…(and tell old Pharaoh, “Let my people go.”)
Alright, I admit it. I’m having a hard time letting go of covering the big story.
For a good portion of my adult life, about 15 years, I’ve been covering stories that matter – and now I’m suffering from Page-One Withdrawal.
One morning last week, I woke up at 5 a.m. with a plan of heading to Egypt with my four-month-old baby. I imagined taking breaks from the massive demonstrations to breast-feed him as he slept in a room at the Cairo Marriott, a very lovely hotel in which I feel at ease. Through Egyptian friends, I’d quickly find a nanny to stay at the hotel while I went out reporting for a few hours, then came back to be with baby. When things were calm enough, I’d take him in the BabyBjorn (or one of my five other baby carriers) for a walk around Tahrir Square.
And then I burst my own bubble, ashamed to share the madness of this thinking with anybody.
The events in Egypt are riveting. And it’s not just that these are days of history in the making. It’s not just that we are watching the heretofore givens of the Middle East change before our very eyes.
For me, it’s also personal. I’ve probably been to Egypt, both as a journalist and a tourist, at least a dozen times in my life, starting with a trip I took while in college 20 years ago.
Cairo is a city I know well enough to feel comfortable reporting in, even in the middle of a revolution. Colleagues I have known for years are there. And it’s not that far from Jerusalem, so it genuinely feels odd not to be covering the uprising next door.
But there’s a good reason I’m not, and his name is Eli. He gives me a big silly smile every morning that melts my heart and puts my priorities in order. He’s changed my life.
Technically, I could still go to Egypt to cover The Story. I have a fabulously supportive husband and as of this week, part-time help so I can do my work as a writer, editor and lecturer. But leaving Jerusalem for Cairo would probably mean an abrupt, unhealthy end to breast-feeding – because baby would obviously not be going with me. That would cause copious amounts of guilt and suffering, and what’s the point? The revolution doesn’t need me. In short, I couldn’t part with my baby for a full week, or even a full day. I have difficulty walking out the door and leaving him with a babysitter for two or three hours, for Pete’s sake. Read more…