It started with the way I woke up. I’ve been going to bed by 10 p.m. lately, which means that I pop up on my own, usually before the baby, between 5 and 5:30 a.m. I let myself lie there. I sometimes drift in and out, enjoying the natural snoozing that comes from waking up without an alarm. I finished reading Mrs. Dalloway while nursing the little dude. Someone (but I don’t think me) highlighted one of Virginia Woolf’s marvelous sentences: “Absorbing, mysterious, of infinite richness, this life.” Who is this used bookstore patron past who underlines phrases in purple? Whoever she is, I feel kinship. This is one of my favorite lines too.
I left at 7:30 for the train station, assuming I’d be battling traffic. But even normally jammed I-76 flowed freely. I had enough time at the station to write in my journal and respond to some exciting book publicity opportunities in the UK that landed in my inbox overnight. I worked on the train and walked a mile or so across midtown Manhattan to 2 Park Avenue. I spent the next few hours recording short videos for Working Mother magazine about “sticky situations” — can you arrange playdates if you won’t be there? How can you ask to work from home? If you support flexible work, how can you deal with a direct report who’s abusing the privilege? They got me all gussied up (see photo). We’d blocked out much of the day to record, but everyone was a total pro and they coached me through it quite quickly. We’d recorded 10 videos by 1 p.m.!
I’d arranged to meet the moderator of the ASJA panel I’m on at 4 p.m., but fortunately, she was able to move that up. I walked north, stopping in Bryant Park to enjoy the sunshine and the people watching. I kept having phrases about Clarissa fluttering through London on that sunny June day pop into my head (“What a lark! What a plunge!”) The tulips were in their full glory and the mass of New York’s diverse humanity was out, lingering over an extra long lunch break, not quite wishing to disappear back into dark offices.
The moderator and I met at our hotel bar. I ordered a strawberry basil smash which, as she pointed out, had lots of antioxidants (in addition to vodka). Over the next three hours various other people from the conference came in and joined us. I finally went to my room around 6 to pump and get ready for dinner. It was warm enough to walk down Madison and 5th toward this Lebanese tapas restaurant, where I met a friend from college. We got to know each other when we studied abroad in Australia together in 2000. I met my husband because she’d invited me to a bar where her then-boyfriend’s colleagues were hanging out one Saturday night in 2003. She married that boyfriend, and they’re now expecting their third kid. It was wonderful to catch up and reminisce about these 15 years.
I popped in a cab to come home, and saw pics on my phone from my husband, who’d taken the big kids out to dinner and for an evening trip to the playground. So I know they’re enjoying themselves. I was in bed by 10 and slept like a baby. For my husband’s sake, I’m hoping my baby slept too!