Meant To Be

Almost as soon as it started, I was filled with a sudden, sweaty-palmed recognition.

Ahh, shit, this.  Yes, this is what it felt like before, and the time before too.  How the hell does the insta-forgetting happen every time?  Mother Nature is shrewd, cunning, stunningly effective.

***

We’d talked about it, a few months before.  We’d even decided that I’d make an appointment to get my IUD removed.  I had a few years before I hit forty, but only a few.  Time was sparse, fleeting.  Jude, with his grumpy old man tendencies, could probably benefit from the shock of a sibling, and I had an uncomfortable knawing around my gut that my family — as insane and robust and amazing as it was — might not be complete yet.  But then, something big shifted and it became apparent that my career path might have to shift,  and fast.  I started nudging my linkedin networks, perusing the local hot companies, assessing possibilities.

“Now,” I said to Corey,” Is probably not the time.”

So almost as soon as a fifth family member became a possibility, it became impossible, and that was OK too.  As it was, we had a grade schooler and a whippersnapper and not enough sleep.  I wanted to write a book,  anyway, I’d been threatening for goddamned years now.  Corey’s business was about to rocketlaunch, and a baby wasn’t in the cards.

***

It was a combination of things: a sudden requirement to get up at 3am to let out an irritatingly miniscule pee.  A swift, perplexing aversion to the smell of coffee and even the possibility of smelling any kind of red meat.  And my chest.  I was way too far past puberty to be developing a new cup size, and so I hunched in the bathroom at midnight with a covert package of First Response without telling Corey what I was doing.

***

The next morning  the full gamut of symptoms rushed in as if  they’d been bottled up, waiting to bubble out.  The nausea came in rolling waves of sickness, the left side of my temple pounded constantly.   I pulled on tights, a black button up blouse, a pencil skirt, willing away the taunting vomit.   Twice, I threw up out the window, on to a black rain-slicked street, grateful for the cloak of 6:30 AM.

If there’s anything as stressful as death and divorce, it might be starting a dream career with the hottest tech company in the city while inadvertently pregnant and wretchedly ill.

***

I told my management team once the danger period was over, once I knew that indeed, this baby was on its way.  They were shocked — understandably so — but extremely good about it all.  They don’t know me well enough yet  to know  for sure that I won’t let a baby mangle my ability to achieve my business goals in any way, and in fact, that my underdog feelings are more likely to compel me.   But I do intend to prove it, of course, and now that I’m comfortably  cocooned in the second trimester,  I can see I won’t have to do that while retching out the car window, which is excellent.

Baby number 3 means the development of a much earlier belly, and I’m shocked every time I look down at my stomach.  Baby number 3, coming this summer.   Who the hell would ever have thought, you know?

New Normal

When I leave the house at 6:48, the air is black and immobile, still bated with sleep, icy.  I tiptoe across the half-frozen grass in wobby feet unaccustomed to high heels, and will myself not to tip over under the weight of my laptop bag, gym clothes, duffel coat.

I’ve made lunches and loaded laundry the night before,  but I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve forgotten something and after I’ve acquired my Starbucks latte (can’t turn on the nespresso machine at home in the morning, lest the baby wake up), the memory slaps my forehead.

Mom,” I mutter, and hit her number on the car stereo.  She’ll rescue me, she always does.

Mom.  I forgot the money for Nolan’s book fair today. Can you run cash down to him?

She does.  And, I find out later, she brings a bag of chicken breasts too, and some cranberry bran muffins for the boys.  And while I commute downtown, Corey wakes up slowly, packs Nolan’s lunch in his backpack, reminds him for the sixth time to remember his coat.  He picks up discarded cheerios and tosses diaper bags out the window and I arrive at the office at just before 7:30, in icy high heels, sporting a mysterious fruit leather stain on the side of my skirt.

***

I’ve worked full time from home for the last seven years, with just two months off after I had Jude in 2012.  I thought I had balance down pretty decently: I was able to work out every day, keep the house clean, finish my calls and proposals and hang out with my kids and husband on a fairly acceptable level.   There weren’t a lot of extra hours for lolling on the couch, but I’m not much of a loller, anyway.

But the hour and a half round trip commute has definitely thrown my carefully crafted balance into a wildly spinning mayhem.  I can’t really work out at lunch anymore, and I can’t change back into my sweatpants.  I can’t run down the street to Nolan’s school if he’s forgotten his warm gloves, and I’m not able to get up between calls to put the whites in the dryer.  Corey is amazing but his acceptable levels of messiness are not the same as mine and when I get home from work the chaos hurts my skull.

I feel like I have all these little fluttery paper pieces of life floating from my brain, and I’m running around, tossing them back in there, but each time I toss I create a wind and flurry up a bunch more, inciting them to sprinkle out again.

Something has to fail everyday: my fitness, my family, my work, or the state of my house.  Usually, these past two weeks, it’s been the state of my house. ( My car got towed from my work last week and my Mom had to watch the boys till I could make it home because Corey was coaching…and all she could find Nolan to eat was a red pepper and half an English muffin.  So you know.)  And of all those things, I guess house cleanliness/stockedness is the least important, right?  I’m flailing, is what I’m saying. And hoping that eventually it just smoothly comes together.

***

Last two burning items:

1) I really love my new job so far.  The people are brilliant, helpful, and quirkily likeable.  My team is 99% young guys, and I feel like a grizzled newspaper veteran, but they are super good to me and the product itself is truly revolutionary.  I’m stoked to sell it.

2) On traffic.  There’s shitloads of construction in Vancouver right now, and a lot of people waiting patiently in line to get to the lights.  If you spot an asshole driver who cuts the line into the construction lane to try to get out of waiting his turn, do you sigh and let him in or stubbornly pull up your car tight to the one in front of you to not let him in because he should wait his turn too, dammit?

Last Day

Today was my last day at a job I’ve had for over seven years.  I had that  job before Nolan could talk, while I lived in Calgary, long before I met Corey, when the Jeep was clean and free from jam stains and splattered lattes on the ceiling.  I worked that job in my yoga pants with puffy eyes and determined focus, intent on building my career as steadfastly  as I was building a new life for my baby boy in a city of glass on the West Coast.

The job took me on day trips to LA and four day jaunts to New York City, it showed me American cities I’d only seen before in the movies: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago.  It introduced me to some of the most whip-smart women I’ve ever met, and it demanded hell and high water from me.  I was happy to give my everything, though, because in return it gave me flexibility.  It gave me the opportunity to breastfeed my baby while I held calls with clients and typed with one finger, and to shamelessly bring a hospital grade pump to a working Conference weekend.  It afforded me the opportunity to take an eight week maternity leave in a country where most women take a handful of weeks.

But of course the one constant in life is change, and I am at a crossroads in so many ways in my life.  I have a smoldering passion that will die if I don’t address it, I have a deep urge to create solutions that mean something, signs are clanging in a million different florescent ways that I have come to a fork in the road and I can’t just stand here panting.  I have to veer sharp right, and then off the path, and go tumbling into the trees, aiming for something above satisfaction and hovering around delight.

I’m going hard after delight.