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the present

For the four days leading up to my return to the office this week, I tried very hard to be in the present. I did not waste precious time weeping and wailing about the fact that so soon my leave would end.  I focused on my breath.  I looked at the Squish, and I mean I really looked at him.  Not my (typical?) kind of looking during which I am also planning dinner, a summer vacation, an online diaper order, an exit strategy from our over-scheduled and hectic lives here.  I indulged in the afternoon ritual during which he nurses and then sleeps on my lap while I hold him.  I meditated while I nursed him at bedtime, and I imagined that I would find the time to meditate in my office when I went back to my day job.

Then came the big day.  

The first thing I remember is that at 7am my husband told me I could reach out to him any time that day if I needed support.  He kissed me and gave me a hug, and off he went to his own workday.

Then it was time to get down to business.  I got Squish dressed.  The Bug sat down for breakfast.  I thawed the milk for Squish's first full day at daycare.  I had some oatmeal.  I got Bug dressed.  I got myself dressed.   I may have looked in the mirror and remarked to Bug, "Well.  What do they expect after two babies?"  His response may have been to get on his plastic fire truck and drive away.  

At 8:30, I nursed and changed Squish one last time, and then we were out the door.  Lunchbox for Bug.  Bottles, back-up clothes, diapers, wipes, pacifier, hoodie, hat, mittens, and blanket for Squish.  Wallet, electronic book device, phone, blackberry, and Metro card for me.

At 9:05, one of the teachers in Bug's classroom offered to deal with his jacket and shoes after she heard me say to him, "Today is different.   We have to focus!" 

At 9:33, Squish and I were on the platform of the subway waiting for the R train.  I checked in on him hoping to see him sleeping soundly.  Eyes wide open, the Squish was hardly napping.  I assume he was all hopped up on Mommy's-First-Day-Back-At-The-Office-Vibes.  

At 9:50, I dropped the Squish at Daycare.  I thought everything was going fairly well until the teacher asked if I was going to be okay.  

At 10:15, I was swiping my work ID through the turnstiles of my building.  Upstairs, after some hugs and kind words from the secretaries who sit near my office, I got to work.   Rather, I got out the pump.  Then about fifteen minutes later, I got to work.

After lunch with a friend, I looked at my emails and saw one from my secretary:

[Soandso] from [Daycare] called re [Squish]. [Try to keep reading even though your heart is in your throat and you are ready to run to Daycare this very minute.  You could get there in five minutes if you ran fast, but really, just try to keep reading this.]  [Squish] is fine but won't take his bottles.  [Soandso] has some questions for you.  212-[xxx]-[xxxx]. 

I called Daycare.  Squish, who last nursed at 8:30 that morning, had taken one ounce of milk by 1:40pm.  I tried my best to sound confident and encouraging on the phone.  I hung up and got back to work.  Rather, I got out the pump and cried.  And not the kind of dainty, dabbing the corners of your eyes crying, but the kind of crying that seems to involve muscles in the back of your head.  

After another few hours of work and yet another pumping session, I got an email about my proposal to work part-time for the next five months.  (A proposal that I have already had to revise once.)  It seems there was a new problem with the proposal.

I was told something like - yes - it is a problem that you need to leave at 6pm to get your son every day.  

Duly effing noted.

Was this the worst day I've had at work?  Was it worse than the day when I had to bring my suitcase to work, unsure until two hours before my flight if I would be allowed to join my husband and the Bug  for a weekend with extended family?  Was it worse than spending my fourth wedding anniversary at work until 10pm?  Was it worse than being berated by a partner for not joining a conference call the day I had attended a funeral?  Was it worse than the night when a partner called me (at my family's home in Ohio) at 9:30pm to yell at me for twenty minutes - after which I promptly vomited and started a twenty-four hour migraine?  


But I do know that focusing on the present was nice enough when I was with Bug, Squish, and/or my husband, but it was - very simply - overwhelming that first day back at the office.  If I have any solace, I suppose it is that meditation teaches me to remember that everything changes - absolutely everything - including the painful things.  So here I am, in the present, enjoying my weekend with my dearest ones, and my heart is full.  

1 comment:

  1. I know this post was written weeks ago and I hope the time between then and now has gotten much, much better for the situation. Sick that the company has a problem with you leaving at 6pm.