It was just over four years ago that I began this crazy dance we call balance. I had given birth to my young son just six weeks earlier, and I had a proposal review to run. I packed up my bag, added diapers, onesies, and a soft blanket, and headed off to the conference hotel, that cold November morning. I have a picture of us that morning, me slightly tired, him small and red, and both of us blissfully happy. We were back to work, we two, and we were going to make it through together.
As I closed the car door, clicking the locks, and began to stride toward that same conference hotel this morning, I was struck by the symmetry of it all, and how much I’ve changed since those days when I was so freshfaced, so eager, so optimistic that it would all work out.
For one, I had to leave my job when it became clear that I would no longer be allowed flexibility in time or place to do my work. For another, I got cancer. And for a third, I now work for myself when I want, how I want, and I have an opportunity – although no guarantee – to create a life that includes both science and children, without apology, without fear, and without having to sacrifice my time with my children on the way.
I am very lucky.
And so, as I walked into the conference hotel, I grabbed the door handle, straightened my jacket, and smiled.
I’m back, baby.