Going back to work is exhausting. I am almost through my first full week (the position is only 4 days a week) and I am really tired.
I remember when I was teaching seventh grade (which seems like multiple lifetimes ago now), my body would run on adrenaline all week long until Friday evening, when it seemed to know it could quit for a day or so. And I would just collapse.
This feels much the same, except that it happens every day. I spend the work day trying (sometimes unsuccessfully) to stay focused on what I’m doing. I’m sending emails, talking on the phone, taking meetings. This, after four months of almost total solitude, with the exception of a lunch date or two every week. Now, I’m on adrenaline again. I’m almost on autopilot, in fact. It’s a good thing I pretty much already know what I’m doing. When I walk out the front door of the building at 4:00, I feel utter relief.
Don’t get me wrong—I think I am going to like the job, and there’s no doubt in my mind that it is the perfect fit for me in the current circumstances. I’m certain that I’d feel the same way no matter what job I might be doing right now, unless I were getting paid to sit on my couch and watch episodes of The West Wing in rapid succession, cry a lot, walk the dog, and write on this blog every once in a while.
But it is tiring. And hard. Even though I know Hudson is always with me, I still feel like work takes me away from her. And it’s hard to be away from her for such long periods of time for the first time since she died. And when I walk out the door in the afternoon, when I’m alone again, I can be with her again, fully and completely. There hasn’t been a day since I started last week where I haven’t cried during the walk home. But it’s OK. It feels like a release, like I’ve wanted and needed to do it all day and just haven’t been able to.
I also realized today that it doesn’t matter that this is a new job. I had thought it would be impossible to go back to my old job in part because I would have to face the end of each day, when I used to drive out of the parking garage and head to pick her up from school, knowing that I would just be going home. Without her. I thought a different routine would make that less awful. And maybe it does, to some degree. But no matter what, I can’t escape the feeling that I should be coming home to my child. I long for those days when she was always waiting for me, ready to make my day brighter, no matter how crappy it had been.
I’m tired. And I miss my girl. And I’m tired of missing my girl. I so wish I didn’t have to.