The last few days have been a bit of a whirlwind. After being told to “take your time” putting together my photo book, I get a message at the end of last week asking it where it was and that my phone calls with Hope won’t start until after she has the book. I ask many questions each week about the sequence of events, expectations, deliverables, etc. No one pointed this out and I dropped everything and got the book done and ordered. I hope it will be delivered later today, and I can make arrangements to have it sent out tomorrow so we can keep things moving.
I’ve also been anxious about scheduling visitation with Hope. I’m desperate to see her and talk to her and spend time with her. I gave some dates in the second half of October since I’m traveling for work soon and those dates had been locked in for a while. Ha?! I get a late night email asking if I can come in about 15 days. Yep, in about 2 weeks!
I got this email right before bed and had a complete and utter meltdown all night long. I finally had to get up and take something for my anxiety around 1am. It barely dulled the edge but it least it allowed me to go to sleep.
I’m dropping everything to go see Hope. It’s what I want to do. What I’m supposed to do. What I’m entitled to do. She is the most important thing in my life. I can’t wait to see my girl!
My late night anxiety stems from a couple of things:
First, there’s the awful realization that I really have been too entangled with my job; I’ve allowed it to define too much of me. I naturally have a ‘fixer’ personality. I like problems; I fix problems. Work has a lot of problems and my job allows me to do a lot of research-based problem solving. I love my job. I am very accomplished in my work and within my sector, I am nationally recognized for my work. I like that. Admittedly, I like that lot. What I do for a living has had a huge role in shaping my identity for the last decade.
I knew that my new identity as a mom would change some of that. I’ll still do the things I do, but my focus and passions are split now. My job doesn’t have full ownership of my identity. Having to rearrange my schedule is technically easy; I didn’t anticipate having some kind of emotional response to it other than, “Dueces, folks—Mommyhood beckons!!” This is the first time literally and symbolically that I see this identity crossroads I often hear about. Yikes. Achieving balance—a real tangible, livable version of it, not the stuff of magazines—is going to make me stretch again. I anticipated the stretch, but I didn’t anticipate feeling it so strongly so quickly.
Second, I have probably fretted for more than an hour last night about how my boss will react to the news. I finally announced the adoption to my staff yesterday. I work in a small office,e and it was a hard secret to keep for so long. Everyone was incredibly supportive, including my boss. But that was before I planned to cancel a trip that we just confirmed I was making less than 24 hours ago.
My boss is incredibly supportive of my work and was very supportive of this new development in my life. But here I am wondering what will be his real reaction to my canceling a trip because of Hope? All the questions about work, motherhood and having “it all” that I’ve managed to side step for 20 years all pervaded my thoughts in the middle of the night—which is an awful time for me to try to mull things over. I am tired!
Finally, there’s the heavy anxiety associated with finally meeting my daughter in the flesh. Now that dates have been proposed, it feels even more real than it did the day before. Our mediated communications are very positive, and I’m finally chatting with her foster mom about day to day things. What will our week in September really be like? I know what it will be like: It will likely mimic Chris Rock’s skit about dating someone’s representative. We will both be on our best behavior, navigating one another’s newness, trying to build something. It’s awesome and overwhelming too. I can’t wait. But it’s also contrived and hard to pull back layers of anything in a week. But I can’t wait to make the trip and see my girl.
It’s probably all normal, but I don’t see much about these huge emotional lifts in the books, and with me deep in my dissertation research and writing, I haven’t much time to read too many other blogs these days. But, I’ll adapt. Plenty of women make it work. I’ll figure it out. In a few weeks to months, I’ll reflect on last night and kick around my mind around why I fretted so much about setting the visitation schedule and then being so anxious about it.
For now, I need to go put on a pot of coffee.