It is 6:03 am and I am answering another wake up call – remembering that this hotel uses real people and not machines. I do not swear this time. I mutter “hello” and “thank-you”.
It is 6:30 am, and I am standing in another hotel shower, remembering the time that my cell phone rang at quarter to 6. I remember dashing to get it, with the shower still running, and a co-worker starting to talk the moment I answered the phone. I stood there, cold and dripping water, until I finally said “Stop. I am just out of the shower, the shower is still running. I am dripping water. Please – PLEASE can I call you in 10 minutes?”.
It is 7:15 am, and I am driving to the office and looking at the sun rise. I cleaned dew off the car window. I have cleaned frost, I have cleaned snow, I have cleaned ice, I have cleaned nothing. I have driven in the dark, in the sunshine and in a sunrise.
It is 10:59 am, and I am running to another meeting with my laptop in my hands. Running late, waving at people, my mind racing with tasks to be done. I have raced across buildings, raced between buildings, always on the very verge of being late. I have raced in heels, raced in flats. Today I am in a pair of sketchers slip ons.
It is 2:10 pm, and I am searching for another hit of caffeine. I have had coffee, latte’s, diet coke. From the fridge in the war room, I try Red Bull for the first time. It tastes a bit like cream soda and leaves me a terrible case of the jitters.
It is 7: 45 pm, and I am eating dinner in another restaurant, thumbing through emails, thinking about the work that I still have to do, wondering what tomorrow will bring. This time my boss is with me, and we talk about shoes.
It is 8:57 and I have Mr. Spit on my iPhone, on speaker, so that I can talk to him while I work. I am still distracted and tired, just like always.
It is 10:30 and I am sending out emails and still asking questions. I have instant message conversations going on my computer. My blackberry buzzes next to me. There is still so much to do, and so little time to do it in.
It is 11:18 pm, and I am writing a blog.
This time I know what I will write about. . .
In about 13 hours the final go/no go will be called. I will publish this whether we go live, or not. It will not matter, either way. A centre of truth is still true, regardless of what pulls on it.
I have done this for almost 2 years. Done it and done it and done it. Dug in and done more, when I was so tired I do not remember driving home for 3 hours. At 6 am on Saturday, at 11pm on Sunday, at 3 am on a Tuesday. Some of the doing has been good – energizing and affirming, and some of the doing has been soul sucking and painful, leaving me small and diminished.
I have danced with this project. In various times and various places. On the threshold of exhaustion and painful, sometimes I have called the tune, sometimes the tune is measured out by others.
I have not danced alone.
My husband has sent me emails and texts at 6 am to say good morning. My mother has put groceries in my fridge. The System Admin (He’s called Edmund, by the way) has shown up at various desks, with my purse and my coat, and he has made me leave for lunch. Staff have not lost their mind when I kept getting their names wrong. People have fed me home cooked meals, laughed with me when I have been exhausted and dumb, and propped me up when I thought I couldn’t do this. Friends have sent love and humour. All of you have left kindness – strength to dance a little bit longer.
In December 2007, I was beyond any shadow of a definition, a broken woman. My son had died, I worked at a job I hated. I was crushed.
I’m not now. I have been. I am not now.
When you are tired and weary, when everything around you is falling apart, when you think you can’t go on, you can. When you think there is nothing more to give, there is always more, even if it’s just a tiny bit. That’s where the dancing begins.
There is one final person to thank – I was thinking the other day, thinking of what my son gave me.
It is this: In those dark days of late 2007 and early 2008 – when everything – getting up, going to sleep, simply breathing – hurt. When all of it was filled with tremendous pain and effort.
That my son, is when you taught your mother how to dance.