When things change, I have a tendency to lose contact with people. Including very close and beloved friends and family. I admit it. Did you leave a voicemail on my phone this week? Or send me a nice email or letter? Or poke me on Facebook? Right now I should be calling and writing and poking you all back. But most of you are asleep, and I can't find my phone, so this is the best it's going to get. But I will, I promise, call/write/poke you soon.
My first week at work was overwhelming but fun and interesting. I must say, I'm pleased with the old noggin's ability to cope with the receipt of copious information after almost three years of exclusively domestic cerebral activity. Nevertheless, I find myself flashing on this cartoon. But all in all, work is good.
Home is good too. Matt is putting me to shame as a house dad. When I come home the house is clean, dinner is ready, and the dynamic duo seems happy. I put Jane to bed while Matt clears up after dinner, and when I come back downstairs, he's working his night job. Last week when I came home from work, Jane would say, "You have a good time at the store?" The only place I used to go regularly for long periods of time. She was upset when I left, but in a general sort of way. This week, I think she has a better understanding of what's happening. And so do I... You know when you haven't exercised for a while, and it's hard to get yourself moving but once you've started it feels great; and you think the next day you're going to really feel it? But the next day, you feel just fine? And you think to yourself, "Hey that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be!" and go about your business? And then, the next morning, you wake up and you feel as though you've been visited in the night by someone wielding soap in a sock? And you can't believe you thought you were okay, because clearly, you are going to die? Well that's what happened to me. The first three days at work flew by, followed by the shock of a three day weekend at home. Yeah, my eyes welled up when I left the house, and when I came home and saw Jane, and remembered what I had been missing all day. But she was having a blast with her Daddy all day. And I was reassured by the knowledge that in addition to being new, interesting, and fun, my new job was essential to our solvency. It seemed to me that this was enough to circumvent the sort of emotional explosion I might have experienced had I left Jane at a younger age or under different circumstances.
Naturally, I was wrong.
I was exhausted last night, but all I could do was think--about a spreadsheet I'd worked on all day (had I messed it up?), about the dearth of wearable non-lounge clothes in my wardrobe, about painting Jane's room, about finding parking downtown, about blah blah blah blah blah. And then WHAM. Like an effing truck. Not heartache or discomfort, but Sadness, the kind of weeping that shakes you and won't let you go. I cried and cried and cried for my little girl, sleeping peacefully in the next room. I cried and cried and cried and cried. Each time I started to sleep, there it was again. And I cried a little more. Like you cry when you're a little one, without any hope of emotional control. I didn't have any epiphanies or changes of heart. I didn't find any new comfort. I barely even slept. But it was a new day this morning, and all of us seemed to wake up in a better place. I guess it's just part of the process.
It was frosty this morning, and Matt bundled Jane up while I got ready. We all went outside together. I started the car and scraped the windows. Jane thought since I wasn't leaving right away and it would be safe to run down the hill. I called out a goodbye, and she turned around and came back. She didn't throw a fit. She cried but stood still and gave me a kiss. And I got in the car, and got out of the driveway as fast as I could. Just as before, it was good to be at working. But on finding her in the bath when I got home tonight, it was all I could do to keep from weeping. She looked as though she'd grown a year since I left. She had a bubbly goatee. "You have nice beard, mama?" She always prompts us when we forget our lines. When I picked her up, she nestled her head in my neck and squeezed me, looking at our reflection in the mirror, and said, "I love you so much!" The first time she's ever said it to me (she says it to Eeyore all the time). There's just nothing, nothing like it. I am so grateful to be her mom...there's just nothing I can say to express it.
Tomorrow morning, we'll get up. I'll make coffee. Matt will make a fire. We'll read Pocketfull of Posies (thanks Aunty Tomye). Then I'll clothe myself in some desperate combination of my ill-fitting attire (a conundrum deserving of it's own post, coming soon) and go to work. We'll say goodbye. Probably with tears. We'll have another challenging, enjoyable, good day. When I come home, I'll be stunned once again by the way Jane's changed and grown, even during just one day, and I'll wonder how I survived apart from her. We'll do it again on Friday, and again and again, until we're very good at it. As for tonight, with just a few tears shed for release, I think I'll be able to sleep.