Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bye-bye "glamour"

I started this post from the Starbucks at Newark Airport in early May. At the time, I was writing about the harsh reality of business travel while waiting for a colleague to join me so we could head to a meeting with our client. I was tired and cranky. I never posted what I wrote that day. It felt good to vent it at the time, but it was pitiful and whiny, so I just tucked it away to read later. Later turned out to be this evening.

That morning in May while waiting in Burlington for the flight to Newark, I ran into the mother of one of Johnny's Kindergarten classmates. She was waiting to board the same flight. We chatted. She and her husband were taking a vacation together. I was on another business trip. She kept referring to my "situation" - working, dressed-up, and traveling - as glamorous. I tried to convince her that while the grass may appear greener on my side of the fence; it was not. On that day, for me, there was nary even a blade of grass on my side. As I saw it, she was hogging all of the blankin' grass.

I recounted my day to her. (Here I have borrowed teeny pieces of the Starbucks rant you have been spared) I had woken up at 4:00AM after staying up until 1:30AM preparing for the client meeting and packing for the trip. On our flight I would have to read and re-work an RFP. Then I would sit around at Newark (yes, at Starbucks) for two hours and wait for a colleague to arrive at 9:00AM. We would then prepare for our meeting in the back of the pre-arranged car service. We would meet our client for four hours and come right back to the airport to return home. If I was lucky I would make it home in time to attend T-Ball practice and then frantically cook dinner for four, maybe five. And that was an "easy" trip (no overnight). Where's the glamour in that? I asked this mom (and not rhetorically). She eventually conceded that it may not be as nice as it seemed. She undoubtedly wanted the crazy lady (that would be me) to stop her tirade. She admitted that she just craved some time for herself and thought that it looked nice to take a business trip now and then - to sip some coffee without interruption. I get that. I was so busy whining that I had failed to appreciate those few moments of peace with my coffee. Ordinarily, I managed to savor them.

I also told this mom that I was weeks away from taking a long-awaited four-month break from my life as a working mom. I told her that I was longing to spend some time on her side of the fence, on her golf-course-green, lusciously thick grass.

And now here I am with the abundantly soft green under my bare summer feet. Two weeks ago, I called it quits at work until October when I will return, but only part time. Despite the way that my job exhausts me at times, it was hard to let go of it, even partially and temporarily. I shed tears and procrastinated taking steps that felt final, like notifying dear clients. While it isn't usually glamorous, certainly not to me, my career has defined a big part of me for 13 years and I have loved it. Still, I have been vowing to slow down and I am tired and crave more time with my peanuts. With teary eyes, I did it.

I'm sure I'm in the honeymoon phase right now, and I bet I will miss my job soon, but not yet. Right now I am simply happy. We move in a few weeks and the logistics of this are more or less under control. We sold our house. Hallelujah. Other things are wrapping up too. I finished the certificate level of my mediation program and "graduate" the day after Deano's graduation from residency. Deano's work is slowing down and he comes home early most days. The kids got out of school yesterday for the summer and we made lots of plans for our final days in Vermont.

Today, the first of summer vacation was great. Johnny crept into my room in the early morning to snuggle and we turned off the alarm. No school, no job to go to. When GJ and Sofia woke up we made scones, watched the news, and then they played Wii while I made a bunch of calls related to the move and the sale of the house. Later, Sofia helped me make pizza dough and sang me a song about how much she loves her mommy. We went to the library and out for ice cream. We read at least 11 books. GJ proudly recounted every page of a chapter book he had just finished. We played board games. Deano came home early. We ate outside. He and I had a beer. It was so darned lovely.

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