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.

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