Last week, my office held their ever fabulous once-a-year Kids Day, which, to my kids, is like a state fair, Disneyworld, and The Best Day Ever in History all rolled into one. Think Build-A Bear, spin art, Mickey Mouse photo ops, cotton candy–basically everything you’ve ever said “no” to. All in one place. For free.
Not surprisingly, Thalia and Sage have talked about it non-stop since last year; a good 364 days of planning whether they’d have the pizza or the peanut butter this year.
Last week, Kids Day came again.
Smack in the middle of a huge project.
A huge project that had me out of the office for the day.
(Darn that work, actually making me do work.)
Thankfully my awesome sitter was happy to bring them, but I couldn’t help feeling wretchedly guilty the entire day. Not that there wasn’t enough spin art and cupcake decorating and balloon animals to keep them from thinking about their mother abandoning them…er I mean “having a meeting.”
Still, I felt like some awful anti-hero character in an Upper East Side tell-all novel turned feature film.
Welcome to “The Advertising Diaries,” in which a creative director with nice shoes (really nice) and a view of the Empire State Building sends her nanny to Take Your Kids To Work Day. The inciting incident involves a four year-old calling the sitter “mom” for the fiftieth time, and the third act culminates in a display of gut-wrenching Central Park drama not seen since Kramer vs Kramer.
I would of course be played by Tina Fey.
The text came to my phone the moment I stepped in the elevator: It’s over. Do you want us to wait for you?
I arrived back just in time to catch my sugar-hyped girls happily straggling out of the event with painted pumpkins and butterfly-painted faces and brown bags filed with spoils that they were begging to eat. Yes time was over. No time had begun again.
I led them to a nearby office to draw quietly with some other kids while I tried–desperately, and with so much need–to wrap up work for the day so we could spend some time together like the other parents had done with their own kids. As I got ready to shut my laptop, I heard the sound of little feet dancing down the hall (how wonderful is that sound at work?) toward my office. Thalia poked her head in to hand me a note before twirling and leaping right back again.
I’m not sure if I hugged her more, or if she hugged me more.