Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Jobs

Dear Q,

I’ve been gone for two days and it seems like two years.

I remember back in the day when traveling for work offered a sense of satisfaction – an affirmation of some sort that I was doing what I am supposed to be doing and was on the right path. In my 20s, I would pack minutes before leaving for the airport, shoving everything into my bag before sliding into my seat under the glares of fellow passengers just minutes before departure. Once situated, I’d pop in my earphones and turn on my barely charged first generation iPod, pull out Wired or some other weird magazine and order a glass or three of wine. Upon arriving, I’d excitedly deplane and take a deep breath to take in whatever new experience awaited. My favorite place was the hotel bar – or any place with people, really. I loved meeting new people and hearing about their ventures. It didn’t matter if it was New Orleans, Vegas or Chicago, I’d revel in the fact that I was going and exploring new things, seeing and experiencing – and it was my job.

Now, leaving for just an overnight trip to Toronto takes intense research and planning. Your dad and I spend entire dinner conversations figuring out how to pack the pump to limit the items I need to lug through the airport. I no longer haphazardly pick where I’ll stay, but intensely research the best option that will not only offer the closest proximity to wherever I’ll be spending most of the day so I can run back and pump, but making sure that they offer a fridge so I can keep the milk cold. During the day, I see your face every time I open my computer, I think about you and your dad every second I’m not engaged in conversation or focused on a task. If possible, I try to catch you and dad for a quick Skype before heading out to a client dinner. The minute the bill is paid, the only thing I can think about checking in to make sure you went to sleep without any problem. Now, I have an even more important job.

Today, as I was heading back from an agency meeting in Arizona, I stepped out of the restroom stall with two bottles in my hands, complete with the nipple shields still screwed on tight. I looked up to see a very pregnant woman entering the restroom, dressed in a suit and on her phone. She looked at me and laughed. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done that very thing. Amazing what you’ll do for your baby, isn’t it?” she asked rhetorically before returning to her conversation. I slowly poured the bottles into plastic bags, feeling much better about potentially exposing your food to unsanitary conditions. It gave me comfort knowing that she too had missed her little baby at night. She’s wondered if she’s missing her baby roll over for the first time or say “da da.” She’s probably dreaded the thought of having some random TSA officer pulling out her milk and handling the bags for testing. She’s definitely worried that she didn’t put enough ice packs in the cooler to keep the milk cold for the four hour flight home.

I don’t like leaving you, Q. In fact, I hate it. But I have to work and when I travel, it still gives me that same rush. I love landing and seeing the mountains or smelling the salt of the ocean in the air. I love knowing that my work gives me an opportunity to make a difference. In fact, one of my action items from the meeting is to research opportunities to help build a school in India, Africa or another developing country. Granted, my work isn’t always so altruistic, but the bottom line is that it’s my job. Just like being your mom is my job. And sweet baby, you can bet that just like that lady in the restroom today, I will do whatever it takes to be the best at that job that I can be.  

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