This morning I had a meeting with an editor. We were going to meet at a coffee shop that I frequent with my family (both kids in tow, usually). So I put on some big-girl pants (read: not yoga pants) and I put on a shirt without any (visible) stains (patterned fabrics help to hide a multitude of infant and toddler related mishaps) and I headed out the door.
When I arrived at the coffee shop, I waved to the manager and then looked around for the woman I was meeting. This was our first meeting in person – not on the phone or through the internet, and so I scanned the room, made eye contact with a woman who looked like she was looking for someone, and went over to introduce myself.
A minute or two after I sat down, a waitress came by with my usual drink order – COD with a side of milk and a glass of water. She had not taken my order, but she knows what I get every. single. time I go in there. My table mate looked at me with one eyebrow raised and I shrugged and confessed that I come here a lot, as it is close to my house and I work from home. This place is my home office away from my home office.
As the meeting progressed, the manager stopped my to refill my coffee. As he looked up from my cup and into my face, a look of surprise came into his eyes. “So, no kids today, huh?” I smiled and responded that, yes, the kids were at home with my husband so that I could, you know, take this meeting, with this person sitting right here across the table from me.
He left and I offered a bashful smile to the editor sitting opposite me. “We come here a lot,” I said. “My daughter really likes the muffins.”
The rest of the meeting went well, and we covered everything that needed to be covered. We shook hands and she asked me where the bathroom was, since she was clearly not a regular at this place and I definitely was. After I pointed the way, I waved goodbye to the manager and waitress and walked out the door.
Now, let me be clear here. When I got home I had been gone, without a single child in tow, for 2 hours and 19 minutes. I had tried to be a real, grown-up, professional person for 2 hours and 19 minutes, and those 2 hours and 19 minutes felt like … a day off. And even better, when I got home, both of the kids were napping, which meant I could have a real, adult conversation with my husband. Then I made pizza dough for tonight’s dinner. Then I sent out a couple of emails. And then, only after I had what felt like the most productive morning I have had in two years, Beckett woke up. And then life – the real life of chaos, and getting things done in bits and pieces – started all up again.