Saturday, December 31, 2011


I doubt I will make it to midnight. Years past, I welcomed the new year with friends, drinks, kisses and songs.  This year, I will stay cocooned in my bed, with my sleeping husband and baby.  I will rouse myself and my husband briefly, we will kiss each other, kiss our sleeping little boy and welcome 2012.

2011 has been an amazing year -- amazingly wonderful and so very tough.  But, I know that I will always look back on this year as the year that my little boy was born, the year that I became a mother, and the year that my husband and I were transformed into a family.  For those things, I am so very grateful.  We drove past the hospital where the little man was born yesterday, and I felt nothing but warm fuzzy feelings and cozy memories of a snowy night in February when our midwife announced that we had a son.  I remember driving home from the hospital, feeling so vulnerable and that the world was so bright, so colorful.  I remember the months that followed, learning my little boy.  I learned that he liked to patted so softly when falling asleep.  I learned that I loved having him in the bed right next to me.  I learned how to finally get out of the house on my own.  My husband and I learned how to relate to each other all over again.  And that was the part of the year that was tough.  I was not prepared for how this year would rock my marriage.  How it would tear us down in front of each other, and how difficult it would be to learn to love again.  Despite the sharpness, the bitterness of this year, I believe my husband and I are stronger as a couple than we ever have been before.

2012.  How I look forward to this year.  This year, I will escape from my biglaw job.  Even though it is still a few months away, I can taste the freedom that leaving biglaw will bring.  I can feel the relief and the stress melting away at just the thought of leaving.  Ah, how I long for this freedom.  It feels so long in coming, and the taste of it so sweet.  This year, we will escape the city and return home.  We will (god-willing) sell our house in the city, and buy a new house and land in our home state.  We will purchase the home that the little man will grow up in, the place that he will call home.  In my mind, I can see my husband, the little man, the Monster and I walking our new land.  Creating a path over the land that, with time, will become well troden.   I will cry when we leave the house that we brought the little man home to from the hospital, but I will know that there are such good things ahead of us.  And then, this fall, I will return to a job that I love, to a boss that I adore and to coworkers who are true friends.  

There is so much more that I want for 2012.  

Most of all, I want my husband to find a job that he adores.  For him, I want a job that makes him feel like all of his hard work has been worth the sacrifice.  I want him to wake up excited each morning, a little scared too, of the challenge that lies ahead of him.  

I want to write more -- three times a week.  I want to write with reckless abandon and not be concerned with perfection.  I want to believe that I what I have to say is worthy of being written, even if I cannot make it perfect.  I want to stop caring about perfection.  I want to banish the belief that if something is not perfect, it should be discarded, that it should be erased, deleted.  (Thank you biglaw for instilling in me a belief that only the perfect should be published.  A fine belief for biglaw, but not a great belief for small law, let alone life.)

I want to run.  I want to push my body and feel the achy tiredness of a long run.  I want to loose the little belly that remains from the little man.  Meh.  I just want to run, if the little belly disappears, fabulous, but I'll survive and love my body either way.

I want to stop buying things.  My biglaw job has afforded us the ability to purchase without thought.  I don't want my son growing up believing that things are more important than people, and I don't want him believing that we can just buy things without needing them.  So, I want to stop buying stuff.  I am fine buying the things I NEED, but I want to cut back on the stuff that I WANT or just WOULD LIKE to have.

I am so excited for 2012.  There are fabulous days ahead, of that I am sure.  And I am excited for what I do not know is coming.  Will the house sell quickly?  ( I REALLY hope so.)  Will we find the house and land of our dreams?  (Whatever we find will be great.)  Will I get pregnant this year?  (Maybe) Will I run a half-marathon? (Absolutely.)  

So here's to 2011, an amazing year.  And here's to 2012.  I cannot wait to see what this year brings. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thing 2 Comes Home

Late September 2010, J and I finally headed to my family house in the country.  Normally, we spend almost every weekend in the fall out in the country, but for one reason or another, last fall we were stuck in the city.  That weekend it was gray and drizzly.  J, Thing 1, Thing 2 and I spent the weekend curled by the fireplace, working, reading and napping.  In my memory, it was a wonderful, cozy weekend.  When we packed the car to return to the city on Sunday afternoon, Thing 2 tried to jump into the car.  He uncharacteristically missed, yelped and fell onto the ground.  J helped him into the car.

The next day, we thought Thing 2's knee was swollen.  It was probably because he missed when he jumped into the car, we thought.  We gave Thing 2 a few days, but his knee remained swollen, and he was just a bit less himself.  Off to the vet.  Maybe lyme's disease, said the vet.  We came home with a bag full of meds.  

Two days later, Thing 2 was not doing better.  He was definately worse.  His nose was swollen.  He was losing weight.  He didn't come upstairs to the bedroom with us, instead preferring to sleep in the kitchen. Off to the vet.   Maybe an allergic reaction, said our vet.  We switched meds.  

Two days later, Thing 2 was even worse.   Off to the vet.  Different meds, different possibilities.  For two weeks, we went to the vet almost every other day.  On a Tuesday night, I sat with Thing 2 from 4 to 5 a.m. as he laid in our room, panting and in obvious pain.

The next day, J and Thing 2 saw a different vet who immediately sent them to the emergency animal hospital in town.  Thing 2 was admitted immediately.  J called.  He could barely get the words out.  He didn't want to tell me because he didn't want to hurt me.  Thing 2 was in serious condition.  Maybe cancer, maybe an auto-immune disorder.  Tests were ordered.  We would be contacted the next morning.

On Thursday morning, the emergency vet called.  She was wonderful:  thorough, compassionate and encouraging of my questions.  The prognosis was not good.  They could not figure out what was wrong, and Thing 2 was fading.  On Thursday afternoon the vet called to say they were going to try a last effort.  She said that we should come visit Thing 2 that night, to say goodbye.  I remember sitting in my office, taking the call and trying to be strong.  I closed the door, crawled under my desk and just cried.  I left the office early that night with puffy eyes.

We walked into the pet-equivalent of the ICU.  I walked over to Thing 2 and dropped onto the floor next to my puppy.  He was so very weak.  He was refusing all food.  He hadn't stood or moved in twelve hours.  The vet reiterated that it didn't look good.  I held Thing 2's head and cried.  Then, like I had so many times before, I picked up a couple pieces of food and tried to feed him by hand.  To everyone's shock, he took the food and started munching away.   We stayed as long as we could, me on the floor in my work clothes, feeding my dog by hand.  When I stood to leave, Thing 2 tried to stand.  As we walked out of his area, he tried to follow.  And as we turned the corner, I recognized a familiar sound.  Thing 2 was howling for us.

The next morning, the wonderful vet called to say that Thing 2 was doing so much better.  He was walking around, eatting and loving everyone.  We visited again Friday night to a much improved Thing 2.  On Saturday morning, we were told Thing 2 could come home.

When we drove up to the emergency vet to pick up Thing 2, I was so thankful.  I knew that we were lucky, that we had dodged a bullet.  Thing 2 was coming home.  I walked into the waiting area, grasping his collar and leash.  Ten minutes later, Thing 2 came trotting down the hallway to me, tail going a mile a minute.

Thing 2 was much changed.  He had lost 25 pounds.  He would always bear the scars of this illness (a severe auto-immune disorder).  He would probably never run with me again.  But I didn't care.  Thing 2 was coming home.  As long as he was happy and not in pain, I was just happy to have my Thing 2 back.  That night, I refused to leave his side.  I sat next to him, next to the fire, telling him how I was so proud of him.  He had been such a fighter.  I would do everything to keep him happy and healthy.

After such a rough few weeks, Thing 2 was home.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Are You Sure You Want To Do That?

I have not kept my fighting-for-part-time situation a secret from my coworkers.  In fact, I have tried to do the opposite.  Keeping this struggle a secret, known only to the powers-that-be, my family and me, while perhaps safer for me, is not what I want to do.  There is power in a fight being public.  There is liberation is saying "this is not fair" to the group that is trying to put you down.  There is unity in telling others and having them stand beside you in the fight.
I guess it should not be surprising that I had a coworker tell me that I should just go along with whatever the Firm/the partner wanted.  Don't I know that he is powerful?  Aren't I aware that he could make my life a living hell?  Don't I know that it could be worse?  Am I sure that I want to do this?
Yes, I know.  I am aware.  And, yes, I am sure.
For years, women have been told to keep their problems private, that their problems are relegated to the domestic sphere, that their problems are not the problems of the public.  And it is that privacy that, in part, has kept women down. 
I have no intentions of running through the halls screaming.  I will not intentionally burn bridges.  BUT, I will diplomatically state what the problems are.  I will make my voice heard.  I will not be quiet. 
A strange thing has happened since I decided that I would not go quietly.  For years, I have felt as though the Firm, the work, the people were draining my self-confidence.  I felt as though I had no power over my life.  I could have hours, days and months taken away from me.  I had no voice. 
About a year and a half ago, my husband and I had planned a long weekend away and I was going to take Monday off.  At the last minute (about 5:00 on Friday), I was told that I was needed in the office on Monday, just in case one of the higher ups had questions for me on a pro bono brief that I had written a month earlier.  A bit later that evening, the same partner called and said, "hey, since you're not going away this weekend, would you pitch in on a project on Saturday and Sunday?"  I wrote a snarky email and said "no."  It was the only time I said no to work (well, that time and the request to pitch in on a "time intensive" project the day that I went out on maternity leave).  But since I have decided to fight, I feel like I finally have a voice.  I feel like, bit by bit, my self-confidence may be eeking back in.  I have decided to stand-up for what I believe in, and it feels so very good.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Time To Fight

I want to yell.  I want to scream.  I am so very angry.  This just isn't fair.  Instead, I sit here calmly, waiting for the next chapter of my life, this drama, my career to unfold. 
I knowingly chose to return to work part-time.  I was and am fully aware of how part-time attorneys are viewed in my office: we are less than others, we are not committed to the work, we are no longer team-players.  I know the attitude.  I know the views.  But those attitudes, those views?  They are wrong.  My commitment does not wane because my desk is now adorned with pictures of a beautiful son, and I choose to spend Fridays at home with him.  My commitment and willingness to work is not less because it is easier to breastfeed an actual living, breathing baby than to hook myself up to a machine. 
But because I became pregnant, took the maternity leave offered and am now utilizing the Firm's part-time policy, I am less of an attorney.
The liason from the home office called me yesterday.  She had already spoken to the Partner in my office.  She spoke with trepedation in her voice.  She asked whether I was ready to return to the office on the fourth day, perhaps I was ready to come back full-time?  No, I am not.  According to the partner, my return on the fourth day was not up for discussion, but it was "fine" for me to stay part-time for a little longer.  His statement, his attitude, his belief is not in accord with Firm policy.  He will not follow Firm policy.  According to him, I already "agreed" to return.  No.  I did not.  I will not. 
And now I am faced with this:  Do I fight?  Do I try and stand up?  Do I say:  "The Firm has a policy.  The policy is designed to help attract and retain women and mothers.  You will follow the policy."  Do I yell: "I am not less because I am a mother.  I am not less because I 'only' work 40 hours per week."  
I know that if I stand, if I fight, I am burning bridges. 
And that pisses me off.  I should not have to fight for what the Firm has already agreed to, what the Firm acknowledges is good policy.  I should not have to defend that women are not less because we are mothers. 
I refuse to stand on the sidelines any longer.  I refuse to allow the powers-that-be in my office to continue to hold their antiquated views over every woman's head, an ever-present and silent threat to our careers.
Maybe I will burn this bridge.  I do not want to.  I want to be treated fairly.  I want to be judged by the quality of my work and not my anatomy. 
I will fight.  It is time for me to move on anyway.  And if I do not fight, who will?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thing 2

Before the Monster (our 100 pound, year old puppy) and the little man, Thing 1 and Thing 2 dominated our lives. Thing 1's story is for another day, but for the moment know that she was an english bulldog, born in 2001 and was one hundred percent J's dog. Thing 1 was a sweetheart who lived on the softest piece of furniture she could find.

About half-way through law school, I decided I wanted a dog of my own.  A dog that would love me like Thing 1 loved J.  The fall of my third year of law school, I began the search for Thing 2. I debated breeds, researched breeders, called breeders and owners. Around Thanksgiving, I found the breeder.  She was located twelve hours away, had glowing references and health clearances.  I was a poor law student, so I picked up a job to pay for the puppy and related expenses.

Thing 2 was born in January.  For eight weeks, I lived for the pictures of Thing 2 that we received from the breeder.  I watched him grow from a tiny little puppy into an adorable fluff-ball.   Finally, the week arrived to pick-up Thing 2. I planned all week.  I did our final puppy shopping: adorable toys, a puppy dog bed (that lasted all of a day), puppy shampoo and rug shampoo.  I was ready.

J and I got up at three in the morning to make the twelve hour drive to the breeder's house.  I remember sitting in the breeder's kitchen, waiting for the puppy -- my puppy -- to be brought from the down stairs puppy den.  I saw the door open, and a twelve pound ball of fluff attacked my face with a flurry of kisses.  Finally, Thing 2 was mine, and after two seconds, I was completely wrapped around his paw.  Then, Thing 2 got the hiccups and settled into my lap as we received instructions on his care.

Thing 2 slept in my lap the entire ride home (and then refused to sleep when we finally got home).   I remember looking down at him and being deliriously happy with my new puppy. That semester, I rigged my schedule to be home more. I would race home to spend time with Thing 2.  I would walk him through our neighborhood as he pranced and fawned at the attention from everyone.  He would get scared easily as a puppy and would race to me for comfort.

Thing 2
That summer, I studied for the bar cramped into a small room in our new apartment. Thing 2 stayed by my side.  He would cuddle at my feet while I studied, waking only at lunchtime with  high-pitched yawn.  In those final few weeks before the bar, when I was stressed beyond belief, Thing 2 was the only living thing I could stand.  He didn't seem to mind me repeating over and over various rules of evidence or the elements of crimes.  After the bar,  he was delirously happy when I spent three days sleeping in bed with him beside me.

After I started at the firm, he would wait up for me on nights that I had to work late. When I walked through the door, he would snort at me, walk upstairs and then ignore me. The next morning he would be sitting in front of me, just waiting for me to wake up.   I had been forgiven.

Thing 2 loved to sleep next to me on the bed. He loved to go to my family house in the country and tear around the yard and then collapse in a heap. He was the typical younger brother to Thing 1. He would wait for her to fall asleep and then pounce or sit on her head, depending on his mood. When I would get sick, he never left my side. Even though he easily weighed 105, he thought he was a lap dog and would huff down on my lap whenever I sat on the ground.

When I finally became pregnant last summer, he was gentle and more protective. He loved me like Thing 1 loved J, and I loved him right back.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Set-Up: An Update

Some assignments ask that you make 2 + 2 = 4 in three hours when you really need five or six hours.  I get those assignments.  We're biglaw attorneys and cranking out a high quality work product quickly is part of the job.  I may get flustered and a bit stressed, but I can do it and have done it many, many times.  

Some assignments ask that you make 2 + 2 = 9.  (This can also be the "guess what I'm thinking game.")  Those beasts are trickier and always land you in hot water one way or another.  This non-billable research project is of that variety.  I can't answer the question.  I've tried.  I've run it by other associates.  They agree.  I've spent hours upon hours on the question.  I am no where.  I have run back to the partner with results, only to be told they are insufficient.  Try harder.  So I do.  I try harder.  I spend more time, more energy, more resources.  I show my results, yet again.   

Last night, I received an email from the partner:  insufficient.  I clearly had not spent the time or energy.  I mentioned that I had billable work that was going undone.  It didn't matter.  I needed to try harder.   And now, I cannot help but believe that this project truly is a set-up.  A set-up for failure right in time for review season.   

Now, I anticipate the conversation at my review:  "The project did not go well.  I slacked off.  I did not use my resources well.  I am insufficient."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Inner-Jerk

The stars aligned this morning, and I managed to make it down town thirty minutes before I had to be in the office.  Thirty minutes to myself that I did not anticipate or plan.  It was blissful.  Since I had the time, I decided to grab a cup of expensive coffee.  The line was short and I was soon waiting for my lovely coffee.  

The barista making the coffee was in her grove: checking the cups, steaming milk and moving the cups along.  The song playing in the store changed and she started singing.  She appeared happy.  I found it endearing.  And then something in my head snapped: she was happy at her job.  I am not.  She was genuinely enjoying what she was doing at that moment.  What was endearing became annoying.  I became grumpy, took my coffee and trudged into the office.  

A few years ago, a guy left our office for a clerkship.  A month before he left, he began transitioning one of his cases to me.  One day, he came into my office, closed the door and said:  "I'm not sure what it is about this place, but if you stay for any length of time, it turns you into an a$$hole."  

He was right.  Something about the environment brings out the jerk in people.  The people who survive in our office, who last more than a year, we all become a bit of a jerk.  I've written about snapping at the delivery guy.  I have seen a senior associate be condescending to a waitress, just because he could.  I have seen support staff scream at junior associates over truly mundane matters because that member of the support staff was herself just torn up and down.  Maybe it is self-defense.  Whatever it is, I am not a fan.  I'm not a fan of it in others, and I hate when I see my own inner-jerk come out.  But most of all, I do not want my son to see that part of me.  I want that part of me to go away for good.  There is a time and a place to be a jerk, to bring out one's inner b, but it should not be a routine way of dealing with others, with life.  And it most definately should not be evoked simply by seeing others be happy in their jobs.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Set-Up

My biglaw firm has a formal policy that allows women to return from maternity leave on a part-time schedule. Because I do not want to disclose which biglaw firm I work for, I do not want to give too many details about the policy. Suffice it to say that I am supposed to be able to set my own schedule for a set period of time and I am not supposed to be penalized, for advancement purposes, by using the policy. Right.

A month before I returned from my maternity leave, I sent an e-mail to the leader of my practice department. In line with the policy, I requested to return to work part-time. I didn't come up with my proposed schedule out of thin air. It is actually one of the suggested schedules in our attorney manual.

In response to my proposal, I received an email saying that we needed to discuss "this." The partner was NOT receptive. at. all. My favorite part of the conversation eWas when he said that the firm was "trying to be family friendly, but he was concerned that I was setting a bad precedent." Whuh?! He concluded the conversation with the not-so-subtle threat that if I returned part-time, I would be relegated to document review and research projects (I am a mid-level, almost senior associate).

After the call, I wish I could say that I was surprised, that I was blind-sided by his demeanor and the way he was handling the issue. I was not surprised. I was angry and pissed as hell, but not surprised. I talked with other associated who had returned from maternity leave part time, and they had received the same reception.

For the last few months, I have not heard a word from the partner, until yesterday. He called. He asked if I had time. I told him what I was working on. His response: so you're not that busy. He had a project. A non-billable research project.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Still Hungry

Being pregnant, an attorney (especially at biglaw) and working is tough.  So is being a mom, an attorney and someone else's source of food.  And, its tough in ways that no one warns you about:

I'm hungry.  All. The. Time.  We have a catered lunch every day at my office (sounds great until you realize that the reason lunch is catered is so that you don't leave the office. ever.).  Everyone thinks its cute when a pregnant lady brings two heaping plates full of food to her desk.  And then goes back for more.  But its not so cute when you aren't pregnant any more.  When you return to work, there are no longer any visible signs that your body is STILL sustaining the life of another.  But you are.  As a result, you are HUNGRY and you eat the same amount you did in your last trimester.  Everyone who thought it was cute before, now looks at you with a mixture of pity and confusion.  Pity, because they think that you forgot that you are no longer pregnant and shouldn't be eating that much.  And confusion because somehow, you are not continuing to gain weight like you did in your last trimester.  And keep in mind that this is not a hunger beast that can be ignored.  The beast demands to be fed.  NOW.  Which is why I have left over fudge in my desk that I keep eating.

The Apparatus.  Breastfeeding the little man has been an amazing experience, and I am so glad that I stuck to it during the early, very tough moments.  I don't have the same affinity for the boob machine.  It makes weird noises.  When combined with a day's worth of milk, its heavy.  It is seriously expensive.  It has so many parts, all of which must be cleaned (I slack and use the cleaning wipes, but I'm kind of convinced I'm eventually going to give the plague to LM because I don't clean everything properly).  This leads to my least favorite part of pumping: the schlepping.  The pump accompanies me on the T.  The pump gets carried around the office.  The pump accompanies me on any business trips.  Did I mention that its heavy?

I take it from my office to the mother's room.  And then I have to figure out how to clean the parts that I should have cleaned at home the night before, but was too tired to even care about at that point.  The kitchen?  Dudes could ask questions about all the parts.  I know I should be proud of nursing and answer with conviction if they ask, but in reality?  I would rather avoid the whole topic with the dudes in my office.  Expectant momma?  I will share all I can, in a heartbeat.  So this leads me to dodging around the office with my pump parts, trying to find warm soapy water.  After two months of this routine, I already hate the thing. Oh, and did I mention that the apparatus bites?  Literally, the thing bites me.  It hurts.  I want to yell at it, but I'm already concerned about the weird noises coming out of the mother's room.     

The Awkwardness.  Every three hours, I stop what I am doing, get up from my desk and trudge to the mother's room.  If its the first or last pump of the day, I need to bring my purse with me to transport the apparatus.  If I should skip or delay the mandated break?  Leaking, which is even more awkward that trying to excuse yourself from a meeting or even casual conversation to go pump.  

If you tell a dude that you have to go pump, in my experience you get one of two reactions.  One, the dude turns a bit white, mubbles for a sec, and then pretends that you are a grenade about to go off and they must get out of the room.  Two, the dude looks at you intrigued and asks weird questions:  why did you decide to breastfeed?  how does it feel?  I asked J about this.  He said that upon mentioning breastfeeding, a guy immediately imagines your boobs, knows that you are going to have your boobs out in the office, feels a bit excited and then weird, because its breastfeeding, so then tries to pretend it didn't happen and leave the room.  Immediately.  Hence, reaction one.  Reaction two is a dude who may honestly be intrigued but doesn't know any better than to shut up.  For the record, two was a partner in my office to another mom.  That same partner is the same one who exercises in all spandex at the company gym.  He's just weird.  Anyway, there is always one more potential piece of awkward out there:  getting caught in the act.  While I have been tempted to pump in my office so that I could keep working, the idea of a dude knocking and walking in on me hooked up to the apparatus is enough motivation for me to get out of my seat and trudge to the mother's room.
Breastfeeding is wonderful, but tough.  Pumping, oh pumping.  Rewarding but even tougher.  I have made it to eight months.  I can make it four more.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


The little man is thriving. Well, he's still in the bottom one percent for weight, but he is gaining weight like he should.  Woohoo and whew!  Apparently, the bigger concern was that he had fallen off of his growth curve recently.  At his four month appointment, he was in the seventh percentile for weight, but at his six month appointment, he had falled to the bottom one percent.  Bad.

Today, he is still in the bottom one percent but he has not fallen any further off of the curve, which is great news.  Must continue to stuff the little man.  And, after five minutes of watching the little man, our pediatrician proclaimed that his small size is probably metabolic, i.e. the little man is so active that he burns what he eats.  It was good news.

Off The Chart

My stomach drops every time I think about the appointment tomorrow morning.  I am dreading walking into the doctor's office.  I am dreading the scale.  But, this time it is not me that must be weighed.  

The little man was a peanut when he was born: 6 pounds, 5 ounces.  When we left the hospital, he was barely 6 pounds.  While he has always been a champion eater, he is also a very wiggly little baby.  There is always something that he needs to look at, that he needs to explore.  He is always moving.  He is skinny.  Our pediatrician thinks that, most likely, there is nothing wrong, that the little man just burns everything he eats.  

At his six month appointment, when I placed the little man on the scale, he was a little over 13 pounds.  At six months.  The nurse said that his weight couldn't be right.  Surely, he wasn't that light.  My stomach dropped when she asked me to place him back on the scale.  Nope, he was only 13 pounds.  And for a six month old little boy, 13 pounds is off the growth chart.  Off the bottom of the growth chart.  

Our pediatrician wanted to see the little man in six weeks to check his weight.  Six weeks is tomorrow.

I have been trying to stuff the little man.  I have been mixing in olive oil to his food.  I have tried everything to get him to eat as much as possible.  I know which foods have the greatest number of calories.  I mix oatmeal in everything.  I think, I hope, that the little man has a bit more chub than before.  But will it be enough?  I'm not sure.  

I am dreading tomorrow.  Because although I know that the little man is doing great: he is crawling, cruising, babbling, smiling and inhaling breastmilk, I am terrified that it won't be enough.  I am terrified that something is wrong.  I am scared of a label: "Failure To Thrive."  Please, let him be thriving.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Things That Piss Me Off

1.  When a man steps onto a mostly empty elevator and stands just a little too close to me.  What?  Did the other side of the elevator piss you off?  I know that you saw me standing here as I am wearing emerald blue with a white pashmina today - I don't blend into the drab corporate decor on purpose.  And don't act so surprised when I step on your foot.  You were standing too close, jackhole.
2.  The fact that my dog is an unmitigated jackhole to me and no-one else.  I could not get the dog in the crate this morning.  He. would. not. go.  And he's over 100 lbs, so pushing or forcing him in just isn't going to happen.  Two minutes after I leave, the nanny asks him into his crate, and he waltzes in all happy to be in there.  Jackhole dog.
3.  Judgy McJudgerson in my office.  The office coffee maker went on the fritz this morning.  I NEED my decalf coffee (I pretend there is real caffeine in there).  After a few minutes of playing with the thing, I managed to make it work.  All proud of myself, I said to the judgy secretary standing near me that if nothing else went right today, at least I had my coffee.  She turned up her nose at me, and said, "well, I guess so."  It was a joke (kind-of) lady.  Geesh, go judge someone else. 
4.  My temper is so much closer to the surface after having the little man.  J and I both need milk to have breakfast.  He eats cereal.  I have carnation instant breakfast.  This morning he left me about a half of a cup of milk.  I poured what little milk remained and then slammed the carton down on the counter, crushing in the top part.  It felt good.  And then I felt guilty for taking out my frustrations on an innocent milk carton - while my son was watching.
5.  The multiple gray hairs along where I part my hair that the horrible flourescent lighting in the bathoom seem to emphasize.  Do they multiply up there while I sit at my desk, because I think there are more now than when I looked in the mirror this morning.
6.  My office is located at the interesection of tourist and undergrad central, which means that the path to starbucks is blocked by 15 italian tourists pointing at some historic landmark and once in starbucks you are treated to a variation of the following:  Vapid Undergrad 1: "I like my sketchers, but I love my prada backpack."  Vapid Undergrad 2: "But I love my sketchers."  Vapid Undergrad 1:  "That's only because you don't have a prada backpack."  (From "10 Things I Hate About You")

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


It is time to relinquish the golden handcuffs.  Oh how I am ready for them to be gone.  But, before I take the handcuffs off, J and I must learn to live on less.  We must learn to keep an eye on how much our daily lives cost and where our money goes.  At this point, I have a pretty good idea of where most of our income goes (both discretionary and non), but this is our first month really trying to keep an eye on the spending.  We are going to try the staples: eat out less, cook at home more often, but J and I will both have to work to cut back on certain things.
For me, its books.  I love books.  I love the weight of a hardback book and the crisp sound of opening the cover.  I love dog-earring the pages, and looking back at the end of the book to see that some days I read pages upon pages and then the next I barely managed to read two before having to put it down again.  I have a hard time separating from the books I love.  I feel like they have become a piece of me (Little Women, Jany Eyre, a few poli-sci books from college).  I silently (or very loudly) curse my difficulty in letting them go when we move every few years.  

My love of books is nothing new.  The summer between my fourth and fifth grade year, I would get up early in the morning with my mom.  She would put on her uniform (I believe it was BDUs at that point), I would pile into the car and we would head over to post.  She would drop me at the post library, and I would spend a glorious morning reading whatever I desired.  I would plow through books about animals (a couple that raised a polar bear cub) and children's series (there was one about a nanny or maid who inspected things with white gloves).  Toward the end of the morning, I would pick out a few books and check them out.  Then, I would head over to my mom's office and we would grab lunch together.  Having lunch with my mom during the week was special because it was such a rare occurence, and most importantly it was time that I had her all to myself.  After lunch, she would set me loose on post once again.  Most days, I would find a tree to climb.  I would perch myself with a book and soda and read until it was time to go home.  Those were wonderful days: special time with my mom and a day of reading by myself (and climbing trees).  

Fast forward twenty years:  I love books and can always find an excuse to justify purchasing a book.  Pregnant?  Lots of books to read.  New baby?  Even more.  Considering different sleep solutions?  Oh so many books to read.  Working motherhood?  How many can I read in a day?  And now that I have a kindle and nook on my iphone, buying books has become that much easier.  During my maternity leave, I discovered that I could hold W with one hand and read a book on my iphone with my other.  It was bliss and I flew through books (Bossypants was a high point.)  So cutting back on purchasing books will be a tough one for me.  Maybe its time I find the library once again.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I am a runner?

In kindergarten, my mom would wake me before the sun rose.  We would drive to a track filled with men and women in gray shorts and t-shirts with ARMY emblazoned across the chest.  I would sleep in the car as my mom completed her PT (physical training).  My sister and I would cheer my mom during her PT tests, and we would celebrate as she maxed her PT test, every year.  

When I was in first grade, she entered a road race in Plains, Georgia, the home of Jimmy Carter.  She won her race that year and won a kiss from Jimmy Carter when she received her metal.  The next year, she entered me in a road race.  I was so excited as we stood among the crowd of runners.  People were bouncing up and down, antsy for the start of the race.  The gun went off.  My mom held my hand, looked down at me and said, "Here we go.  Start slow."  I loved it.  For about the first half of the race.  Then, I was done.  I was not going to take one more step.  I stopped.  I sat down on the side of the road.  The only problem was that at that point we were in the middle of a peanut field in the middle of Georgia.  My mom tried to reason with me.  I would not leave my spot on the side of the road.  And then, understandably, she got ticked.  I remember her trying to pull me to my feet.  I refused.  I crossed my arms.  And, by the way, there were still throngs of runners passing us at this point.   We finished the race eventually.  I figure that I have that incident coming back to me eventually through my strong-willed LM.

In college, I ran to meet guys at the gym and to off-set the beer.  I am going to ignore, for the moment, the time when I wasn't paying attention, tripped myself on the treadmill and got spit out the back.  I have never been graceful.  At some point in college, though, running became my time to get away.  It was a chance to not care about what anyone else thought.  I didn't care how fast or how far I went, just that I was out the door.

At the firm, running was my life line.  At 6:30 a.m., I would hit the treadmill.  I would watch the Today Show, content to know that I could run and my bb wouldn't buzz.  Later in the day, I could tell myself that if nothing else went right that day, at least I had taken a bit of time for myself in the morning.  Other days, I would race down to the gym at 8:30 p.m.  (The gym closed at 9:00 p.m.)  I would tell the person behind the desk that I just needed to get in a few miles.  I would run hard.  I would push myself, see just how fast I could run with angry music blaring in my ears.  My legs would ache as I limped back upstairs to finish my work.  The dull ache was a pleasant reminder that at least I had taken a bit of time for myself.  Before I became pregnant, I trained for and ran a half-marathon about every six months at the firm.  

Now, I struggle to run.  How do I make time during my harried day to just get out the door?  I don't know.  Perhaps I need to master our huge jogging stroller.  Perhaps I need to run at lunch, glares from the partners be damned.  Whatever the solution, I need to find it.  Running is my sanity, and without it, I find a darkness invades my days.  The darkness makes me loathe my job even more.  The darkness makes it tough to see the humor.  The darkness makes me love being a mom a little less.  I need running.  I just need to figure out how to get out the door.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Yesterday, a colleague told me, "I think its BS that you are considered 'tainted' because you work part-time."  Her comment didn't sting at the time.  Afterall, I know how part-time attorneys are viewed in this office.  But today, that comment stings, and it frightens me.
Before I became pregnant - and before I announced to the office that I was pregnant - I worked hard.  I earned my badge of honor:  I was on a trial team that basically required me to sleep at the office for at least three months; I was screamed at by the partner who screams; I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at my desk; I drafted a PI opposition over the weekend (while going through infertility treatments unbeknownst to my office); I saw the sunrise and sunset from my desk; I worked out of a client office for a week (at ten weeks pregnant); I led doc review teams and managed junior associates.  The day before I announced that I was pregnant, I was viewed as a "team player."  I would do what was required to get the work done.  No one dared question my commitment, my work ethic.  And then, it changed.  It was not a seismic shift.  Looking back, I don't think I even realized it was happening.  The partner who leads our practice group was incredibly supportive of me, of the pregnancy.  When my blood pressure shot up towards the middle of my pregnancy, I was encouraged to do what I needed to protect the pregnancy. 
The first fall that I was at the firm, a woman in my practice group returned from maternity leave.  She broke down amongst a group of women, saying that her commitment to the job had been questioned.  I smuggly sat at the table and thought, "that won't happen to me, because I will be valued.  Before I go on my maternity leave, I will show them that I am committed to this job.  I am different.  That won't happen to me." 
It happened to me.  What I did before my pregnancy: the long hours, the work, the sacrifice, has all vanished.  Now I am defined by my part-time status.  I am defined by the fact that I will be home to see my son. every. night. I was sure that I could beat the rap that came with working part-time.  I was sure that I would still be valued.  But I am not. 

A day is coming in a little over a month where I fully expect my superiors to question my comittment, my work ethic (my three month status review).  I expect to be sat down, to be told that I should do more, be more, bill more.  I will not be allowed to point to all that came before.  They will not hear me say that this is an adjustment period.  They will not hear me say that when I am at work, I am committed to doing what must be done, I am efficient, I bill.  They will not hear me.  
While I cannot wait to leave the firm behind, I value the hard-work, the accomplishments, and the hours that I have committed to the firm.  And now, it feels as though all of those sacrifices are trivilized.  All that came before is minimized - and that is what stings.  I am excited to leave the firm behind, but not yet.  For now, I need the job, the income.  I fear that my status places me on the chopping block, regardless of what I have done in the past - and that is what frightens me.  Years ago, I naively thought I could escape the view that I would be "lesser" when I returned from maternity leave.   I did not.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reason 425 Why I Co-Sleep With My Son

About thirty minutes before the LM wakes up every morning, he becomes a wiggle butt.  He flops around, kicks his legs, rolls with authority, wants his pacifier and then really doesn't.   Occasionally, I can pull him onto my chest and he will drift back to sleep for another thirty minutes.  Those thirty minutes are my gradual alarm clock, as he almost always wakes up between 6:00 and 7:00.  This morning, however, he started wiggling at 4:30 a.m.  I braced myself for an early wake-up.  He started squirming.  He kicked.  He inched higher and higher in the bed.  He found my arm.  Picked his head up and slammed it down on my arm.  Then he rolled towards me, head still on my arm, cuddled into me, sighed and drifted back into a deep sleep.  I pulled the covers up a little higher and held him tight.  While there are nights and mornings when I question whether he is ready for his crib full-time, mornings like these, I am so very happy to have my little bear next to me in bed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It happened. And I am forever grossed out.

Our nanny keeps a log of what she and the little man do every day: how much he eats, when he sleeps, that today they were playing and she was making animal noises and he cried when she mooed like a cow.  But only that noise.  We may have a vegetarian on our hands.  Anyway, she noted that she gave him prunes for lunch as he was clearly having trouble in the morning and did not have his usual morning constitutional.  Fast forward to dinner tonight:  I was feeding LM when I noticed that he was clearly trying to poop.  I gave the kid a few minutes and we finished dinner.  

We have a routine down for bathtime.  I jump in the bath.  J strips the kid down to his diaper and brings him into the bathroom.  He takes off the diaper and hands LM to me in the bathtub.  We have added a step for when the kid has pooped.  J is supposed to take the diaper off before he comes in the bathroom and clean the kid.  Otherwise, we have the scene from a few nights ago where I precariously hold LM above the water with his butt to J while J attempts to clean the kid with toilet paper.  There is a reason that baby wipes are stronger than toilet paper -- toilet paper doesn't work on baby poop.  At all.  It also sticks to baby butts and ends up floating in the water.  Tonight J skipped the step of cleaning the kid before he came into the bathroom, which led to LM being cleaned with toilet paper.  As J was leaving he said, "Wow. I hope he's done.  Oh wait, LM poop on mommy that would be funny."  Famous last words.

Did I mention that I filled the bath extra full tonight?  With lots of bubbles.  Bubbles make it hard to see what is in the water.  LM and I were enjoying our bath when I felt something in the water.  At first I thought it was just a piece of left over toilet paper.  Oh no.  The kid had let it rip, big time.  I squelled.  J came running.  LM cried.  We tried to clean it up.  Just at the point where we started letting the water drain, he let another one rip.  I squelled more.  We got that cleaned up.  I was sitting in a messy, gross tub, getting ready to hand LM to John, when the kid, yet again, let one rip.  on my thigh.  At that point, I just handed LM to John, got toilet paper and cleaned myself up.  And then I disinfected the tub.

The bath, round 2 of the evening was much less eventful.  I took a long shower after.  Will may have missed his bedtime tonight.  I think I'm going to go shower again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I still have no work.  I spent the better part of yesterday morning trying to psych myself up to go ask for more (read: any) work.  I told myself that it would be fine.  That I could handle whatever it was that was thrown at me.  I summoned the courage to walk into head partner's office and announce (insist!) that I be given billable work.  I was ready.  And then the phone rang.
It was our home line.  I answered the phone prepared for the usual mid-day update: the LM had had a nap, eatten a bit and they were going for a walk (or something similar).  What I heard instead was J on the verge of his sanity and the baby wailing.  J told me through a tear strained voice that the LM had refused to nap in the morning.  The LM had been crying for an hour straight, J couldn't get him to stop and did not know what to do.  I listened to my husband struggle with a screaming baby and I listened to my baby crying so hard that he had trouble catching his breath. 

I calmly asked J to tell me what had happened and what he had tried.  I calmly gave a few suggestions: try getting him outside, even into our small backyard, go for a walk, and the horror, try putting him in front of the tv.  I listened to my baby try and catch his breath through his screams.  I calmly asked if the LM had a temperature.  J said no.  I calmly told J that he was doing great, this wasn't a reflection of him, and I listened to my baby scream in the background.  I told J that he and the LM would be fine, and that I would check back in fifteen minutes.  I calmly hung up the phone, got up and closed my office door.
And then, for the first time since returning from my maternity leave, I closed the door, fell into a heap and cried.  Over the past four weeks, I have cried because I missed the LM, because I really wanted to be home with him, but this was different.  I cried because my baby was screaming and I could do nothing to make it better.  As much as I wanted to, I refrained from asking J if he had held the LM in just the right while singing to him.  Had he tried the mobile?  Had he called over the Monster to give the LM a kiss (a never fail to make the LM happy)?  I didn't run through my list.  I tried not to judge.  There was nothing I could do but sit down on my office floor and cry.  And that's what I did.  When I stood back up, I used the visine I keep at my desk to dry my eyes, and then I tried to remember what I had been doing before the call.  Oh right, I was trying to summon the courage to go ask for more work. 
I was not ready.  I was not ready to ask for work.  I was not ready to hear my baby screaming on the other end of the phone and not be able to do a thing to make it better.  I had used all of my energy remaining calm for J, and now I was done.  Work could wait for tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Fear

The Fear is real as a big-law associate.  It is a fear that constantly lurks at you from your calendar, lurks from the quiet phone at your desk, and most of all, lurks at you from the email in your iPhone.  The Fear is smallest on a Monday morning and grows with each day of the week, becoming its largest the day before you leave for a vacation planned months ago.  And now, as a new parent, it lurks everyday behind the pictures of the little man, ever threatening my few hours with him in the evening and on the weekends. 
The Fear is not that something will happen to the little man (but, oh do I have that fear too, but that is the subject for another time).  It is the Fear of being assigned to THAT CASE or THAT PARTNER.  I have had the Fear come to life several times in my big-law career.  It happened one evening in May:  I was at a social gathering at the Firm having a glass of wine on a Friday evening, when the bb buzzed.  I returned to my desk and awaited the call: "So I'm going to need some help this weekend."  And in a flash, my weekend was gone.  Instead of spending time with J, I spent my weekend searching down every possible nuance to some archane legal question because the big-mean, higher-up partner was displeased with a prior associate's "merely adequate" research.  Come Monday morning, I had a chart (there is always a chart), a four-inch indexed binder and summary of my research.  But that materialization of the Fear wasn't too bad.  It lasted only a weekend. 
One day in April, I received the call.  Senior Associate needed help with a bit of doc review.  We met in the firm library with the associate who was getting ready to leave the Firm.  Senior Associate told me, "This is just a bit of doc review.  Not a twelve hour a day, gig.  Oh, and maybe some help with stuff down the line."  Five months later, I had met my billables for the year, I hadn't had dinner at home with J in months and I had learned to sleep in my office (at another Senior Associate's suggestion).  The real low-point was when I growled (yes, actually growled) at a paralegal in the hallway and then chewed out the food delivery guy for bringing the wrong pasta.  It was not a nice, "hey, I ordered eggplant parm and you brought chicken parm."  It was a full forced blast of the poor delivery guy, and the manager.  Sigh.  Not a high point.  In five months, we went from discovery to trial.  After the trial, I took a week off.  It was the only time (other than maternity leave) that I have taken a whole week off from biglaw, and it was at the blessing and encouragement of the powers that be.
With the PARTNER, the case itself may not be that bad or demanding, but the PARTNER is.  She gives vague instructions, tells you to pester someone else with the "minutae" and then blasts you for not having read her mind.  She makes the criticism personal:  YOU are not doing well.  YOU are inadequate.  Sometimes, she tears you down "just to see how you handle it."  When you are assigned to the PARTNER, other associates "check-in" with you to make sure you are o.k.  Some partners insist that you produce 2 + 2 to make 4, in four hours when you need six.  Those partners are tough.  This partner insists that you make 2 + 3 equal apple.  And there is no way to convince her that it just can't be done.  While you may make it home for dinner, you are a puddle of self-doubt.  You emerge a bit stronger, and with a stronger resolve to quit.  Soon.
The outcome, or materialization of, the Fear is that in a moment's notice, your next weekend, month or year is no longer your own.  You are at the mercy of the CASE or the PARTNER.  "No" is not an acceptable response when you are on the CASE.  It must be done.  Now.  The letter cannot wait until tomorrow morning.  It must be drafted tonight, at 9 p.m., to await Partner's review when she strolls in tomorrow morning.  The CASE does not care that you also have a motion due in two weeks.  Figure it out.  Get it done.  There are twenty-four usable hours in every day.  The CASE does not care that you haven't seen your husband or child in a week.  Your personal problems are not the PARTNER's problems.  When a friend turned down an assignment, a partner actually asked her to account for every hour in her day.  And then told her she had more time.  Two weeks before her wedding.  When the Fear materializes and you are assigned to the CASE, you become someone you used to loathe.  You become a raging jerk, to everyone: the paralegals, your secretary, your spouse, the innocent guy at Sbucks (who doesn't understand that you need your coffee but the PARTNER has just asked you where you are).  You become someone that under other circumstances you would disapprove of, and then pity.  The taste left in your mouth and head from the CASE lingers for months and years.  You look back with horror at how you treated others and how you treated yourself.  Yes, you may have valuable experience and war stories under your belt, but your soul will never be the same.
The Fear keeps me cowering at my desk.  Although I have no work as of yet, the Fear keeps me from requesting an assignment.  For if you press to hard, you may be assigned to THAT CASE or THAT PARTNER.  Now that the little man waits at home, unable to understand that saying "no" is not always an option, the Fear is nearly crippling.  Toward the end of the five months, J looked at me late one night, and said "I want my wife back."  I refuse to put the little man through the horror of the CASE or the PARTNER.  I do not want to become who I was.  I try to create an alternate me for work.  Someone who is strong, can manage it all and is ready to take it on.  But in reality?  I'm terrified.  Terrified of days passing without seeing my son.  Terrified of when the call or email will come.

Monday, August 8, 2011

5:30 a.m.

5:30 a.m. is not awake time.  5:30 to 6:30 is my final, blissful hour of sleep where I begin to wake up, peer down at my adorable cherub, cuddle him a bit and doze off (frequently while prodding J that it is time for him to get out of bed while praying that the dog does not bark to wake us all up).  But this morning, the little man thought that 5:30 was time to get up.  He was intent on letting us know that it was time to play, time to explore our faces with his new and developing pincer grasp, and time to talk to his best friend, Mr. Skylight.  So, I let him babble, grab, turn and play between J and me.  And then at 6:30, he decided it was time to go back to sleep.  So I held him on my chest and he and I both drifted back to sleep.  During my maternity leave, this was how we began many of our mornings.  The Little Man ("LM") would wake up, we would play in bed for an hour or so, and then he and I would take a morning nap. 
When J reentered the bedroom at 7:00 to take LM, so that I could shower, I decided to let the LM sleep for a few more minutes.  Actually, I wanted to hold him for just a few more minutes, a few more minutes before I began my eratic and harried routine and day.  A few more minutes where I could pretend that this was what my day would be, where my only concern would be how LM was sleeping, eating and playing.  Where I did not have to worry about not having work, or being staffed on THAT CASE.  So I laid in bed for an extra ten minutes, knowing that I would be more harried than usual.  When I finally sat up to hand off LM, he blinked at me, not understanding why we couldn't nap a bit longer, why I was taking the warmth away.  I warned J that he was about to let out a cry, and cry he did. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Save Tonight

My dearest baby,

You are not quite six months old, and yet you have captured my and your dad's hearts.  We are both utterly and completely wrapped around your tiny fingers.  I wanted to take a few minutes to capture what you are like right now and to tell you how much I have loved being by your side every minute of the past six months.  You see, my maternity leave comes to an end on Monday, and I am heartbroken that I will not be able to spend every minute with you from now on.  I will only be in the office three days per week, but that will be such a huge change for me, and I fear for you too.

Over the past two months you have gone from being a stationary baby to a little man with a big personality.  You are generous with your smiles, smiling at anyone and everyone who makes eye contact with you and prompting many strangers to proclaim that you are the happiest baby they have seen in a long time.  From the day you were born you have been a happy baby.  Your cries have always been quiet, and you have always been patient with me, giving me time to respond to your initial soft cries.  If you are ignored (which rarely happens), however, you will escalate your cries as you do not understand why we have not come rushing to your side.  Perhaps that is because you are rarely more than arm's distance away from your dad or me.  You are happiest when you are in a baby carrier on your dad or me.  Your dad prefers the baby bjorn, with you facing outward and participating in whatever he is doing.  I prefer the moby wrap.  When I place you in the wrap, you are generally asleep within a few minutes.  You will happily snooze away, whatever I may be doing.  I love having you so close, and you have spent many many hours right next to me in the wrap.  Having you so close has helped both of us get to know each other.  When you wake up, it is frequently with a cry, but you calm down very quickly.  You will look up at me as if to say, "oh, right, you're here.  Everything is ok."  Then you turn on your smile.

Any day now, you will begin to crawl.  You have mastered rolling over from both tummy to back and back to tummy.  We can no longer leave you on the changing table and changing you has become a challenge because you believe that there are interesting things to see everywhere else.  You can wiggle your way around a small area, and if you have something to push off of, you can inch your way across a space.  You can do a full push up and also pull your feet up underneath you.  Your dad and I are eagerly awaiting the day you manage to do both together and take your first crawl.  We have noticed in the past few days that you are becoming increasingly frustrated at your inability to get to things out of your grasp, whether it is a toy, the Monster (our dog) or one of the two of us.  Speaking of the Monster, you love your puppy.  He gets a huge smile every time you see him.  And he is equally enthralled with you.  Whenever the four of us go out for a walk, the Monster is constantly aware of where you are.  And, the day that your dad had to run back to the house with you, the Monster dragged me after you two.  When we let the Monster out of his crate, he does a full check of the house for you.  The Monster is growing increasingly fond of your dinner time.  You had your first taste of solid food on July 12, a bit of rice cereal.  You seem to be fond of sweet potatoes and tonight you tried sweet peas, which were also a hit.  The Monster is always close to clean you up, should your dad or I not stop him in time.  Your dad and I have tried to capture as many moments on film (or iPhone) as possible.  You have become used to having an iPhone in your face.  Actually, you seem to get that they are a touch screen, which freaks your dad and I out.  

One thing that has not changed since you were born is that you still sleep close to me.  Before you were born, your dad and I thought that you would quickly be in your crib at night.  That was before.  When you were born, I discovered that I loved having you close and that we both slept better if you slept next to me at night.  That continues to this day.  Soon enough, you will be on your own, but while you are still so tiny, it is ok to have you close.  During the day, you nap in your car seat.  For a while, you slept in a swing.  When we returned from Maine, the swing turned on you.  And you would have none of it.  Ah well.  

Come Monday, your dad will be staying home with you until his grad school begins again this fall.  He is excited and a bit nervous about it, but I know that you two are going to have a great time.  The plan is that in the mornings, the two of you will go down to the sailing center for a few hours in the morning, and then you will come home.  After your dad heads to grad school, we will have a nanny come and take care of you while I am at work.  I truly wish I could stay home with you.  But, for now, I must work.  These past six months have been some of the most wonderful, toughest and happiest I have ever had.  You are truly everything I never knew that I wanted.  I am so happy that I am your mommy, and I love you so very very much.

All my love,
Your momma