Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Latent Maternal Instincts

"So," I said, pressing my hands together and looking around the room. "I freshened the flowers and put all the folders in place. The name cards are on the table when guests enter and refreshments will be here on the side. When you're ready to begin the presentation, you touch this screen and press these two buttons. Oh, and I moved that row of chairs to the other side - it looked odd the old way, but I can change it back if you'd like.

"You're going to be wonderful," I assured her without waiting for a response. "You're smart, completely prepared and you look so pretty! Did I forget anything? What else do you need?"

I waited, watching her glance around the room and nervously adjust her watch. "A hug," she requested and I paused my own visual review of the room before reaching for her and murmuring an assurance into her hair before rubbing her shoulder affectionately and stepping away.


"For goodness sake," I murmured later, reaching for Adam's jacket where he'd thrown it on the back of his chair. "It's like you've never worn a suit before." I shook my head as I turned the left arm rightside out and straightened the shoulders on the back of the padded seat.

He rolled his eyes at me before reviewing the seating chart. I lifted an eyebrow in silent warning when he reached to change something and he considered me for a second or two before going ahead and doing what he wanted.

"You're lucky you're my boss," I told him, sighing when I went to straighten the table settings he'd disturbed.

"Lucky?" he teased, making me grin involuntarily. "Not the word I would have picked," he mused before leaving the room in search of a drink.


"You're late," I offered affectionately as we wandered out of the building after cleaning up. TinyFriend looked up at me and wrinkled her tiny nose before asking how I knew. "You're always late, my dear," I replied, smiling.

"6:30," I guessed when she asked what time it was. My arms were full of boxes and I couldn't reach my BlackBerry to check the time (or watch for the blinking red light). She plucked the largest of the packages out of my grasp and I reached for my phone. "6:42," I informed her. "I was close."

We chatted - she's doing well and is very happy with her new role. I'm the same as always - busy, stressed, but somehow happy with my job and life. "What time are your dinner plans?" I asked in reply to her invitation to go for coffee. She answered, adorably sheepish, that they were in 18 minutes and at a location about an hour away.

"Sweetheart," I scolded gently. "You should get started with the commute. Do you know how to get there?" I handed her my Garmin when she shook her head, making sure she knew how to use it. "I want it back," I warned her and she gave a happily distracted wave, entering her dinner destination into the device on her way to her car.


"Katie!" she shouted as I was stepping in my car, causing me to clutch my keys and stand outside once again. I was scanning her for injuries when she asked if I had someone's phone number. I nodded that I did and she asked that I make her excuses for the upcoming cocktail event.

"Is everything OK?" I asked, concerned.

"Yes," she said, then immediately shook her head. "My husband was supposed to pick up our daughter but he had to work late and the nanny is off today. So he's irritated and stressed and she's having a meltdown at a friend's house and I'm an hour away and filled with guilt from every angle."

"I'm sorry," I offered, sincere but not overly helpful. "I'll let them know about tonight." She called her thanks over a shoulder as she scampered to her car, leaving me to shake my head in wonder over how in the world anyone could balance all of that before climbing in my car and starting it.

"Drive carefully," I told her though she couldn't hear me, watching her pull into traffic and speed into the sunset. I headed east, tossed my BlackBerry in my cupholder and took a sip of water before heading home to my dog and cat and quiet little life.

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