When I leave in the mornings now, Baby usually looks up at me from his nanny's arms and smiles. Then the smile fades, and he looks confused. The nanny says (for him), "See you later, Mommy." I look back as I walk away, and he knits his eyebrows and watches me go. I tell myself not to look back again. I tell myself not to run back to Baby. I remind myself that this is the Great Recession, and that I need my job. I put my headphones in and try to pretend I am someone else. My solace is that I will get to see Baby smile when I come home. That smile makes my heart beat.
But there are days when circumstances conspire to keep me from getting home until after Baby is zonked. On those days, when I walk in the door, he looks at me with about as much recognition as he might give to the UPS delivery person. I try to fight it. I smile really big and exaggerate my excitement to try to get him to smile back. But he won't. I know that he is just tired, but I feel like crumpling when my day ends that way.
Yesterday was one of those days. I was in my office at 5:45 p.m. listening to some young paralegal question my instructions. He was skeptical of whatever I was telling him to do. Perhaps because my return to Work is so recent, I distrusted myself (and even my notes) and instead believed his skepticism. He wanted to check in with another attorney on the matter, and I told him to let me know if I had indeed made a mistake. When I did not hear from him, I sent him an email. He wrote back, and I am paraphrasing here, but his email roughly translates as follows:
I think that I know more than you [even though I was learning long division when you were at Kenyon smoking P*Funks]. I am busy [doing what you told me to do because you were right]. I will get to that other thing later [because you were right that that other thing is for later]. I am not going to admit that you were right because I am really busy knowing more than you [and now you are going to get home to see a zonked out baby who does not even recognize you].
I used to think that people moved fast on New York's sidewalks because this is the concrete jungle where dreams are made of and all the rest of it. But now I believe that people move fast, and I mean really fast, to get home before their babies are zonked out little zombies. At least that's why I do.