Thursday, August 8, 2013

I'm a Reader with a Capital R

I spent much of today Skyped into a work meeting.  I haven't talked a lot about how it feels to take a new job and not be there to do it; the feelings I have about that--guilt, acknowledgement of the release of control, some sadness, a little fear, and a dash of insecurity--are all eclipsed by the single-minded determination I have to take care of my baby, first and foremost.  Nonetheless, I'm trying to keep up with emails and answer questions--lessen any of the responsibility I can off the shoulders of our two assistant principals, office staff, counselors, and teachers.  Being a part of today's meeting was reassuring, then, as I felt more a part of my team back at work, more of a contributor, part of the loop.  It will be challenging for me to honor my own medical leave when I return, and also satisfy the part of me that will want to--and which believes it will be easier for me in the long run if I--keep abreast of what's happening at school.  The first day of school with students and staff!  One of my favorite days of the year--the excitement, anticipation of relationships, shared experiences!  I will miss it.  But it will all be okay.  Those relationships will wait for me.

Our baby did her job of eating and sleeping and enjoying some awake time, too.  I held her on my chest, skin-to-skin today, one of the more moving experiences I think there is to have (for anyone).  It made me think of my husband, who loves "kangaroo care" and practiced it with both our other daughters.  I can't wait to bring him and his baby back together...

Tootsie's big triumph of the day was gaining weight so that she now surpasses her birthweight, the goal for any newborn.  Hoorah!

Today I had a meaningful conversation with the man who delivers our (parents') meals here at the NICU.  I was late to breakfast and while he waited for me to finish and fill out menu selections for lunch and dinner, he grabbed a book off his cart and began reading.

I asked him what he was reading and he launched into an ode to reading with an admission:  "I'm an addict;" he confessed, "I'm a Reader with a capital R."  He elaborated that he took vacations not to travel but to read.  And that sometimes he preferred reading to just about anything else.  "Addictions take many forms; I am not sure this one is altogether healthy," he owned.

He asked what subjects I enjoyed reading about and I shared that I preferred novels.  We talked for a while about fiction, and then he revealed he liked to read about Eastern philosophy.  He shared that he meditates at a local temple--it's secular, he said, but nevertheless a transformative place.  "It's good to be alone with your mind.  To listen to it, see what it's doing. Understand it, quiet it."

And then it was time for him to go.  He reminded me what time dinner was, and not to let it get cold.

He never did tell me what he was reading.

My conversation with him was such evidence of the serendipity in unforeseen circumstances.  I'm here; I have some time; I'm meeting people and sharing stories.  It's one of the greatest joys in life to me, chance encounters and fleeting moments that are nonetheless meaningful because they're about human connection.

Whom have you met recently that you may never see again, but you shared a meaningful conversation or experience?  I'd love to hear your story.

Also, I just started reading the novel The Middlesteins, but I'd already recommend it.

1 comment:

Stacy Hall Gomez said...

One of the more moving experiences there is to have, and one of the greatest joys in life, both in the same day -- sounds like you had a really good day! You deserve it -- keep up the good work (on both the job and the mom fronts), and enjoy that little baby!