Friday, May 29, 2015

The Last Commute

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.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ten Years

Ten years ago. It was a Sunday, and it was cold and rainy in Waltham, Massachusetts, the small town nine miles outside of Boston that is home to the old Waltham Watch Company factory, Lizzy's Ice Cream, a really good Mexican restaurant, and two universities, one of which is my beloved Brandeis University.

The light drizzle fell outside the window as we gathered in our suite's common room that was filled with the boxes and suitcases that we had spent the last couple of days packing for our final trips home, and the other detritus that accumulates in a college dorm over the course of a year that no one really knew what to do with. We mostly avoided looking at it all as we struggled with the blue and white hoods that were part of our costumes for the day and tried to decide whether it would be stupid to wear heels, considering the yards and yards of grass that most of us would have to walk through to get to our individual department ceremonies, and whether trying to use a hair iron was futile, considering the rain. Inconsequential decisions, maybe, but ones that had taken on mythic proportions since our alarms woke us up early that morning.

It was graduation day, and for the most part, no one wanted it to be. So instead of focusing on the fact that we had less than a day left on the campus that had been home for four years, we fixated on the details. Curly or straight. Heels or flats. Did I remember to pay those parking tickets that they threatened to withhold my diploma over?

We put on caps and gowns and the impossible hoods, marched in and got diplomas, and listened to a speaker none of us have more than a hazy recollection of, And just like that we were college graduates. We found our families and smiled for pictures while on the inside we were begging for just one more year. Two at the most.

We were Brandeis University class of 2005. 

It seems almost impossible that it has been ten years since that day, and yet when I look at everything that has happened since then, it seems like ten years isn't nearly enough time for us to have packed it all in. 

Law school. Graduate school. More graduations. First jobs. New jobs. New apartments. Buying houses. Moves. Engagements. Weddings. Births. Deaths. We've been happy and scared, we've succeeded and struggled in equal measure. We've started real lives and are living those lives the very best way we know how. We are really and truly adults, which just floors me because for the most part I still feel like I'm 22 and waiting for a grown-up to come in and take charge. Except I'm the grown-up now.

Despite the bargaining I did in those last days before graduation for just a little more time on that campus - one more class, just a few more late night snacks in my suite, even one more round of finals - ten years out I wouldn't want to go back now and do it all over again. But I like to look back every now and then to who I was in those dizzy and wild and wonderful college days. Because there is a magic in looking back and going back and remembering the moments on that campus where I lived and learned and studied and grew up.

And there is also a joy in being here and now, and knowing that in a major way, those days and that place helped make me who I am. Someone who is lucky in her life and her work and her friends. Someone who can appreciate the nostalgia of looking back and understanding that the person I was then still lives in the person I am now.

One cold and rainy day in May I stood with my friends in the giant gym as blue and white balloons rained down on us and we took our first tentative steps beyond the campus gates.

Ten years. A lifetime ago. And also just yesterday.

Friday, May 22, 2015

I'll Be Back

I'm a runner.

I've been a runner since the first time I set foot in Central Park, about six years ago now, clad in running shoes, for my very first venture around the loops that would end up being my first, and favorite, running home, and I suspect I'll be a runner for a long time to come. I've run two half marathons and a handful of other races. I've run in good weather and bad weather and downright dismal weather. I've had good runs and bad runs and runs where I wanted to lay right down on the pavement and never get up. I've run at all times of the day and night, and during all four seasons.

I've run a lot.

But of all the runs that I have done, my favorite ones have been the ones that happen in the morning. Walking out the door while the world is still sleeping, the air is cool, the sun is rising, and the neighborhood is silent is magic. The jangle of my alarm at that hour is never a welcome interruption, but by the time I get outside, I'm always glad to be there. For years now, a morning run has been the best way I know to greet the day. That hour at dawn belongs to me, and when I'm running through my neighborhood I am the only person alive, which is exactly how I like it. For that hour I feel unburdened, wild and free and like I could do anything in the world. 

More than anything, running at dawn makes me feel fierce and makes me feel at peace; a heady juxtaposition of emotions that I can never get enough of.

It's been awhile though, since I've felt it. 28 weeks to be exact. 

I managed to run through the first few weeks of being pregnant, but with ferocious morning sickness that lasted 24 hours a day for almost 20 weeks and exhaustion the likes of which I have never experienced, I had to slow it down. And once I felt better, a small complication put running straight on my doctor's "absolutely do not do" list, and once that complication was resolved, it had just been too long for me to start running again and be safe all at the time time.

So, despite my hope of being one of those pregnant women you see at the finish line of the Boston Marathon and wonder how in the world she does it and if she's maybe a little crazy, I've been mostly relegated to walking. And walking is nice, but it doesn't exactly give you the same rush of feeling as grinding out the last half mile of a six mile run you thought you would never make it through.

This morning, I left my house at the time I would ordinarily leave it for a morning run, but instead of running I was making a quick trip to the bagel store before work in preparation for the impending holiday weekend. Instead of running shoes and shorts I was wearing flip-flops and a sweatshirt, instead of a water bottle I was carrying car keys, and instead of feeling strong and fierce I was feeling  slow and sluggish and every single one of the extra fifteen or so pounds that I am currently carrying around.

But the morning felt exactly the same.

As I drove down the route that I usually run, I could practically feel the morning air on my face like it is when I pound my way down the street, and I knew every curve of that road. And as I made the turn that would take me where I was going, I glanced back at the street and made a silent promise.

I'll be back. As soon as I possibly can

Because I'm a runner.

Today. Always.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


I was greeted with this sky when I left my house this morning. It was early and after a night where I couldn't fall asleep to save my life, I was tired, my only thought was putting one foot in front of the other long enough to get into my car and stop for coffee before I got on the train. 

But the sky just stopped me in my tracks. After a few cloudy, muggy mornings in a row that felt more like August than May, today was clear, cool, and exactly the way that mid-May is supposed to feel.

So I took a minute, and snapped this picture even though I was running late and still had to take the cardboard boxes that have been cluttering up my entryway for the better part of a week out to the curb.

Because two minutes ago it was December and we were getting ready for a new year and shoveling snow and wondering if we would ever be warm again. But now all of a sudden it's May and I put away all of our jackets last weekend in a cleaning frenzy and our outdoor furniture is all set up and our lawn needs mowing and everything is coming back to life.

It's a funny thing, time. It just keeps on moving and there is nothing I can do to stop it or slow it down. It's a wild privilege to be living this life that I have worked for and built and nurtured. This life I am proud of and that I am excited to have unfold in front of me. But sometimes it seems like it's flying by. So I think what I can do is notice. Notice the moments - small and big - and to maybe take a minute to document them every now and then

Like a beautiful blue sky on a cool spring morning.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Radio Silence

I took a little bit of time off from this place. Not from writing, mostly, but from publishing the things that I wrote. I thought about posting every single day that I didn't because I've been writing and posting here for more than three years, and to ignore it for awhile was strange for me. Foreign. Because for three years I have documented my life on these pages. For better or worse, big things and small things, these pages tell the story of my life for the past three years.

Or, rather, most of that story.

Because a big part of that story over the past year is one that I haven't told yet. I've written bits and pieces of it but I haven't published it because it's not quite time yet. I've mentioned it from time to time but I haven't told it all from start to finish because I wasn't ready. I will be though. Soon, I think. Because for better or worse, I document my life here. Partly because I like to, and partly because, after three years, I need to. Because writing here about myself has become a way for me to puzzle through a life that is good and rich and also complex. To process Really Big Things and to document things that are less big, but no less important.

The thousands and thousands of words that I have written here are deeply important to me. And I am proud of them, even, maybe especially, of the hard ones. The ones I had to reach down deep to find and yank out to put on the page.

There will be more words. Lots of them.

But the problem with having so many words written and not sharing them yet is that I found myself unable to share anything else. There has been so much happening but all the words to explain it all get lost somewhere between my brain and my hands and well, radio silence. But the thing about this blog is that it has become a time capsule of sorts. A place where I write not just things that I want to puzzle over, but things that I want to make sure not to forget. 

In about nine weeks, we're having a baby. It's still a little surreal to say those words out loud. The first twenty weeks dragged by in a haze of all-day sickness, tests and a constant, low-level anxiety that something would go wrong, could possibly go wrong, or was wrong already. Then when the tests assured us that everything was fine I graduated to angst over my slowly dwindling wardrobe and the train-wreck that was getting dressed for work every morning, my concern that I would grow out of all of my coats before the longest winter in history finally came to an end, and vigilance over the constant necessity to always be within five minutes of a bathroom. Pregnancy is not for the weak.

But lately, over the past two weeks or so, something else has happened. It's not just that the weather is finally nice enough for the coats that I can't zip or button anymore to no longer be necessary, and it's not because I finally have a maternity wardrobe that makes me feel like a human being when I get dressed in the morning. Those things certainly don't hurt, but it's more than that. Much more.

It's that for the first time since I saw two lines on a test back in October - and then a plus, a pink line, an unequivocal "pregnant" and a simple "yes" after taking one of every test on the shelf at Target - I can think about life after these months without qualifying it. I can say "we're having a baby" without silently adding in my head "unless something bad happens." I can make detailed lists of things we need - my specialty - without worrying that those lists will be somehow unnecessary.

It's not that I don't worry. When you've been where we've been and walked where we've walked I think there is always worry. It's that the worry is almost all crowded out by a sense of the wonder of it all. Not the wonder of pregnancy, exactly, because that part is just rough. But of the knowledge that we were able to do this thing that we thought we wouldn't be able to do and that in a little more than two months there will be a whole new person in the world that we created that is part of each of us. And the understanding that this whole thing is just one big leap of faith and that even though that should terrify me, somehow, at this point, it just doesn't.

And for the first time, I feel wildly grateful, instead of afraid. For the first time. I want to write about it. To document it in words so that one day I can go back and read them and remember how it was. Because this is the beginning of a brand new part of my life and of our lives.

And now, I don't want to miss any part of it.

Monday, May 4, 2015

(Almost) Summer Afternoons Are the Best of All

I've been a little bit absent these past couple months from these pages. There has been a lot going on and the truth is, I needed a little break, mostly to breathe and to process all the craziness and change and things that have been happening in my life. I'm not sure exactly how many different things one person can work with before it's just too much, but I'll tell you that I have come awfully close to figuring it out over the past bunch of weeks. 

But it's a brand new month now and I've shed most of the things and kept the important stuff like, you know, the growing of a baby, I have things to say and stories to tell.

But first this.

This was the first really beautiful, feels almost like summer weekend in New York. So we spent most of the weekend outside. We did some gardening (and by we did some gardening, I mean, David blew the leaves and mowed the lawn and seeded and fertilized and all that jazz while I sat on the deck with a book and a drink), we cleaned up from a freezing cold winter, and we set up out outdoor couch which has been sadly cushionless and snow covered for the past five months.

And then we spend the rest of the afternoon sitting on it, while I took pictures of my most favorite view: pretty much whatever I can see from under my giant umbrella.

Simple afternoons, the ones that remind you that summer is just around the corner, where there is sun and books and drinks and birds and nothing to do but sit and take it all in, are the best afternoons of all.