Grand Meetup Blues

I work for Automattic, and it’s great. We all work from home, I set my own hours, I have an incredible amount of autonomy, and I get to do work that I deeply believe in.

Once a year, everyone in the company is gathered into one place for a weeklong, mandatory meeting that we call the Grand Meetup. It’s our chance to talk face-to-face, cementing relationships that might previously only have been based on online interaction. We all give a short presentation (seriously short — this year it’s 4 minutes) and do team projects or take classes with people not usually on our team. We eat lunch and dinner with people we don’t know well already, and get to know them. There are cool activities and excursions like photowalks, karting, and hot air balloon rides. This year we’re in Park City, Utah.

I won’t lie; it’s pretty fabulous. The resort is beautiful, my coworkers are uniformly interesting and friendly, and there’s lots of fun to be had. I have great conversations. I hug people and joke and laugh.

But I have a family at home, including a little boy who’s two-and-a-half and cries for 30 minutes every single morning when he wakes up to find me absent. My husband can only work 6 hours a day in his office because I’m not around to get the kids to and from preschool. Tom’s an amazing dad, but doing the single father thing with a 5yo and a 2yo while you work full time in an office is crazy-hard. My family misses me, really a lot, like “crying through my evening video calls” a lot, and it’s terribly painful.

This morning is the 3rd-to-last day of the Grand Meetup. I fly home on Monday, which means Bax will only cry “I want Mommy” from 6-6:30am three more times. (Well, this month, at least — because in October I have another weeklong trip as well.) I know it’s a tradeoff, I know he’ll grow out of it, and I know that the kids are learning important things about women’s roles and growing closer to their father.

But right now I am overwhelmed by grief that my baby has been crying for Mommy, over and over for days, pleading with Tom and the universe to send me home to him, and Mommy isn’t there.

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