Last Halloween I gave birth to a baby boy. He is in almost every way the opposite of his sister.
Elsa is stubborn and wild and full of energy. She never really looked like a child, more like a tiny adult. Only her big round eyes are childlike. Many will be deceived by her delicate fragile appearance. Her brother likes to sleep and eat and can keep himself entertained for hours with simple toys. He is growing fast and has almost reached her weight, despite being three years younger. He will be a gentle giant one day.
While Elsa is a striking image of me, he has the Knight’s eyes but also some features of my father. Who knows, maybe he will look like my dad, only with blue almond eyes.
When I was away from the lab my grant ended. I am without funding at the moment. For many scientists this is a death sentence. The head of the institute agreed to finance me for one year. Or I could just have stayed at home and collected childcare allowance while my husband would not put his permanent employment in jeopardy by going on paternity leave. Everyone adviced against me returning to the institute. Even the Witcher, on the basis of reason, because he still has my best interest in mind, although it would have meant hardly ever seeing him anymore. Again, he was willing to let me go because he thought is was best for me.
I returned to the lab when my son was three months old. The Knight is a stay-at-home dad and has become noticably more relaxed. The house is in chaos most of the time, but at least he has multiple new home improvement projects (which will most likely take months to get finished but who am I to judge an artist as work).
I love my job. The White Queen is working feverishly on an application for a big new grant for me, also we have a patent application pending and three more papers in the pipeline. I am back in my natural habitat, between the microscope and the sterile bench, making all the things happen that had to wait for me to come back. After six months of having to cope with incomplete notes and general non-perfectionism from my replacement, I think the White Queen is extra-happy to have me on board again. Moreover I have volunteered to take over administration and content writing for our homepage and within the first month got fixed up with another homepage of our collaboration partners as well. I will do my best to make myself useful. To make them regret should they ever let me go.
The Witcher has asked me if I would have made the same choice if he wasn’t in the picture. I replied to him that I had no answer to that question. That the people in our life make us who we are, so I would be another person without him and I don’t know her or what she would do.
I would not be the same person without the Witcher.
I would not be the same person without the Knight.
Their lifes would be different without me.
* Probably because she’s never had time for such mundane things as eating and thus lacked the chubby cheeks and wrists most toddlers have…