There were 50 chairs in a large, sunny room. They were arranged in a U, and my printed agendas rested neatly behind name plates perched beside folders with relevant materials. I looked at the items laid out so neatly and nodded with a mixture of nerves and satisfaction. The months of planning - logistics and strategy, transportation and content - were done. It was time to begin.
I've eaten out, luxurious meals at wonderful restaurants, for the past 3 nights with some of the leaders in my field. I've had their attention focused on me as I said what I thought, listened in attentive fascination as they shared their opinions and answered all our questions. I accepted the compliments on all my work and kept looking around, wondering how this could be possible. That we'd invited this many people who were considered a Big Deal in the field and they now knew me. Shook my hand, kissed my cheeks, sat across from me at dinner.
Despite the delight, I am exhausted. I worked to make this happen and I dutifully kept us on time and organized. I got people in town and sent them out again. I've been at their hotel more often than I've been home and at the meeting location even more than that. Yet there are moments worth remembering.
* My crush was there and I am sincerely and ridiculously infatuated with the man. From the moment he grinned and leaned down to kiss both my cheeks in greeting, a bit of his stubble rasping my cheek, to when he called me his darling before kissing me farewell, I would look over at him during my most stressful moments and all would be well once again. It's shocking, really, that I've forgotten what a good crush feelings like. That moment of a blushing glance across the room and thinking, "Oh, I like you."
* Somehow the fact that he's easily 15 years older than I mattered much less than his accent is divine, hands decidedly sexy and mind brilliant. Oh, how I like him. But I kept from mooning over him. Other than greetings and farewells where I'd nuzzle close for kisses, I entertained others in the group I was just meeting rather than knew and loved and allowed others to enjoy his company.
* I didn't realize how much I touch people when I'm nervous and in charge. I felt undeniably affectionate, albeit to a lesser degree, to everyone in the group and passed out more than my share of hugs and quick rubs of a shoulder or back as I mingled between sessions.
* Business dinners have stopped being a miserable chore and turned into a pleasant way to spend an evening. I was surprised upon realizing that I giggled over stories and offered my own without feeling as though I was working really hard to entertain. I've somehow become good at business interactions in a social setting.
* I started my period at the very beginning of the biggest meeting in my career. Upon realizing it, I rolled my eyes, decided it should have been expected, and took pills to handle the cramps and headache.
* I do not tolerate unexpected glitches in my carefully-created schedule. From my boss to his boss to my close colleague, I categorically denied them last-minute requests that didn't make sense. I lost some battles and had to do it, but I resented each change bitterly. It was my meeting and they were ruining it and I was angry.
* I prayed on my way in this morning. The sun was rising just after 6:00 and I spoke to God as I sped toward the meeting location in order to prepare. It helped. I was more relaxed and focused today.
* There is a point that after so many days of unrelenting work, extreme stress and lack of sleep that I can't think clearly. I'm now at that point. So I shall sleep, deal with the final wrap up tomorrow and we'll see if we can't get back to normal.