Several weeks after Ms Rockstar and I came home from the hospital and still on confinement, I received an email inquiry. A conference call or two followed, couple drafts, a ghosted article in the Singapore Business Times. I can’t remember how many more correspondences, speeches, emails (all banking/ investment-related, couple different institutions) later, at some point when the idea of a retainership was floated was when I realized with a flutter of excitement that I was working.
Praise God! Something I can yet do around expressing milk (still going, still almost 4 hours a day – more, during that last cold when I couldn’t get the milk out – but when you don’t give yourself the option of stopping, you can actually even look forward to the “quiet time” when, though you can’t type very well, your mind can certainly travel anywhere you want it to.)
I could be there practically full-time for my children, working around school or naps. And yet I could taste the thing I missed most about my former life again – the achievement “high” of “nailing it”. Arguments for or against new investment asset classes, bookings, mark to markets, client or RM correspondence. To someone who is parched (though not necessarily knowing it at the time), a few drops are the difference between life and death of a former life. It was like a part of me awoke from a deep sleep (Alive! A-LIIIIIIIVVE!), and in challenging that part of my brain again, takes Current Me The Involved Parent to ever new places. Places the kids can come with.
Next to me in her cot Ms Rockstar stirs, and I get off my little Ikea sofa bed to peer in. Good-naturedly, she meets my inquiring gaze.
S’up, Mummee. <giant pooping sound that heralds end of sleep for the night>
You know I love you and all babe, but sometimes Mummee lies awake in the dark after Operation Major Diaper Change waiting for you to gabble yourself back to sleep so she can hope for a few more hours as well, and she wonders – What else? So this works out just great – while you’re gabbling at full volume, Mummee shall draft emails in the dark on her iPhone. We’ll have a slumber party. Just like the real ones, where sleep is the last thing on our minds. I must be dreaming. I’m so blessed.
Oh, and don’t…. pull the little animals off your mobile like that, the whole thing might come crashing down even if we did duct tape it to the side of your crib.
Original Rockstar.…. even easier. Always a tacit understanding between us – “I’m busy, Mum,” With Important Things At School, So In Between Making Sure You Read My School Emails And Remembering To Volunteer (During Which I Shall Barely Glance At You Beyond “Hi-Bye” But God Forbid You Should Miss A Slot), You Need Your Own Life. See, I’ve Got Mine. Or Well, “The baby could keep you busy, Mum.” <Buck Pass>.
Sigh. My son, the antithesis to the Mama’s Boy. Any time other mums wistfully go Wah Your Son So Smart Ah I retell the You-Need-Your-Own-Life-Or-Else-Go-Busy-Yourself-With-The-Baby Everything’s A Package Of Goods And Bads story and we can all rejoice in our own little packages
Who knew a dream job would look like this? Boy do priorities change with the kids. Yet the biggest change was in me – I never thought I could be happy “just” being an SAHM. I was. I never thought I could have any tiny bit of my former life, not with the amount of time and effort I was determined to put in towards raising of the kids. What an irony, that when I stopped looking years later was when a little job found me. And I feel my energy levels start to soar.
Like a shark in my tank. (I mean that old email of the analogy drawn to packing fish destined to be sushi. Apparently you have to find some way to not just simply keep the fish alive, you have to also keep them a little active – because half dead and sluggish comes across in taste. Then someone caught on to putting a shark in the tank. Even though they lost a few, the fish having to swim around a bit produced superior-tasting sushi, commanding a price that more than offset the few fish a shark might consume.
And I found that after all I liked “having” to recover from that cold/ bad night/ whatever because of a very tight deadline (I have to turn out the writing usually within a day or two). I like the pressure. I like how venturing into wildly divergent writings/ activities inspires my thinking. Most of all, I like the kind of parent the shark makes me.
Ps: “To sleep, perchance, to dream” – Hamlet, contemplating suicide and eternal peace in “sleep,” yet fearing not being able to wake up, should he find himself in a nightmare. The irony of the contrast with what the original quote meant, and my title – a metaphor for my never having thought I would arrive at the relative happiness and contentment of my current situation. I know I’m writing weird, blame Nespresso’s Holiday Hazelnut capsules – seriously trippy…