Friday, August 1, 2008
To work or not to work? Most people don't have a choice when it comes to that question. I've been lucky enough to have worked a little and saved a lot over the years of my career, allowing me the luxury of having this precious time with Phoebe. She's only going to be this little once and I'm not quite ready to miss all the amazing moments that come with the territory. But this week, thanks to Jeff, I got a meaty freelance assignment at his office on healthcare concepts for one of his brands. I worked at their Herald Square office 4 days this week. That means that for the first time ever, my (wonderful) babysitter, Antonia, spent more waking hours with Phoebe than I did. I had serious pangs handing her off in the morning to another woman as I rushed around trying to remember what it was like to be a working person. I've been un-officially "retired" from Advertising for 7 years. In that time, I have done a number of consulting jobs in digital and traditional media, not making very much money, but trying to stay in the game just enough to be able to go back someday if needed. In that time, I was hoping that one of the 4 novels I've written would get published. No such luck. I did, however, write a children's chapter book that should be published this year with the Author House, a digital publisher that prints 1 in every 4 books in America right now. Sounds good, but self-publishing was never my goal. My hope was to sustain myself as a writer of fiction. Perhaps, that day will still come. In the meantime, my coffers are dwindling and any freelance job sounds great right about now.
It was quite a treat to ride the bus into work with Jeff, to hold hands and sleep on his shoulder while I tried to find the energy to be a working person again. And though I've had freelance gigis over the past few years, this is the first as a working mother. What a trip. I am pleased to report that the work came easily and it was really fun working with Stephanie, a talented young art director on Jeff's team. Coming home at night and having about an hour or so with Phoebe gave me a vision of what it might be like to be working full time. I'm not sure I liked that vision very much. I missed her desperately and wanted to eat her up in the moments we had before I'd put her to sleep.
But today, on the last day of the working week, I was given a gift. Alana was over a for a visit and Debbie came by from next door to say hello to her favorite girl. The three of us were hanging out with Phee in her little play space. She loves to stand these days and is great at cruising and moving her self around the couch. But today, she stood in the middle of the room and took a step unaided, and another and maybe one more before our excitement made her sit down. She had a huge smile on her face as we cheered her accomplishment. (She knows she's amazing :) I got the vision that these two special "Aunts" in her life will be cheering her on through many life passages. How lucky we are to have them. I was so thrilled they were there to see her first steps with me.
So I guess both Phoebe and I are taking baby steps back into our futures. I'm not sure mine will include working again, but this little step was enough to give me a reality check of what it might feel like. I'm still processing that. All I can say is that I'm just so happy to have sen those steps. What a treat, what a milestone. There's certainly no stopping us now.