Lauren: I just got an email from Roger. He's writing a book with a friend about love and relationships and why everyone in our generation has such a hard time with commitment ("I'd need a good nom de plume. guys wont buy a self-help book, will they? prob not unless it teaches them how to pick up courtney love or paris hilton in a bar.")
Rob: oh, so is it pop psychology? self-help? more like self-psychology.
It helped that as I sat down at my desk after three heavenly months away from it, flowers arrived with a note saying "You're the best mommy. Love, Sadie and Tessa."
So what if it was a lie. If a few benign delusions help you get through the day, go crazy, I say.
My sister dropped me off at the subway this morning on her way to New Jersey with the two girls. I had held it together until that point, focused on packing their bags, assembling my hideous breast pump, searching for my long-abandoned metrocard. But as we pulled up to the 96th street station, Sadie, uncannily intuiting my increasingly anxious state, turned to me and said, "Give me a hug Mommy. It's okay---you go to work and I'll go to camp. It will be a good day and then I'll see you later, okay?"
I walked down the subway stairs with tears streaming down my face, her words lessening the pain of the task at hand and making it that much more unbearable at the same time.
I love being an editor, which is a blessing, so going to work is not torture in and of itself. What's hard is seeking out and helping to shape other people's narratives when it means turning my back on the narratives developing in my own home. After three months spending every day with the two girls, I know now what I'm missing. The tiny, indescribable, unrepeatable moments that make up the dailiness of life with small children.
As it happened, my first day back was pretty good--it was nice to be surrounded by adults again, to traffic in ideas, to eat lunch at a restaurant without a chicken finger or hot dog in sight.
But walking down those subway steps this morning, I couldnt help mourning the fact that a very beautiful bubble was bursting. It felt like I was being exiled from Eden. (A version of Eden in which it was not uncommon to find hardened day-old noodles in the shag rug, but Eden nonetheless.)
That said, those original exiles, Adam and Eve, managed to work and raise a family at the same time. Perhaps in order to preserve our sanity Rob and I need to lower the bar: if we can get through the next few years with no fratricide (or whatever the sisterly equivalent is) to speak of, we'll be well ahead of the game.