To think I could have gone to Baltimore.

So when you work and parent with another parent, compromise is KING.  I happen to parent with the love of my life, Mr. Mary Tyler Mom.  I am lucky in that regard.  He is the best and most of the time I think much more qualified than myself in certain parenting skills:  patience, laid backedness, creativity, patience.  Mr. Mary Tyler Mom also earns more than three times what I earn, despite my advanced degree.  Thems the breaks, kids. 

In my new gig I made a conscious choice to step away from the clinical social work I had been doing for ten years before I left the work force to move to Cancerville.  After losing a mom and daughter to brain tumors within four years, the last thing I want to do right now is sit in a room and listen to someone detail their problems to me.  Yeah, that is not in the proverbial cards right now.  So I found myself a non-profit advocacy gig.  “Fancy social work,” I call it.  I get to work in a neat high rise with an impressive address.  I am making the world safe for disease educators everywhere.  It’s a living, and honestly, I am much better suited to it right now as it doesn’t require lots of empathy.  ‘Know your limitations’ is one of my personal mantras.

Anyways.  This week it was requested that I take a day trip to Baltimore.  In and out in a day.  The gig would be to fly to Baltimore to sit in a room with a government contractor and provide feedback on their analysis of a particular disease related social ill.  Why that appeals to me, I can’t tell you, but Lordy, I wanted to go.  Then I checked the calendar and realized I could not go.  Nope.  Mr. Mary Tyler Mom is scheduled to be on his own business trip that week.  Thems the breaks, kids.

Aside from the disappointment of missing the jet set-edness of a day trip to Baltimore – – and for me my entire relationship to Baltimore comes from being an avid fan of The Wire – – a business trip is a symbol of a lot of things:  having arrived professionally, sitting in a plane and reading without having to entertain a toddler, being alone.  Really alone.  Knowing that Mr. Mary Tyler Mom’s business trips are a higher priority just kind of sucks.  And then there is the worry of what does it mean to have to decline a business trip because of family obligations.  Sigh.  Thems the breaks, kids.  Right?

Mary Tyler Mom moves to the Big City.

I’m a waffler.  It annoys the hell out of me, my husband (Mr.Mary Tyler Mom) and no doubt, someday it will annoy my son, too (Mary Tyler Son).  But as Donald Rumsfeld says, It is what it is.  I waffle.  Don’t confuse that with cooking waffles.  I don’t cook waffles.  I simply waffle.

In December 2010 I went back to my professional career after a four year hiatus spent caring and grieving for my first born child, a beautiful girl named Donna.  Donna died eighteen months ago, but who’s counting?  Technically, seventeen months and twenty days, but that’s only if you’re counting.  Sigh.  During Donna’s illness and our grief, Mr. Mary Tyler Mom and I started an online journal to help us stay connected to the folks that matter to us.  It kind of became it’s own thing and made the hell that is pediatric cancer accessible to many a folk.  When Donna died, we still wrote, just less.  Then Mr. Mary Tyler Mom stopped, but I kept writing.  It helped and was a lot cheaper than therapy.  The irony that I used to be a hospice grief counself is thick, folks.  Thick.  

That said, the time came where I missed my old working self – – that hopeful, optimistic young thing who used to idealize Mary Tyler Moore.   That young gal who was going to change the world, one person at a time.  Sigh.  Yeah.  I’m older now.  Grayer.  Grieving.  I no longer think Imma change the world one person at a time.  Nah.  I’m pretty happy just doing my own thing, taking care of Mary Tyler Son, knowing intimately that childhood is freaking (I promised my Dad I wouldn’t swear anymore) fleeting.  So I went back to work.  And started Mary Tyler Mom.  Donna’s illness did bring me the gift of writing.  I love it and it helps.  Mary Tyler Moore is my patron saint of hope, and yeah, I’m older and married and my legs aren’t nearly as good as hers, but damn if my kids aren’t cuter. 

But what about the waffles?  Oh, yeah.  So I started Mary Tyler Mom in January and then a friend suggested I pitch it to ChicagoNow and I did and they liked it.  Cool.  But that meant moving on up to the Big City, to the big deluxe apartment in the sky.  Here is where the waffling begins.  I’m protective of Mary Tyler Mom.  And I hate change.  Change can suck it (is that swearing?).  Do I move?  Do I open myself up to you all?  Blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine.  I’m telling you I’m boring.  Waffling is boring.  It took me two freaking months of a daily diet of waffles to get here.  But I’m here.   

What’s my point?  I don’t know.  Other than anything worthwhile takes work.  And time.  Like my job.  I now work in a non-profit corporate environment.  And just now, three + months in, I’m starting to feel at home.  I’ve learned the codes to the copy machine and office mates now ask how my weekend was.  Hard earned, people, hard earned.  The grind of fixing dinner for a toddler and a husband who is never home at the same time any given night has set in.  I’ll be writing about working and mothering simultaneously.  I’m earnest and sarcastic and wicked funny and sometimes a downer.  Consider this our introduction.  Stop in, pull up your selectric and a cup of coffee and let’s chat.  Talk to Mary Tyler Mom.