A current of city slickers sweeps LLC and me across London Bridge. I clutch her stroller and try to ignore the incessant thump thump of her diaper bag against my thigh. It’s laden with diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, a bottle of expressed milk, a wet bag, my wallet, keys, train pass, lip gloss: my now arsenal of “don’t leave home without” paraphernalia.
The day is cool and crisp; London is finally sun-kissed; it’s a fine afternoon for my trip to introduce the little lady to Chris’ co-workers. I crane my neck over the stroller cover to catch a glimpse of her. She’s peaceful and paying a visit to never-never land.
I raise my eyes and see red….. a really nice, lightweight red jacket.
The said jacket and its wearer, an attractive American girl chattering on her mobile, approaches at the swift pace of a busy young urbanite on a mission. She appears my contemporary but she’s dressed to impress, looks a career woman and appears to be discussing tonight’s dinner plans as we pass. Then she’s gone.
I know nothing about this woman but in this moment she reminds me of my former “professional” self and I’m acutely aware of my flat, worn boots, bulging diaper bag and stroller carrying my pride and joy. This glimpse of recognition is bitter-sweet; this realization and momentary pause for what was, is somewhat confusing.
I wouldn’t trade becoming a mom for the world; my love for LLC knows no bounds. Yet it still stirs me slightly how I so recently walked these streets in a similar fashion – rushing to the office daily, committing to a last minute post work drink, no innocent, young dependent to consider…..these days are no more.
When you tell people that you are having your first baby, many declare “how it will change your life.” I found this slightly irritating because brining a new person into the world and raising her clearly calls for a life shift. I didn’t like that the “change your life” often had a “fasten your seat belt and say goodbye to your freedom” connotation. Chris and I declared that while starting a family would significantly alter the fabric of our life and make us grow as people, it would not inhibit us from carrying on with things we love. That’s the new life balance I often talk about.
I’m now over the bridge and pondering my new life balance as I walk on. I don’t plan to return to work full-time in the City but I’m exploring part-time opportunities for later this year that will engage my mind, allow me time at home with LLC and hopefully be a better fit for me as a person. I need to be more strategic about when I run or write this blog but I’m still finding time for these things, even if to a lesser extent while my days are a bit pot luck. I’ve managed a night out on the town with friends and Chris and I have had two nights alone at our local pub thanks to our parents. And through it all, my days are amazingly colorful on account of my dear LLC.
I catch a glimpse of myself in a shop window. Some wind buffeted strands of my hair stick to my lip gloss – I never learn that wind and lip gloss don't mix – and I look at home at the helm of LLC’s stroller. I am aware of the hopes, fears and dreams within me; I am a proud mother, I am a woman with love and ambition running through my veins. I not just the busy young professional I once - I am now much more.
I take a deep breath and close my eyes. I smile at this new me in the shop window and then avert my gaze to my still sleeping daughter. I exhale, and move on with renewed conviction.
This post was inspired by Josie at Sleep is for the Weak's weekly writing workshop, prompt #4 - Describe a 'letting go' that made you happy, not sad.