Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Another Birthday

Lordy, lordy, look who's 40
5 years ago we celebrated Amy’s 40th birthday. It was a great day complete with belly dancers and a moon bounce. We had a lot of fun. But what I remember most about that day was not the catered food or all the friends that came. What I remember most about that day, though it was a Saturday, was that I had to work.  And had it not been Amy’s birthday, I would have worked that whole day, not just the morning. I even remember a slight feeling of guilt as I left my team in the “proposal tank” to head off to the birthday celebration.

The company I worked for was pursuing a fairly high profile federal contract and I was right in the middle of it. And we were doing what most federal government contracting firms due when pursuing a contract: we locked ourselves away for some period of time to develop the most creative technical proposal and clever cost proposal we could. For a couple months it was full time, 7 days a week work.

I used to pride myself on having a decent work/life balance and I would think about the old saying, “no one ever said on his deathbed, ‘I wished I spent more time at the office.’” But truthfully, I worked pretty hard back then. And by hard, I mean long hours. I missed things at home and with the kids. And we talked about it from time to time. Was it worth it? What if I took a pay cut to work fewer hours? But in the end we agreed that how things were, were okay, for now. The money was nice and the work I did seemed important. And we knew there would be more time for each other later. Later after our careers had run their courses and the kids were grown.

Except there wasn’t a later. Turns out there was only ‘now,’ back then. And after that birthday there were only 2 more I could share with her.

Later today here mom will come over. We’ll let go of a couple purple balloons and have Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream with Pepperidge Farm Milanos. We’ll probably pull out a photo album or two. Our teary eyes will run free a few times. We’ll hug each other. Our jagged-edged grief is now a dull ache. It will never be the same but its what we have now, in the present.

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