Fully Vested

   I know it is pretty trite to say “I just am sooooo busy, I haven’t had time to blog,” but I don’t know of any time in my life when that has been a more true statement than in the most recent interval of time for me. I feel like this fall semester has been busier than ever as in addition to teaching, I am chairing a professional organization committee, working on two faculty committees, trying to write a book review that is due next week the same time I have to be presenting at a conference of municipal law attorneys in Baltimore, writing an article for publication that is long overdue, and serving on a search committee.  That is just the major work obligations.  After work, David and I have been interviewing nanny candidates, attending birthing and childcare classes at the hospital (in addition to my multiplicity of doctor’s appointments which are double the amount of normal prenatal appointments), and just decided to throw in tackling some fairly major home improvement projects we would like to get taken care of in advance of the babies coming. Thankfully, when David isn’t travelling for work he has been able to field the parade of workers coming to our house to offer bids on such exciting things as tree removal, floor refinishing, and installing new HVAC systems.  I have a feeling once the actual work starts on all of those things, it will get even crazier. 

   Yet in spite of the busy, I feel pretty good about things right now.  I had a bizarre moment today that put some small perspective in my life that had been lacking.  It happened on the line at Brueggers Bagels this morning. The line was ridiculously long and slow-moving, which is the kind of situation that makes me seethe with internal rage under normal circumstances. I don’t know why I have so much hostility towards inefficiency, but there it is.  At some point while waiting in the line, I noticed that the law school dean was a few people behind me in the line. Now, it isn’t unusual for me to spot him at Brueggers in the morning, as I have seen him many times before. I have seen him so many times, in fact, that I know it is ridiculous for him to have to wait in line, because he orders a certain type of bagel plain, grabs a cup for coffee and that is it. There is no elaborate dozen bagel cutting with fifteen different types of toppings.  It is straightforward and he should be in and out of there in about two minutes, maximum.  So when I finally got up to order my more elaborate Skinny Zesty Egg White on Whole Wheat, I first asked for his bagel in a bag so I could give it to him and so he could get out of that ridiculous line.

After that, my mood turned and I started thinking about why and this is the conclusion that I came to – all of this business is attributable to something that I love, and that I feel like I have lacked up until now; that I have a community to which I belong to. See, this year marks the start of my fifth year working at UNC.  That is the longest I have worked anywhere. Before now, I flitted about the country – New York, to Seattle, to DC, to here, and I never felt the need to be a part of anything termed “community”.  But now, here we are worried about making our home a safe, comfortable place for the babies and I know the dean’s bagel order by heart.  One sister is in town, my other sister is only three and a half hours away, and if only may parents were closer, I would get to feel entirely like how it feels to be home with family.  Sure, I might temporarily be losing the community feeling of all those North Carolina basketball games, as we give that up for a year to focus on other priorities, but it never has felt better to be a Tar Heel. My doctors know me by name, not by chart (thanks in part to my extroverted medical school sister who is universally beloved).  David and I have the first yard political sign of my lifetime (Kay Hagan for Senate). We are invested in where we are and in making it better.  That feels good. It only took a bagel for me to realize that.

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