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.