We are just days (DAYS!) away from paying Sosie’s last preschool tuition bill when the following words tumble out of her mouth: “Look at all of these things you can BUY for my American Girl.”
Before I knew Rhys as Rhys.
Wait, before I knew Rhys as a spec of an idea on top of an inkling.
I bought an ABC print from http://www.justeleanor.com/ for his room.
We look at it together a lot when it’s time to go to bed and I’m singing Nina Simone.
We like the J jellyfish and the N narwhal the best.
They get the most airtime.
The X X-ray doesn’t usually make the top 20.
But today showed up with snips, snails, puppydog tails, and x-rays for my brusier boy.
Who can’t even walk yet.
Business and pleasure collide for five days while B and I are in Austin for SxSW Interactive. I can focus on two tags (wife and consultant) rather than three, while Sosie gets super crazy carnival time with her grandparents and aunt & uncle. We’re talking TWO pairs of new shoes super crazy carnival time. With SPARKLES.
This year’s SxSWi was filled with ups and downs. Up: Great foundation for the future with content strategy really taking center stage and shoring up immediacy in the industry. Down: B sick with some freaky stomach bug that made eating and having fun a complete chore for him. Down: So much work hanging over my head it made focusing on the here and now of the conference nearly impossible. Up: Meeting, by complete chance, my blogging hero—the woman I read back in 1998 that made me decide to start whirlygirl and dig up all this mess.
Two early girly blogs in the late nineties, two different life paths with hairpin curvy roads, two currently dusty blogs reaching out for relevancy, and a lot of Spinanes songs in-between. SxSWi always makes me nostalgic for those dimly lit, late night posts, authored over a glass of wine. But now, when I stay up late trying to recreate the moment, I just find I’d so much rather be in bed snuggled next to B, listening to my Munchkin snore from across the room. That’s relevant.
Sosie got out of bed twice tonight and asked for three encores of “The Way You Look Tonight.” I’d rather sit in the dark, rubbing her back, singing thirty thousand encores than manipulate more endless streams of pointless charts and graphs.
But guess which one I’m doing right now?
Nothing like pulling the mom-midnight-oil to make four dozen sugar cookies and address 24 Tinkerbell valentines for Sosie’s school party, only to have her wake us all up at 4am with the lovely sound of vomiting. Adventures in futility.
Favorite Part: Because I let Sosie sample some (or maybe a lot) of the extra frosting, everything that came back up was florescent pink. Fabulous!
I used to slip out in the middle of the night to catch the 5:30am flight to the client-of-the-moment. Or I’d drop Sosie off at school and after an extra long hug and big kiss, I’d take off and leave it to Daddy to both pick up and pick up the pieces in my absence.
But I always thought she knew. Even at six months when I started to pick up travel again after her birth, she had a sixth sense for my vanishing act. Those early pre-flight mornings were the only mornings she woke up for a midnight snack. It’s like she could smell the suitcase, the lunch and dinner prep, the incessant note writing and just wanted one more cuddle before I shipped off.
Now it’s a different ballgame. Sure, I still pack the lunches and ready the dinners. But I no longer hide the suitcase. And before I go, I can actually tell Sosie that I have to go to work tonight, but I’ll be home tomorrow. And then she launches the first of her many prickly arrows, landing deep, deep, deep in my heart: “But I don’t want you to go.”
She understands that Mommy works. Now thanks to a new laptop with a video camera, she understands that Mommy sometimes works in weird hotel rooms with strange lighting schemes and sometimes in suites with nicer kitchen appliances than we own. She understands that I’m away and that I miss her and that I’ll come home and that we’ll sink back into our normal routine again. After all of this growing up she’s busy doing every day, it’s still incredibly amazing to have these conversations with her and this level of understanding between us.
But she doesn’t quite fully understand yet the difference between “want to go” and “have to go.” We’re working on that one together because, frankly, I don’t think I fully understand it either. Seems like in a perfect world they wouldn’t be able to coexist, no? Or perhaps in a perfect world, they would mean the exact same thing.
Presentation? Smashing. PowerPoint? 100% finalized and blessed. Flight #1? Caught an earlier one out of ATL by the skin of my teeth (they literally closed the cabin door behind me.) Available in-flight garnishes for my club soda? Both lemons and limes.
I think I’ll go out of my way to request a room on the 13th floor from now on.
I thought hotels and other public buildings into which you walk on a daily basis and to which you entrust your life eliminated their 13th floors. Or is that just an urban myth generated to create plot points for Stephen King novels?
But the thing is, I could really use a little luck right now. In the next 24 hours I’m ATL > BOS > LAX. And along the way I have to give a presentation to about 50 global brand managers on a process and deliverable that I’m only about 37% familiar with. And that PowerPoint that kept me up last weekend? The one that I stayed up until 5am this morning revising (just as I predicted)? That’s going to the company’s EVP for review tomorrow, which probably means a few (hundred) frantic morning phone calls to finalize.
The thread that’s holding it all together for me is my two monkeys who are no doubt sleeping soundly at home. And how at this time tomorrow the three of us will be slipping off to five days in a sunny, warm paradise together. Well, them and the egg over easy, bacon, toast, and coffee that will be delivered to my door in roughly 5 hours. With all of that going for me, who need a lucky number?
Our neighborhood babysit swap has morphed into my way of bringing work home over the weekend relatively guilt free and actually getting it done. But last night I had roughly two hours of quiet post-bedtime swap time to cram in over seven hours of work. Left with the choice to forgo the bed my husband is warming for me, or waste a precious Sunday with my family, you’ll find me at home, here at the dining room table hunched over my laptop, deciphering spreadsheet stats and aligning pie charts in PowerPoint at roughly 2:30am.
I’m not quite sure how a working wife and mother breaks the cycle of burning the midnight oil. My days are a never-ending cycle of multitasking with next to no quiet moments for purely concentrated nose-to-the-grindstone type work. The commitment I made to myself for 2010 was to onboard a junior protégé to assume the majority of this work. But while I valiantly try, the deadlines still loom large, with clients sending their raw materials in at 8am on a Saturday expecting a Monday morning turn-around. And Sosie still frowns whenever she sees me take my laptop out of my bag.
At least now by picking back up this blog, I’ll be able to add a little connection to this midnight oil. Record these moments in an attempt to see patterns emerge. It has to be more permanent than the actual work I’m doing right now, sure to be completely revised by the client as soon as the sun rises on this new day. But no matter. I’ve got something to show for it all.
Alarm went off to start this day 24 hours ago. My time sheet is on overdrive today.
Still, probably better for me than for Jack Bauer.