As I sit here and watch the Sex and the City movie on HBO (Am I paying for HBO? I had no idea I had these channels.), I am thinking.
I just returned from Denver today. I was there this week for a work conference. I was on the conference planning team for the past year…for the past six months, I’ve dreaded this conference. I mean, DREADED it. Jack turned six months on Monday. Hence why for six months, I’ve dreaded leaving. Two weeks before the conference, I was asked to be the “Master of Ceremonies” for the conference. What is worse than dreading? Whatever it is, that’s what I did. Master of Ceremonies? Who…ME?! ? WHY!!! Prior to knowing I was the MC of the conference, I was making myself feel better about the trip thinking…I need to be positive. You know…for six months, I haven’t had one second to myself. I haven’t done anything just…for me. This would be my time! I could sleep in, I could watch movies on TV, I could go out each night with friends/coworkers…this could be a great time. As I sat in front of my boss, watching the words fall out of her mouth, asking me to be the MC, my dreams of relaxation were dashed as I envisioned myself in front of 240 people from across the country.
In the end, the MC experience was a great one. I got very positive feedback and think I did a pretty good job. It took my mind off of being away from Jack and John and I really enjoyed it. I loved being in front of everyone, meeting new people and feeling like I was doing something that added to the conference. On the last night, which was last night, I treated myself to a new pair of Ray Ban sunglasses. These:
So now, let’s talk about Denver…Ew! I don’t like that city! So many young, edgy, aggressive, druggie, homeless people…everywhere! And I saw something that really disturbed me. REALLY disturbed me. My stomach still turns as I think about it. I hope it soon fades from my memory but right now, it’s imprinted on my brain. It’s about 10:00 pm. A bunch of friends/coworkers and I are walking back to the hotel from dinner. It’s a GORGEOUS summer night, with no humidity. A crowd is gathered around an artist who is using spray paint to create art. I approach the crowd to get a better view and notice a baby (maybe one year old) in a stroller. I notice babies so much now…never did before. My first thought is, this poor baby should be at home in bed. I really feel sorry for babies who get dragged around by their parents, don’t get the sleep they need…you know how you feel when you don’t get the sleep you need. My second thought is, Wow these fumes are strong. This baby should not be inhaling these fumes. And then I see the dad. A strung- out homeless druggie with missing teeth. He’s telling the baby she better stop crying or he’ll lock her in the stroller. He takes her out of the stroller and starts kind of shaking her (not violently) saying, “What’s the matter! What’s the matter!” Not in a gentle nurturing voice…more of a yell…like a “shut up” tone. I see tears running down the babies face and my heart literally broke at that moment. I’m thinking, “Let me tell you what’s the matter. It’s 10:00. She needs to be at home in bed. Not out here around a bunch of your homeless friends, also on drugs, inhaling paint fumes while you sit here and yell at her telling her to stop crying or you’ll lock her in the stroller.” This kid…she has no chance. All the cards are stacked against her. As I write this, my stomach just feels sick. I wish I could erase the memory. As we continued to walk back to the hotel, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I thought, I wish I could help people like this. Then I thought, I could never have a job where I had to help these people…b/c I can’t get it out of my head. It just breaks my HEART. I feel sick. And I would never be able to function. I have to pretend that stuff does not exist. But when you see that stuff, it smacks you in the face, that for tons of children in this world, it DOES exist. They have no support, no one to answer their cries, no one to give them a hug, no one to tuck them into bed to make sure they get the sleep they need…all they have is parents on drugs who don’t answer any of their needs and just tell them if they don’t stop crying they’ll lock them in the stroller. Makes me sick. Literally. The only positive that came of this is…it alleviated some of the guilt I feel for having let Jack “cry it out” very early on when I had to teach him he needed to sleep apart from me. I thought, Jack has it pretty darn good compared to millions of children out there. I wish I could have taken that little girl home with me.
Aside from that, life is good. I’m struggling to achieve balance, still. But I’m sure that will come in time. Jack is absolutely adorable. He is just…awesome. I was so happy to get home to him today. In a way, I’m happy John and Jack had the chance to hang out this week, just the two of them. I’m happy Jack had time to bond with his aunt (Maggie) and both grandmas. They all came over to lend John a hand. But I missed him like crazy!!!