Oh, I’m really trying today. We are now 39 weeks pregnant!
But, here’s our reality: Michael is sick. The cleaning lady hasn’t come in almost 4 weeks because of the storms. We have 2 weeks of laundry piled up. I ran out of time to do any cooking last weekend, so we have lots of food that needs to be prepared. Still no heat in the office. And I just want to sleep.
Last night on Modern Family, Gloria was complaining about being tired and her husband was aghast, saying something like, “How can you be tired? You just woke up!” And she yelled, “I’m busy – turning food into a human!”
I've been feeling so incredibly useless the past few days. There is so much work to be done to help recover from Sandy, and I just can't do any of it. Yesterday a bunch of volunteers spent the day cleaning the parks, and even that task - in my neighborhood! in our park! - felt too daunting given the size of my belly.
So today, when Alice and I took a walk in Central Park and happened upon a bunch of runners just circling the Park to reach 26.3 miles, we stopped and started to cheer. We spent 90 minutes supporting the runners who were clearly achieving a dream. We watched other New Yorkers offering Gatorade and water and bananas and enthusiasm. It was inspiring and humbling. And though it wasn't the much more profound and important work of distributing food or blankets, it was something to celebrate what New York City is.
How to start processing the past few days? Hurricane Sandy has redefined the new normal for us over the past week. Michael, Alice and I have been unbelievably lucky. Essentially we had a couple of days trapped in our apartment, and a few more stuck in the neighborhood. But we have had plenty of food, power, heat, and hot, safe water. Most importantly, we have each other. The baby managed to stay put, thank God. Alice was a nut, but a sweet nut. We are whole.
Alice's First Picture of Me,
After 24-hours in the Apartment
We've slowly been able to get out and see what blessedly little damage our neighborhood faced. We lost a lot of beautiful trees, including several in our favorite park. But we are so insanely lucky.
We've been able to enjoy some fun family time this week. Michael's office reopened on Wednesday, and they offered students a little Halloween break. Alice was a little confused by the Angry Bird.
I am still (thankfully) in this condition, at 38-weeks:
I'm ready for this baby to come. I've been working from home all week because our office has no power, and the idea of depending on public transit to get to a hospital given the traffic is too terrifying. But going through all this, reading about all that has been lost, realizing how lucky we are... it has helped me to be grateful that this baby is safe and healthy, regardless of when he comes (and how uncomfortable he makes me).
It's frustrating to feel so helpless right now. We watch the news every night, and seeing our fellow New Yorkers suffer is heartbreaking. I am in no condition to do anything - I have to remind myself that even if I could physically get to the Rockaways and help distribute food, if I went into labor I would do more harm than good. Just sitting and lamenting the loss feels artificial, and like I'm not doing much to help my community. As a New Yorker - which, after 9 years, 6 apartments, 3 jobs, 2 hurricanes, and 2 earthquakes, I feel comfortable calling myself - sitting around and waiting for a baby to come rather than huffing up flights of stairs to deliver water to neighbors in need seems lazy.
One story has taken my breath away several times - that of the Moore family on Staten Island, who lost their 2-year old and 4-year old boys after a wave separated them from their mother. It reminds me to just feel grateful, to hold my family close, to know how important and meaningful this little unit is. My family. That's all that matters.
Sadly, Michael had to work today. But Alice and I enjoyed quite an adventure. We went to the Bronx Botanical Gardens to enjoy the Haunted Pumpkin Garden and it was fabulous! We did some "rock climbing" and watched some characters dance around and enjoyed some time with ducks and rode the tram around the gardens and ran around among the roses and enjoyed some hot chocolate.
Days like today make me so sad to be working, or to not have more time at home with Alice. I'm so looking forward to maternity leave to be able to enjoy adventures with both our little ones.
There have been some very special days with Alice over the past two years. Days like today. And our trip to the Botanical Gardens last winter to see the trains. And our trip to the beach in Staten Island this summer. And so many more.
Last night, Anna and I took our big girls to the ballet. The New York City Center was hosting a fall dance festival, and tickets were reasonable enough that Anna and I agreed we wouldn't feel horrible if we had to leave after 5 minutes.
The girls were absolutely amazing. Both Naomi and Alice were mesmerized, and stayed reasonably quiet throughout the whole experience. We stayed for three of the four performances - an Indian dance, a ballet and a modern piece. I was surprised by how interested Alice was in the modern dancers. I was taken (unsurprisingly) by the romantic pas de deux. Anna and I both talked about how pleasant it was to be taking in some city culture.
It was a beautiful night, one that we will remember for a long time.
Alice, Naomi, Anna and I just before the lights went down.
Anna, Alice and Naomi after the first performance.
Alice covering her ears as the train pulls into the station. "It's too loud, Momma!!"
Seeing how huge I am... well, it makes me feel better about being a hormonal mess. I've had a few days of just being in a bad mood regardless of what I could do. Miserable.
I can't wait to meet this little love. He's super active in my belly. Sometimes his feet are pressed up against my stomach and I can tickle him. It is such fun. It will be more fun when he is healthy and here.
I've been in my new job for a couple of months now and, I must admit, I'm really enjoying it. It's been great to think about new things, to deepen my analytic skills, and to try my hand at something different.
But, it's difficult. I'm exhausted. I'm really pregnant. I'm grouchy. And I have a family waiting for me at home.
The reality is I need more time in my life to dedicate to my job and my family. This week I know I will have to work late on Thursday, so when I left the office 45 minutes later than normal, I still had at least 2 hours of work that I should have done. I can't seem to find enough time - nor, let's be honest, the stamina - to get my work done at the level I want.
It's frustrating how women's professional and personal lives demand the most at about the same time. I'm grateful for a husband who cares about my career, who understands when I need to work late, who can trade nights in the office with me. And I'm really relieved to have this new-found energy for my job, to feel more energetic about the tasks ahead of me. I just wish there were enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done.
"But when she stepped off the train in New York, her plain little face looked beautiful for a moment, as if the future were opening before her and its glow were already upon her forehead, as if she were eager and proud and ready to meet it..."