Leaning Out

Matt and I had one of those esoteric conversations about life and work that’s always in hipster movies but never happens in real life the other day. It was essentially about, how, intrinsically, work is not fulfilling on so many levels and what can we do and change to bolster it so it has similar richness to that of raising kids, having a spouse, whatever. But, hello, it’s work. And maybe if you’re truly following your passion, your calling then maybe it adds a deeper meaning. I don’t know. So, anyway, I said work is work for a reason, let’s not get all deep here, it allows you to pursue other pursuits when you’re not working and that is reason enough why it’s precious and that was the end of that. And then I had a pitiful day today. When I had bad days I replay the events. I brood. I feel badly about myself. Which makes me get to the real reason: I’m sitting here, thinking about work (argh, which is the worst), and I realize I need to take my own advice and use it just a vehicle to do other things and I need to actually go out and do other things. Which is sometimes hard, because I’m endlessly tired.

I wrote that over a year ago. It’s funny how the mind finally reconciles what the heart already knows: how my job is good for me (my health, my schedule) in this time and place and ego has finally taken a back seat. Matt is in that place, too: taking a 9–5 steady gig a few months ago over the excitement of a start-up. He still wrestles with that decision a little: we all know life is a string of choices leading to the next, often times not right or wrong, but what is needed in the present. Neither of us is particularly “leaning in”; we’re too busy getting ice cream in our PJs.

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And getting our teeth cleaned:

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And playing with friends:

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The kids are 2.5 and 4.5 years old. They are often exasperating and exhausting: Sam picks at his dinner and leaves 30 seconds into it, wandering off into the living room to play. We tell him dinner with the family isn’t optional and to “get in here!” He grunts at us. So it goes.

He’s fully potty-trained (day and night): we’re tired of waking in the middle of the night to his calls to take him to the bathroom, so we put his little potty next to his bed. “If you go here and back to bed without calling for us, we’ll give you a chocolate in the morning.” Sugar is the only form of currency they know and they are constantly begging and bartering for ice cream and chocolate. He agreed with this arrangement but then (and this is not hyperbole) subsequently did five “micro-poops” and called us in after each one demanding his treat.

“No, in the morning, tell us.” “Okay!” he giggled. He doesn’t keep his promises, but he’s wholly sweet and so often agreeable when the stubbornness fades. Julie gushes how much he tries to help, and eagerly shares with his little friends. “He showed Nico how to play a new computer game today!” she beamed. (It’s always a computer game.) Matt smiles and tells me we’re going to be a “gamer family”. There could be worse things.

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Annie is a dominant force. Here she is at Kalahari, an indoor water park in the Poconos. The kids loved it and ask to go back weekly.

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She possesses such warmth and empathy: she’s driven to console, but it has to be on her terms (tormenting her brother is OK in her book most of the time).

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Not content to sit at home, she’s always asking about “girl time” (when we go off and do something, just the two of us) and her world all comes together when it’s both me and Matt who pick her up: she knows we’re off to the library, or the park, or a picnic dinner. She’s an eager explorer of the world, ready to make it her own.

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The kids are with their Mimi and PopPop right now. Matt is coding (for fun, I suppose I should add — although anyone who knows him well will already understand) and I’m reading and writing and stretched out on our old red couch, decidedly, blissfully “leaning out”.

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