This morning was my last train commute to work in Manhattan until I go back to work after my maternity leave. I'll still be working for the next six or so weeks - as long as I possibly can - but I'll be driving into the city and parking across the street from my office instead of taking the train. With all the stairs and the walking and the rushing and the muggy, hot mornings, I knew that the closer I got to July the harder it would be to make myself do it every day, and since Metro North commuting means making decisions for an entire month at a time, today was it for me.
So, on Monday morning, instead of waiting on the platform for the 7:43 train to Manhattan I'll be, more than likely, fighting traffic on the West Side Highway to make my way into midtown. And instead of sitting in my regular first row seat in the quiet car, book in hand, I'll be sitting in the drivers seat of my car with the radio turned up.
I've been pregnant now for 34 weeks and obviously, it's not something that one easily forgets about when they are literally growing a person inside of them. We've met pediatricians, gone shopping to pick a stroller and a car-seat and something for the baby to sleep in for those first couple of weeks, decided which room in our house we'll eventually convert to a nursery, and even talked about which one of us is better suited for 4am feedings.
So it's not like we are entirely unprepared for this thing that is happening.
And yet, this morning, when I got on the train, I had this moment. This moment where I remembered that this is the last time I'll be getting on the morning train until sometime around the beginning of November, and it stopped me cold. Because I'm someone who has never excelled at change, and it hit me that my life is about to change in the biggest and most dramatic way possible.
And it made me wonder. what will happen when this kind of change - stunning and irreversible as it is - steamrolls into my life? Will I roll with it and take it as it comes? Struggle to adjust to a new normal? Mourn, just a little, the life that I am leaving behind?
I know myself well enough at this point to understand that it will probably be a little bit of all three. And I've decided it's ok. It's ok to have no idea what I'm doing. To worry about raising a tiny human. To wonder if I'll be good at it. To obsess a little over the details of it all. To miss the part of my life that ends while a new one begins.
I think that there is no right way to do this, to become a parent, and the only way is to do the best that I can.
So on Monday morning I'll get in my car and I'll point it south and I'll drive to Manhattan. And when I do I won't just be going to work, but starting the first slow steps into the newness and unknown that stretches out ahead.