived two weeks ago to keep Lil Mil who is not yet in the daycare we thought she’d be in by August 1st), and I go into my building and down to the concourse level where there’s a Starbucks and a little takeaway cafe that sells hot breakfast food.  While I’m waiting for my coffee, I walk across to the cafe and order a small oatmeal with walnuts, almonds and brown sugar, a delectable concoction that costs $3.51.  Not exceptionally cheap, but not expensive enough to use a credit card  (the cafe has a $5 minimum).  Knowing this, I ’ve started carrying cash.  Today, however, I walked in knowing that I only had 2 one-dollar bills in my wallet, and thus was fully prepared to add a banana I wouldn’t eat or package of cookies I shouldn’t eat but totally would, just to meet the minimum.

As I was surveying my options, pretending there was a chance I’d pick something other than the cookies, I remembered that I had some change in my wallet, maybe even some quarters.  So I dumped all my coins onto the counter and counted it:

2 quarters

8 dimes

3 nickels

6 pennies

I had exactly $3.51 in my wallet.  Exactly the amount I needed.  Not a penny more.  Not a penny less.

“I have exactly the right amount!” I exclaimed, grinning at the guy behind the counter.  (The guy I love dearly because he doesn’t need to ask my order, but he doesn’t assume I want the same thing every morning.  “Oatmeal?” he’ll say as I walk up.  Giving me the option to order something else.  Not pigeonholing me.  Just remembering what I like.)

I handed him the 2 bills and opened my hand to show him the coins.  “That has to mean something, right?”

The man just smiled, taking the money and ringing me up.  “Exactly the right amount!” I said again, this time to the businessman behind me in line.  He looked past me, pointing at the counter.

“You missed one,” he said.

There, completely overlooked, was a single penny.

Not the right amount.  A penny more.

And just like that, the moment felt less shiny.  Somehow less true.

The guy behind the counter reached for it.  He set the coin on the lid to my oatmeal and handed both to me.

“Exactly the right amount,” he said with a smile.   ”For the oatmeal, and for good luck.”

Onwards and Upwards

Fail not for sorrow, falter not for sin,
But onward, upward, till the goal ye win.
- Francis Anne Kemble (1809-1893)

At The End Of The Day

I told myself I’d find balance. Demand it if I had to. I believed that there were enough hours in the day to do all the things I love despite my new go-to-work status. Turns out there are.

If I give up sleep.

So here I am, a week into my new old job, and I haven’t written a single blog post since the day I started or a spent any significant time editing my novel. Two of the five nights this week, Lil Mil was already asleep when I got home from work. I haven’t cooked a single meal, read a single page of the book I’m reading or spent a single minute working out.

I have, however, spent roughly 2500 minutes working.

Oh balance, where art thou?

I could lament the state of things. I started to, when I left work yesterday evening and looked up at the building that stole my week. But as I gazed up at the steel and glass and the bright blue behind it, I realized something.

I had a good week. Unbalanced, and certainly not perfect, but overall, pretty enjoyable. Surprisingly fulfilling.

And best of all? The weekend had arrived.