Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A year later

My little sister (above) flew out yesterday, after spending two weeks with us.  Tomorrow, M takes her first flight, to Colorado, where she will be surrounded by more family -- hopefully I can catch up on well-needed sleep and finally get over this nagging cough.

There's so much to be thankful for this year.  Last Thanksgiving holiday was a difficult one.  I alluded to many things, but never really wrote about everything.  In addition to my aunt's sudden death and some upheaval at work, this time last year I discovered I was pregnant, only to suffer what I believed to be an unequivocal miscarriage mere days after my discovery.  I was devastated.  I remember flying out to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving that day and how the airport seemed to swarm with babies.  Once in Wisconsin I remember confiding in Ethan's grandmother Megan, a petite woman who, with her steely eyes, sternly told me that this would pass, that women dig deep to find the strength to keep trying.

Well, a few delayed doctor appointments (and a few weeks of sickness) later, I discovered that I was, in fact, still pregnant.  

I didn't write about it then because it felt too close.  I carried it with me, even through the pregnancy, a little secret, a nagging fear.  But I've always tried to be honest in this space.

So it's crazy that a year later I will be flying with my little squishy daughter.  Motherhood is difficult, but I am so grateful for the presence of her in my life, and for the love of my incredible family and friends.

Monday, November 3, 2014

My balancing act

I took this picture of M when she wasn't yet two months old, when I was still on maternity leave and the days seemed to stretch out before me.

I went back to work in October, during a pretty full-on week.  But thanks my fabulous my in-laws, who flew into the city and hovered around my meetings so that I could nurse M every few hours, I survived that hectic time.  At more than one point in the week, I felt overwhelmed, out of sync, and ready to quit my job!  But I pushed through. One afternoon late in the week, I found myself seated at a table with two human rights defenders from Guatemala. As we discussed their case, I remembered why I fell in love with this work to begin with. 

I don't know how this work/life balance thing will ultimately pan out, but I hope I can strike a healthy medium.  Right now, my attempt at balance includes a mix of working a (very) slightly reduced schedule, leaving the office at 3:30pm most days, working remotely, and carving out time to spend lunch with M everyday.

One of the things that causes me the most anxiety now is something that I have thrived upon - namely, international travel.  I've managed to push off any international travel this year. There was the three-day trip to London that I jumped on and immediately backed off of once M was born. On the horizon is a meeting that keeps getting pushed back. Initially scheduled for Thailand, then India, the meeting will now either be held "somewhere in Africa," in Turkey, or in Thailand.  I won't be able to escape that trip, but I'm hoping that by the time I go - for a week - M will be a little older.  And then, there's the work trip to Nepal that keeps getting pushed back (indefinitely) and Peru, which will happen next October.

This is the longest period of time I've been grounded without international travel, and I crave a new stamp on my passport - but not yet, not if it means being apart from her, and not when she is so little.  A dream I have, someday, is to travel across the world with her, or at least to a few far-flung places.  I think fondly back to the French father-daughter pair I met in a ger in Mongolia.  She, a blonde bubble of energy, was on her gap year.  Father and daughter met in Mongolia for a three week tour of the Gobi Desert, after which she would travel to Nepal alone.  I remember their talks, his encouraging words to her about hiking in Nepal, of the Annapurna trail dotted with tea houses.

That's the dream, but baby steps first.  
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