It’s just after 1:30 and Little Bear is an hour into his nap. I am waiting for my green tea to cool and deciding whether to pick up the New Yorker that’s to the right of me or the Kazuo Ishiguro novel that’s sitting to my left. The laundry is washed and put away. The toys that took over the house over the weekend are sleeping in their proper places, and the dishwasher is humming, soaking and cleaning the sippy cups and spooky Halloween plates inside.
I should be using this time to veg out. Maybe start that new Netflix show or even take a power nap (I’ve mastered those) but I can’t stop opening up my email, checking for updates on the content I have written for my internship.
Week one came and went, and as aspected, I was thrown right in and given a client who specializes in business supplies. I was assigned to write three, 500-word blog posts and edit three other documents. While the lead copywriter told me she didn’t expect me to take my work home with me, it became apparent an hour before I left last week that I wasn’t going to get all the work turned in on time. So I brought it home with me and worked on it Sunday- silently praising myself for taking the internship seriously.
Getting back into a work environment is exciting but also a bit intimidating. I feel as if I’ve been on maternity leave for three years and that during that time, the work world continued without me. I learned about potty training and teething, and my competition learned about writing content for Search Engine Optimation, and all the other crap that gives them an advantage. The one good thing about a profession in writing is that the core is always the same. Sure, technology changes and writing has to adapt, but a comma is still going to go where it’s supposed to go, a fragment sentence can always be modified.
This internship is turning out to be greater in more ways than I initially thought. It’s less than a mile and a half from my apartment, and a 10-minute drive to the Bear House. When I leave the office at two, I heard straight over to relieve the backup sitter. It turns out she was a journalist, my Colombian counterpart.
When I got to the Bear House after my first day, she gave me the days highlights. She made Little Bear French Toast for breakfast, using my recipe, and he devoured the whole thing. She told me that he said “Where’s Rachel?” a few times but that they mainly played with toy cars and looked for garbage trucks out the window.
I walked through the front door and straight to the playroom. Although it was after 2 pm and I knew Little Bear would be asleep, I was surprised to hear that he had just gone down for a nap 20 minutes before. After she left, I kicked off my black boots, threw my hair in a messy high bum and exchanged the black leggings and blouse for yoga pants and a Justin Beiber t-shirt. A part of me was glad LB was asleep. I hadn’t moved from my desk the five hours I was there, and I hadn’t had lunch. But a part of me already missed him. I guess that’s working mom guilt for you. You feel guilty that you’re excited to head to the office but you miss them when you come home, and they’re asleep.
A few hours later, I saw through the monitor that Little Bear was starting to stir. When I went up to his room to get him out of his crib, he said, “Hi Rachel, love you” and gave me a big hug that included a pat on the back. He didn’t ask about my day or whether I am enjoying copywriting, but he held my hand all the way down to the playroom, and I think that counts for something.
The second day of the internship, I was more relaxed and at ease. I sat in on an office meeting, pretending I knew what the heck they were were discussing. And I sat and chatted with the other interns. They spoke of spring courses and graduation, and they asked me where I go to school. The kid to my right had the volume of his headphones up so loud; I could hear every song he played. Tame Impala, Queen, endless house music. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how much younger they are than me, and how I’m not a typical 28-year-old. I’m a Day-Mom. When it was time to leave, I wasn’t going home to curl up in bed. I had to get to the house and get Little Bear packed up for swimming. I had to make sure Big Bear shared his toys with his brother. I had to switch hats between working Day-Mom and stay-at-home-Day-Mom, quickly and with ease.
By Friday, I was exhausted but also excited, because Big Bear had a teacher’s workday. Grandma and I loaded the kids and took them to the Miami Children’s Museum, where Grandma and I would alternate taking one boy to different parts of the museum because they never could seem to agree to explore the same exhibits together. I told BB about LB’s new sitter, and he said he wanted to meet her. He asked what I was doing at an office and if I liked it. I told him I did, but that but that I was excited to come to his house in the afternoon. The rest of the day was spent making homemade Play-Doh and singing the theme song to “Ghostbusters” on loop.
I still might not know what I am going to do in this world, but I see all these steps- storytelling workshops, writing courses, internships- and they are all meant to steer me on the right path. And I know I needed the boys to help get me there.
As I unpacked my book bag at my desk on the second day of my internship, I found two tiny toy cars scattered among notebooks and pens. Little Bear had tossed them in there the day before, and I had forgotten to retrieve them. So, they sat next to my desk while I worked, a gentle reminder that I had two boys waiting for me after this. Then I went to the Bear House and put them in their proper spots, and waited for Little Bear to wake up from his name and for Big Bear to come home from school.