Most days, H and I spend a lot of time on our front porch. Always the outdoorsman, Hendrik is comforted by the heat and the sounds of the neighborhood. He delights in the trash trucks and the dogs barking; even our plum-colored address placard makes him giggle. I love the time we spend out there.
I tell Hendrik lots of stories, usually about different adventures J and I have had. I'll describe Hagia Sophia in Turkey; or how terrified I was driving through the Jordanian desert after nightfall. I've got to talk to the kid about something, right? Plus, talking about past trips is oddly comforting. I tell myself that soon, we'll all travel again.
Yesterday morning, I regaled my little man with tales from Mama's old job. I told him that I used to wake before Dad - usually around 4:30 - and in no time I'd be off to the airport, streamlined luggage and computer bag and purse in hands. I told him what it was like to be a frequent flyer, and about the different cities I'd visit. The hotels I frequented; and the room service! Oh, the room service was exquisite, my dear boy. And mama would be deliciously self-indulgent, reading books and sipping wine and watching dreadful reality TV.
Suddenly, I was terribly sad.
I realized I'll never have that kind of freedom again. I've swapped one life for another, and now I am a different version of myself. A patient, more selfless version, yes. But also? A woman who is largely stationary.
I'm not used to staying still. I'm adjusting.
I'm officially unemployed next week. As I'm wrapping things up at work, I had to review my old credit card statements to make sure my expenses were in order.
Old AMEX statements, guys? They are actually a time machine.
I relived my life beginning at age 25, which, incidentally, included LOADS of Starbucks, Avis rental cars, Marriott hotels, US Airways flights from LaGuardia (you beautiful, dilapidated airport, you), and Hoyt Cab cars all around NYC.
There were other recurring charges too: Bangkok Thai Restaurant in Syracuse, NY, where the congenial owner comes out each afternoon to greet patrons: "Hello! Rock and Roll!"; Acapulco's in Beverly, Massachusetts, my favorite Mexican spot; Bully's in Manhattan, across the street from my old office at 44th and 3rd; several fabulous restaurants in Providence; beachside bars in Newport, Rhode Island. A few errant charges from Go Wasabi, my sushi joint in Astoria. And a million Amtrak tickets, destinations beginning and ending throughout much of the Northeast.
It feels like a million years and a different woman ago.
It's difficult for me to say good-bye to my job for many reasons; not least of which is bidding a fond farewell to the habitual wanderer I once was. And if I was going back, y'all? I'd likely be kicking and screaming, bemoaning leaving my baby when he needs me so much, when he's still up four times in the night, when each and every nap is still a battle.
I'm focusing on the positive, not least of which is sitting on our front porch, telling stories to my little boy.