Monday arrived all grey and gloomy. Sight unseen, my bedroom curtains still closed, yet I knew it was a rain-soaked day. The swish and swirl of droplets coaxed from the streets by the groves of speeding rubber tires on to the bumpers of yellow taxis and passenger cars—the former prowling the streets in search of a fare, the latter hunting for a legal parking space—served as my alarm clock today.
I lay in a snug, personal hearth that was born from the knowledge that there was no need to leap from my bed and into the office on this morning. Although I have other priorities, I could stay snuggled in the eight-hour warmth, here, under the covers, until baby Julia awoke.
Just as that thought slid from my brain’s frontal lobe a soft bah, bah, BAH, lifted into the air, from next door, the first flair of Julia’s dawning awakened state. Typically, the chirping served as my revelry call. But today I stayed put, just a little longer, in bed.
Today was the eighth day. The countdown clock loomed larger.
Next week, the 29th of March, I return to work.
If anyone had told me before my daughter arrived, that I’d love being at home taking care of Julia—diapering, feeding, bathing— as a way of life, to this degree, I would have, under my breath, called them a barefaced liar. I love the act of caring for my daughter. It saddens me to lose the daily connection. Julia has worked in herself into my bones.
For the first time in my working life, I have scaled down so, I hardly recognize myself. In my old life, the PBJ life, I was one of the main reasons why the Metropolitan Transit Authority considered back in the fall the absurd idea to cap 30-day Unlimited MetroCards at ninety rides. (Why call them Unlimited for God sakes?) Between my grad school needs and my foodie fixes, I hoarded my lunch hour, to hop the train to procure a book or a beef roast, depending on the day, the need, or my mood. I pimped out my transit card like no one else I knew. Now, in the past seven weeks, I’ve agonized over buying a one week unlimited card for feared it wouldn’t get much use. I’ve stayed close to home because all I needed was there.
This gloomy Monday reminded me; in eight days, the cocoon that Julia and I have woven will clasp. The timer set a long way back. Soon the nanny will come, because it is her job to come, because I have to return to my job.
To be sure, in some ways, I welcome it. I miss the undisturbed moments when my fingers can sweep over my computer keys—completing a thought or a clean sentence—rather than allowing Julia’s feeding schedule to take precedence. I welcome the return of adult conversation (devoid of Charlie Sheen or the Royal Wedding, please) rather than the lengthy ones I’ve held regarding Thomas the Train, and a Very Hungry Caterpillar that sprung from the fertile mind of Eric Carle. I’ll again welcome free reading time during my subterranean commute rather than keeping watch to insure Julia’s tiny, ever exploring hands haven’t made contact with the subway pole, the seat, the window, stray pieces of paper, old gum, or the leather clad surface of a stranger’s arm. But I will miss her more.
Only eight more days. Seven, if I’m honest, as I check the clock on the upper left hand corner of my laptop. So for now, I’ll stay here, in the weld of this moment, mentally rolling around in the hours like a dog in fresh-cut August grass, here with my daughter and my books. In our solitude. I’ll pull the cashmere of cocoon a little more tightly about us. Set the extra lock on the front door, keeping world outside for as long as the calendar says that I can.