So it turns out that life as an attending is pretty amazing for many reasons, one of which is that your hours of work per week are closer to 40 than 80 (WHAT?!) and you occasionally get days off during the week which means that you can plan impromptu trips to DC just for the heck of it.
So, all that to say that Monday morning we packed our bags and got in the car and headed North. Two and a half hours later we arrived in DC (to a hotel in Dupont to be specific), and my heart was full and happy and I felt like I was home. You live somewhere for eight years and that sort of happens...it feels like home, right? Except it turns out that if you live there eight years as a DINK (that's DUAL INCOME NO KIDS in case you don't know) and return with your one baby and one crazy toddler, you may be unfamiliar with which attractions are kid friendly and which Metro stops have good elevators, but HEY. Also, related: NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU ANYMORE.
The sad reality is that I returned to DC as a boring old mom. Yup. Our first day there, we checked into the hotel and then took Metro down to Chinatown. We walked to Matchbox for lunch, the first restaurant I ever visited in DC, and still my favorite. By sheer coincidence, they seated us as the exact table I sat at for my very first visit, and also the table I sat at for my third date with Jared. I asked our twenty-something waitress to take our picture. Clark was screaming because he wanted apple juice. Henry was crying because he wanted LEFT BOOB. Jared was annoyed that I wanted a picture and I was trying to pose in a way that made me look skinny. And the waitress? Looked annoyed. Trying to diffuse her annoyance by telling her the story about how it was special to return to our special table with our two babies only served to make her more annoyed and even though I didn't actually see it (because I was in high-level hostage negotiations with my toddler), I'm positive she rolled her eyes at me.
Then. We decided to walk down toward The White House, and past The Treasury. When we got to the gate that is between Treasury and the East Wing of The White House, I stopped and showed Jared. I reminisced about walking through the gate to get to work every day and about how much I loved that job. I told Jared, for the tenth time maybe?, the story about the time I walked into work and a family had their face pressed up against the gate looking in. About how when I showed my badge and the gate opened, the mom proclaimed. "Look kids! A real live worker! Let's watch where she goes!" I told Jared about how the memory always stuck with me because it was a reminder of how lucky I was to work there. And then, as my happy memories were swelling up inside me and threatening to spill over, I wheeled my stroller toward that gate and walked toward the entrance, calling a flippant, "Jared take my pic!" behind me.
BUT. Then a Secret Service agent appeared and firmly instructed me to turn around and walk away. And I was genuinely confused and told him, "But you don't understand. I used to work here! Every day! I just want a picture to remember." And he totally didn't give a crap. He looked at me like I was a liar. Or crazy. Or both. NO SYMPATHY. And he told me again to step away. As in, "Ma'am, I've already warned you once."
And then some 24 year old girl walked up in her heels and cute little figure and cheap suit (we were all there at 24, it's fine) and scanned her badge and breezed in. She didn't even notice me. And that's when I had the realization that I'm totally irrelevant. No one cares about me. I'm a washed up mom that may as well be from Iowa and drive a minivan. But then Clark started yelling at me that he needed his WA-WA. And so I realized I'm still important, but it's totally different. And that was its own epiphany I suppose. Isn't Clark sweet to remind me in that moment?
Also I realized that cute flats no longer cut it in the city, particularly when pushing a giant double stroller. And so, not only am I a boring, irrelevant mom, but I also now own THESE:
PRAY FOR ME. I feel I've passed for point of no return. But my feet feel amazing.
Related confession: I secretly daydream about owning a minivan.