When you have a good memory, it’s both a blessing and a curse. And you end up celebrating lots of anniversaries because you can remember every damn thing that ever happened. Today, I am celebrating the first anniversary of gathering my personal effects from my former law firm. My maternity leave had expired in May, and when it became clear that my firm was not able to offer flex time, part-time, working from home, or other so-called “family friendly” options I had been counting on, I knew I had to resign.
But I still had to pick up my detritus from the office. That morning, I tried to squeeze myself into a business appropriate outfit that broadcasted both, “hey, I am entirely ready to embrace full-time motherhood, even though I have never done it,” and “oh, my god, are you sure there isn’t a way I could work part-time?” In case you were wondering, that outfit is a combination of Ann Taylor and Banana Republic paired with comfortable shoes.
My assistant, a dear and tender-hearted soul with tattooed fingers and a serious motorcycle hobby, had boxed up my stuff. It had been so long since I was in the office, I had no idea what was in the boxes. (I was at work when I went into labor with Simon and hadn’t been back since that cold January afternoon.) When I looked in the boxes, I was amused and a little embarrassed to find that 2 of the 3 boxes contained my snacks and spare shoes. (I was pregnant during my entire time at this position, so I needed every cherry sour and each package of Cool Ranch Doritos I could get my hands on.) In the third box, I found some drafts (oh, look, I did do something besides consume starches here), some manuals for Important Lawyerly Things, and some notebooks. That box never made it past my garage, where it still sits as I write this today.
I don’t think anyone else in the world (except ya’ll) knows about this anniversary. Hallmark has yet to capitalize on the “anniversary of your last day of gainful, full-time employment because it’s too damn stressful to be a mom and a lawyer.” It should. (Hey, Hallmark, call me– I have lots of great ideas.)
Today, I don’t have a desk or a “key card” that allows me access to the bathroom or a secretary or even a pad of paper. I don’t know where Lawyer Me is. I barely remember her, except in rare moments when I have flashbacks of firm life– like when Sadie is demanding that I do something in her bossy, incomprehensible mumbo jumbo language, I sometimes think about certain associates from whom I took orders during my stint as a lawyer. (None of them read this blog.)
I wonder if she’s gone for ever or just in a deep, deep sleep. Is she Ophelia or is she Sleeping Beauty? Caterpillar or hibernating bear?