I had a good, but demanding day at work -- I guess I'm past the honeymoon period and am being asked to do "real" work, but I still have very little idea how to do things and am not entirely set up yet. As an experienced professional, though, there are no excuses. Earlier in my career I'd have said "I don't have an account with Cisco and so don't have access to their configurator" but at this stage in my career I have to say "OK I'll get that configuration for you!" -- (somehow!!). So it's a big scramble. I've done this before though, and I know it'll be a few months before I'm really ramped up and there's a certain amount of stumbling around and mistake-making that just has to happen. It excites me while wiping me out at the same time.
I went to the school fund-raiser "Fall Festival" this afternoon, where Julian and Katrina were with the CDC at their face-painting booth. I signed them out and then took them around to a few booths, and entered silent auctions for the boys' classooms. There I met a mom who volunteers in Julian's classroom, and I had an experience I've had many times but never failed to be surprised by: the volunteering mom gushes over what a sweet boy I have. "Really?" I always ask, "he's a constant discipline problem!" This applies to both boys. Maybe it's courtesy, many consolation, but the volunteer-mom always tells me how bright the boy is and that they really enjoy working with him. This mom today went on at length at what a strong reader Julian is (and he always has been) and she seemed to genuinely like him.
Thinking about it, I wonder if the reason I get such glowing reports about the boys from other moms is because the moms see them in smaller, more personal situations and the boys respond well to that. See, I'm always able to find a working-mom-guilt angle. I looked around at the busy festival, and saw how many parents were manning booths and tables and helping out. Would I be part of that community if I weren't working -- or am I working partly because that just wouldn't be enough for me? Will I regret that someday? Funny, I'm not sure I'd regret missing out on more of the babyhood. My regrets, or fear of them, increase as they get older. Even now, I feel more stabs about missing out on Gabriel's 9-year-old-ness than Katrina's 5-year-old-ness.
Well, I guess this is academic, because I'm going to be working for quite a while, and that's overwhelmingly a good thing, guilt notwithstanding.