Home, sweet home!
Interstate 95 never looked as good as it did early Wednesday morning, my driver speeding north from JFK airport to Old Greenwich. Thank goodness the delay I encountered at SFO lasted only three hours. With the onboard toilet finally unclogged, we passengers pushed and shoved our way onto the plane home, then grit our teeth for the bumpy ride. (I’ll bet I wasn’t the only one who thought twice about using the john.)
Two-thirty am found me bleary-eyed, short-tempered and the object of interest on the part of a cadre of taxi drivers who circled me like a school of sharks while I waited for my ride. By 3:30, I was standing in my living room, where I was greeted by flowers and welcome home balloons from Basil and Catherine.
The whole experience was yet another entry for the “living out loud” list I started last year. Like most of the rest of the working world, I can now say I survived a business trip, crappy ride home included.
Being away from Basil, Catherine and my usual routine was difficult. I used to only half-joke that I’d be happy as a hermit. We didn’t travel much when I was a kid and as I rule, I avoid experiences that take me too far out of my comfort zone. These days, however, the comfort zone is slowly expanding. How silly that it took so long.
And how glad I am to be challenging myself, even as a late bloomer. My friend, Jacquie, marveled last night at the metamorphosis.
A colleague I spent the week with was struck by my homesickness and how much I missed Basil and Catherine. It wasn’t a surprise to me, though.
SIxteen years ago, I was the editor of a small weekly newspaper in Westchester County, NY, which meant I was chief cook and bottle washer — in charge of a miniscule staff, but doing much of the work on my own.
Finishing maternity leave meant returning to a never-ending cycle of community meetings and deadlines. Several nights a week I’d sit through long discussions about budgets or development or elections or some other municipal minutia. It was really hard to leave my baby behind, but, well, you have to do what you have to do.
The first night back at work, I returned home late and over the vociferous protestations of Basil (who was Mr. Mom that night and many others since) I picked a sleeping Catherine up out of her crib and snuggled her warm, sweet-smelling body against mine, drinking in her dimpled hands, rosebud mouth and chunky little cheeks. I kissed and held her for a good long time before putting her back down (for the record I did not wake her!!), silently apologizing all the while for missing out on dinner, bath and our usual romp through “Good Night Moon.”
I got my payback this week.
As she left for school Wednesday morning, Catherine crawled into bed where I was trying to sleep off the jet lag and hugged me back.