Wednesday, January 18, 2012

crying on vacation.

we're baaaaaaack! back to the snow covered streets of dubuque from sunny florida. back from too much good food and lots of little baby babbling. back from a much needed, albeit brief respite from the day-to-day. back to reality.

anyway, on monday, we bid adieu to our family, and as i watched my brother-in-law walk off down the terminal toward the exit, tears welled up in my eyes. i tried to do that thing where you open your eyes really wide to stop the tears from coming, but it didn't work. i turned my head to the side, but not quick enough because my husband asked loudly, "are you crying?" and then some people started staring at me. which made it worse. i mumbled something to john about needing to change jack's diaper, then quickly wheeled him into a family restroom and shut the door.

the trip had gone by way too fast, as i knew, even expected, it would. what i did not expect was that it would make me so emotional or leave me feeling so reflective. this vacation really struck a chord with me. i have come to the inevitable conclusion. i need more of this. i need more sitting around the living room, watching two babies babble on and share exclamations over melissa & doug puzzles. i need more yuengling shared with family. i need more sand all over my suitcase and plastered to my baby's head. i need more opportunities to hit pause and revel in all of the precious moments that are passing by too quickly.

i'd like to say that the episode at the tampa airport was the only one with tears during vacay. it wasn't. after returning to my brother-in-law's house after a day at the beach, i was giving jack a bath, trying to wash all the sand out of every. crevice. of. his. body. he was looking at me very intently, and i stopped. just took it all in for a moment. my sweet little boy. my family all together downstairs. the opportunity to get together and share taco soup and beer and alcohol-infused whipped cream (we'll get to that in a minute). i shed a few tears.

i loved going on vacation. i loved it so much it scared me. i loved it so much i don't want to think anymore about it because what if i stop and think about it, and what if i consider the conclusion that maybe i love vacation so much because i'm not happy at my job? i'm not saying that's it. maybe i'm just overworked right now. maybe this vacation came at the perfect time, all the stars aligned, and i had a really great time, just like it was supposed to be. maybe i was moved to tears because i always am when i see jack experiencing new things (sand, airplanes, flamingoes) for the first time. maybe.

but what if it's more than that? what if the general feeling of "i just want to snuggle with you all day" that greets me every morning when i pass jack's room on the way to the shower is actually a feeling of "i want to quit my job and stay home," disguised by my eternal optimism? what if, what if? when asked, i like to tell people that i enjoy my job. i like to tell people that i couldn't stay home because i'd get bored. i like to pretend that i do really important things that no one else could do for me.

but is that really true? if i weren't my clients' lawyer, wouldn't they just find someone else? and would i really be bored at home? i doubt it. i wouldn't sit around eating snacks and watching tv; i'd sure as hell be filling my days with crafts and projects and adventures and stuff, but i don't think i'd be bored.

i suppose i'm torn. i do like my job and even more importantly, in my opinion, i love the firm where i work and the colleagues with whom i work. i like arguing motions and drafting briefs. i enjoy talking with judges and meeting with clients. i do enjoy what i do, and i can't deny the satisfaction i feel when i get the result my client was hoping to receive. that's all well and good. but there is definitely the part of me that avoids ever stopping to think about not working out of fear that i'd realize there's another life i'd choose.

my husband stays home. we've already made this choice; we've already decided on this arrangement. and while it's not like our lives are set in stone with no room for deviations from the masterplan, there's not as much of an opportunity for change when there are student loan and mortgage payments to be made. and i can't say that i'm unhappy with the set-up we've chosen. i love the relationship that john and jack share. i love seeing them together. for the most part, our household runs smoothly and efficiently. we don't dust the tv stand enough, but we i try to let that go. we make time for the important stuff and forget the rest. we are a work in progress, but i am proud of what we are doing.

and maybe that wouldn't be the case if i were home everyday. maybe instead of delighting in jack's every move from the time i get home until the moment he falls asleep, i'd be feeling overwhelmed or sick of him or ready for a break. maybe i'd put social events on my calendar, then sit waiting for the next opportunity to leave the house if that were my reality. maybe i'd feel resentful of my son for being the reason i gave up my career. maybe when he had graduated and left my house, i'd feel regret over decisions i'd made. i have it pretty good, after all. because of the sacrifices john has made, i get to be the one who misses jack. who finds everything he does adorable and amazing and magical. the one who's never gotten really mad at my son (in 15 months) or needed a break from him. i've gotten to revel in him, not resent him. and that's pretty awesome. i can't say for sure that it would be that way if i spent every single moment of the work week with him.

maybe this is just post-vacation "i don't want to be back at work just yet" ramblings. maybe i'm stressed out over the upcoming trial i'm preparing for next week. maybe i just need a new project. i'm not sure. i'm in a funk.

a funk that can hopefully be cured with some burlap, a drill and alcohol-infused whipped cream. yes, that does it exist. my mother-in-law introduced me while on vacay. i highly recommend in coffee. or on pie. or on a spoon. i highly recommend it anytime. it is amazing.

and now, it's time to power on through this funk. just need some strong coffee (sans whipped cream).

1 comment:

  1. Steph - I can guarantee that you would have days when you would be frustrated with Jack. I don't know how many times I have told Jim that the second he gets home I am walking out passed him because I need a break. But you wouldn't be a mom without questioning your choice to work - it's engrained in us to want to be with our children. And it looks like Jack is a pretty happy kid - you must be doing something right. :)