Yesterday morning, I woke to a few inches of snow covering the asphalt parking lot that the back of my house faces. My neighborhood is a densely packed New York City suburb of 30,000 people, which could be far worse than what it is, but isn’t precisely what I would call a picturesque environment. Snow significantly augments its beauty by hiding all the pavement and letting me pretend that I live somewhere far more pastoral and charming than I really do.
Although it is already the end of January, we’re still awaiting our first snowstorm of any significance. Yesterday, the snow turned to sleet within a few hours and the plows were out in full force, so the beauty of the snowfall disappeared rapidly under their combined efforts. We are due more snow tomorrow and on Tuesday, which does make it feel like winter has finally hit us here. The seasonal transition is late this year, but it feels appropriately timed for the events of my life, as I wind down my professional life and move into my last few days before motherhood really begins.
On Wednesday, I worked my last day in the office before my maternity leave. I was filled with a remarkable amount of sorrow, despite the fact that I am still working from home until my labor begins. I am coming back to work after my maternity leave, but over the last few weeks, I’ve been slowly cleaning out my office and bringing home the things that I’ll need to function as a telecommuter, so my office feels echoey and empty. I took a picture of the view from my desk and joked with my Beloved that I should hang it on the wall in front of my desk at home so that I can still feel like I’m part of the energy of my department. Perhaps I have spent far too much time around cats, but the idea of not following following the same routine that I’ve had for the last seven years has thrown me for a bit of a loop. Logically, I know that it is a temporary change, but my hindbrain hasn’t quite gotten the memo. I had tears in my eyes as I snuck out the door at the end of the day.
I am fortunate enough to like my coworkers very much. I’ve realized that I will miss seeing them while I’m on leave. Working from home is not something that I enjoy nearly as much as I feel that I should — I do miss the variety of the small social interactions of our team as we navigate around each other on our way to the water fountain and the coffee machine and the fridge. We often eat lunch together. I don’t go to work to socialize, but the social life is a big part of why I’ve worked there for so long. Working from my desk in my basement in my pyjamas is comfortable, but it is lonelier than I would like. All the same, I do see how fortunate I am that it’s an option for me.
At home, we are quite busy arranging for the last minute provisions and needs of our incoming infant. I’ve been working hard to try and speed up the labor, as I’ve now been given a deadline for an induction. Having heard some horror stories about induction, I am very motivated to invite our daughter out into the world as soon as possible. This morning, we went out for breakfast in the nearby beach town so that I could waddle down the boardwalk for a while. I watched the ocean waves coming in, pounding on top of each other in the January winds, and thought about all the fluid surrounding our womb girl. I’m sipping on raspberry leaf tea and taking my evening primrose oil tablets, as per my midwife’s advice. I’m waiting and counting false contractions and waiting some more. I’m writing and knitting at a furious pace, trying to finish up projects before I have a rather less understanding project demanding my attention. I am spending a lot of time with my Beloved and dreaming of the future. I can’t decide if I want her to hurry up or if I want these final days of preparation to linger. All I do know is that change is coming–and it’s coming very soon.