Motivation, Tinyness

Today the sun was gleaming and strong and sweat-provoking in the same way as the late July sun: clinging to black tank tops, searing.  The weekends are the syrup on the week: I have Corey as my Copilot of The Crazy and he can wrangle one child while I stuff the other one under my shirt, he can point out the scuttling rock crabs while I point my phone at them, collecting shards of late summer for wistful remembrance later.

In the afternoon we dropped Jude and his mini-bike with my Mom, Nolan at his Dad’s, and we took Summer to the gym to sleep/hangout while we garnered a sweat.

I’m employing the slash in the previous sentence because if Summer doesn’t sleep at the gym, she just hangs out there wide-eyed in her car seat, regarding all the maniacs with scab shins and knee socks with a calm tolerance.  She watches us grunt and strain and hammer out our bottled angst,  for an hour if we want, no problem.  Corey and I look at her and we look at each other and we are appalled by the fact that we made a human that is so completely opposite from her older brother.  She’s so completely different from us too, with a mellow sweetness that doesn’t match the frenetic stubborn firecracker-ness of all of her immediate family members.

She smiling these days, and making crazily adorable cooing noises, and she is the most laid back human being I have ever encountered.  People regard me with concern sometimes, ask about the insanity of three children and whether I feel compelled to toss myself into a meat grinder sometimes but honestly, my 2.5 month old has not in any way made my life more challenging.  She sleeps through the night, she naps well, she doesn’t get upset.  She has these eyes that know things, but she also possesses a push-button smile that lights up her face with a dwarfish glee and it is so innocent and possibility-filled that it very often makes me want to cry.  More so lately. Because here’s the thing: I return to work in three weeks.

I say that, and people look at me, and etched in their frown lines is a mixture of pity and sympathy and next usually comes “Oh wow, so soon?”

It wasn’t all that soon before Summer existed on the outside, I could easily envision going back to work because work is what I do best.  It’s what I love.  I am a better career woman than I am a Mom, and I actually think that’s saying something because I know I am not a bad Mother.  I love to strategize and create and bring in money and summon friends out of prospects who were once annoyed by my persistence. I like to feel I’m contributing to something outside my household and I thrive on conquering goals someone else has set for me, particularly the ones that seem absurd.  I’m a nicer woman when I’m learning new things and soaking up brand new technology, sharing it with others.  I went back to work a few months after Jude was born and I didn’t have much of a problem with it.

But Summer.  Her giant eyes and soft tiny fingers and the way she smiles from the crook of my arm.  Her tolerant allowance of Nolan’s constant face in her face, of Jude’s insistence that she have Doggie on her forehead.  Her total trust that I will be there, that I’m going nowhere. The fact that she is my last baby, my tiny and unforseen girl.  My perfect, perfect girl.

It makes me a bit crazy, the welling over of this guilt, the pervasiveness of the pit in my stomach because Corey went back to work a few days after Summer was born and I know it’s different, he doesn’t have milk and he didn’t brew her in his abdomen etc. but why the hell is it just so easy for him to balance the work and the home?  To be our co pilot in the evenings and the weekends and for that to be OK and fine.  I want to have his confidence in his priorities and decisions.  And I can’t.  Because I’m a woman and because that guilt is built in, either way. I know. I know.

It doesn’t make it suck any less.

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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.