Those Early Days: a story of my final straw

Oct 16, 2018


Although I don’t remember the year, exactly


(those early days are all a blur)


I remember


that I was driving down North Street.


In my mind’s eye it was late Fall,

because the sky was darkening as I drove home from work

giving me this sense of urgency as I waited in traffic, on my way to pick my daughter up from daycare.

It had been dark when I dropped her off

and now the sun was winking through the ever-baring trees once again.

I was listening to the public radio station I always listen to, and a new song by a local artist

soared across the airwaves

and changed everything.


“You’ve got to hold on

it goes so fast

those early days, well,

they don’t last

Got to enjoy them

they go so fast

those baby days, well,

They don’t last.”


Though I’d heard these words of advice – treacly and sometimes impossible to fathom though they are – from a million well-meaning grandmothers before


This Was It.


My heart shattered and I wailed

sitting there in traffic

my eyes blurred with tears and I gasped with sobs.


It wasn’t so much that my daughter came home each day

smelling of the perfume of the other women who had comforted her and played with her

or my little girl’s particular anxieties about being away from me

as it was that I had to leave her so that I could stare longingly at the grey walls of my cubicle

(as if my escape route was somehow encrypted in the fabric, if only I could decode it)

sitting in one sisyphian meeting after another

and trying to muster enthusiasm for my inbox.

It wasn’t what I thought life would look like.



(I want to say, also, that the flow of my tears came also with the ache of guilt.  I had a great job with benefits and a fair wage, a home that was safe and beautiful, loving care for my daughter, and enough privilege to even consider leaving my career).


But also.

There it was.

The longing and uncertainty had simmered long enough, quelled by my placations:  “be grateful for what you have” and “all in due time.”

A torrent of maternal instinct and desire

a rallying cry for what might be possible

tore forth from me that day as I shifted into first gear

inched down North Street

listened to the sweet plunk of banjo music

and knew that nothing would ever be the same again.


So many of the women I work with have a catalyzing moment or experience that makes them rethink everything they thought they knew about themselves and what mattered to them.


Can you relate?  What moment or moments have changed everything for you?