Sunday, February 27, 2022

Birthdays and First Days

After two weeks off that were crammed with more things than my usual weeks on (except for my last Friday at home when I set down my to do list, grabbed a fuzzy blanket, and watched "Tick Tick Boom" on Netflix at the indulgent daylight hour of 11 a.m. and it was WONDERFUL. Absolutely worth the busy weekend I had to make up for it), I started my new job this past Monday.
I recreated my "first day at V&E" photo I took with Landon in Austin in 2008. He's now a gangly 120 lb. teenager with giant feet, so James had to pick him up and put him in my arms and then quickly take the photo, but we did it!

I'd been by the office the week before to do my headshot, attend a meeting, and bring in some of my office decor. It was my first headshot in 14 years and I knew it would be on any article or speaking engagement I did for the next few years, so I hired a hair and makeup artist to help. They came to my house that morning, set up at my kitchen table, and blow dried and airbrushed me to perfection. Or as close as I can get from the neck up.
I wore my new suit, a beautiful fun necklace James bought me years ago, and my Grandma Mary's pearl earrings. I felt SO self-conscious about how much makeup I had on, but when I saw the picture I was so glad I brought in a pro.
The firm's PR rollout proceeded as planned and my name popped up everywhere for a few days.

I'm still getting to know everyone, but it's been really nice to be back in an office again. The firm is officially going to a 3/2 model starting next week of 3 days in the office and 2 days at home. Working from home has been great, and I wouldn't be contemplating this change without knowing I'll still have 2 weekdays at home, but there's an energy and connection that comes from being together in-person on a legal team and I'm excited to be part of it. And to wear pretty clothes. As much as I love my pj's, it gives me a boost to put myself together in the morning and head out.

Speaking of my commute, it started out well! I bought a new car in my time off and that helps a lot. I can also play with my arrival and departure time to help avoid traffic. Without traffic it is exactly a 41 minute drive from my driveway to my office parking garage. THe kids decorated the kitchen table to greet me after my first day and later told me James had told them "not to put ANYTHING on the kitchen counter before mom gets home. She needs to see it clean." Clean kitchen counters are my love language and the table decor was all Landon and the girls' idea and I just feel so loved by my crew.
On Wednesday things took a turn for the worse when temperatures plummeted from the 70's to the 20's and a light rain rolled in. Ice formed immediately and in a city without salt or sand trucks, the whole world was a skating rink and it was a dangerous disaster. I left work early, at 2 p.m., but 1/2 mile into my drive home I got stuck on an overpass on-ramp for over an hour. They closed the ramp 3 cars behind me, but without anyone actively injured, emergency crews just taped it up and drove off. Two trucks in front of me had spun out and hit the sides overpass. The drivers were fine but couldn't move their cars. The rest of the cars on the ramp were sliding everywhere and every time I took my foot off the brake, my car would slide sideways. It was so extremely not good. Eventually cars were able to slowly weave around the crashed cars to actually get on the highway. I went exactly 2 mph for a very long time. 2.5 hours later I was home. Schools and offices were shut down the next day and I was very glad to never leave again.
I got my home command station all setup (the rest of the room is still a work in progress; the contractor and crew arrive this week!) and Maggie was VERY HAPPY to be my legal assistant once again. She literally never moved from under my legs. Poor girl, the transition has been toughest on her.
I bribed Milo with a new tunnel the day before I started and he seems fine. Moose refuses to enter the tunnel of death but seems pleased with my absence.
On Friday I turned 39. Schools had a 2-hour delay because of the lingering ice, so it was the perfect lazy morning followed by everyone going to school which is the very best working parent combination.
The kids decorated the table from our well-used birthday drawer and made their sweet signs and homemade cards.
Maggie wore her hat with pride and Claire even made the cats a tiny hat.
Milo almost loved it.
Moose wondered how much you valued your life.
James was SO excited about his gift for me and he did a very good job.
Mama's first fancy purse. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
The kids went off to school, I picked up my birthday Starbucks, and then I worked from home the rest of the day.

I cut out early for a happy hour with law friends at my very favorite nacho place with my very favorite sangria swirl margaritas. I've been going there for every birthday since 2014, except the Covid shutdown year, and it was so nice to be back.
They surprised me with a cake and it was the sweetest. A litte later two of my mama friends came by after work! I got to catch up with them and open the cake and just have the nicest time waiting for James and the kids to get back from swimming.
Once I reunited with my swimmers and swim coach, there was more cake and a birthday song.
I love this crew of mine so much. I love how excited they get about birthdays and celebrating each other and reusing the same birthday decor and hats for the last decade.
So here's to my last year of my 30's! I got pregnant with Cora on my 30th birthday and when I look back on my 30's they just feel filled with the joy of smiley babies and chunky toddlers and our little pack playing together at home and on our travels around the world. Our world seemed so small 9 years ago - just the five of us, day in and day out, and we defined the kids' whole universe. Those early years were love and laughter, steady discipline and boundaries, and our house at the center of all. Now at the end of my 30's our world seems so much broader. The kids are older, so much of their day doesn't involve us at all, and our parenting is so much more advisory opinions and talking through their days at dinner each night. They seem so formed- not to say we don't still shape them or that our presence doesn't matter because it does. But compared to 5-6 years ago, they seem to be so much of who they are and will become. And I like who they are and will be so very much.
So here's to 39! A great end to a great decade and I'm so excited about all that lies ahead.


Author's Note: It's impossible to blog anything these days without feeling like the worst navel-gazer. I honestly have no idea how to merge my awareness, sadness, and awe at the Ukrainian people right now in their war against Putin's invasion with a frivolous birthday post, except to note the stark contrast and add that the situation in Ukraine is part of our dinner conversations and our charitable donations (NPR has good ideas and I always look to World Central Kitchen for a way to immediately help someone on the ground).


  1. Rebecca, as a long time, long distance reader I am just endlessly proud of you (in the most non condescending way possible) - you have inspired so many of my own career choices and I feel so honored and privileged that you continue to share with us. I am in the last year of my forties and from my vantage point with my kids and career where they are at, the best is yet to come for you. Happiest birthday and huge congratulations again! (PS I am now looking for an opportunity to hire a make up/hair artist to my kitchen table - your headshot is stunning!)

  2. I can't wait to see what you do with your home office. Is the TV room different from the crafts/homework room that your kids use? I loved how you decorated that room.

  3. Congratulations on your first day and that picture of you and Landon is hilarious! Tell us about the new car!!

  4. Yes, the world exists in all its messiness (always), but your life milestones matter! I'm so glad you updated. And OMG are you wearing the same shoes as when L was a baby?

  5. Happiest of birthdays, Rebecca - the best (40s) is yet to come!