Over the winter break, I had the opportunity to attend a professional academic conference. I knew about it a year in advance, and had planned that far ahead, as it just so happened the conference was in traveling distance of my mother-in-law's house, so I knew we could all go as a family.
Logistically, however, it wasn't as easy as it seemed when it was still a year away. Suddenly, about a week or two before the conference I realized that Maia is in school. This means that we can't just up and go on a trip whenever we want. Hence the four-day conference diminished to one day for me. Then there was the issue of what to do with the kids, and finally we settled on Grandma taking the girls and Jeff and Patrick coming with me to the conference, then Jeff taking Patrick to Great-Grandma's house for lunch, and returning to the conference to get me so we could head back to Grandma's in time for Patrick's 6:00 bedtime. It started to seem like more work than it was worth.
And to be honest, given that I spend most of my time doing childcare and menial housework, I was a bit nervous. Could I pull it off and make everyone think that I'm a real academic? Only the thought of seeing a few friends kept me going...
So on Saturday, I dressed to play the part - navy blazer, white blouse, brown dress pants, along with my classy briefcase-like bag. Seeing as how my normal uniform is jeans and a sweatshirt, I definitely felt like a pretender. But on the other hand, it helped me feel at home and fit in at the conference.
At least for the first two hours. Because after an organizational meeting for a board I'm a part of, I rejoined Jeff and Patrick with a banana that I'd snagged from the breakfast buffet where we had our meeting. I knew Patrick would be hungry, so I dutifully peeled the banana and began giving him small chunks. He voraciously devoured it, or so it seemed until the moment when I tried to capture him during an attempted escape and found my freshly dry-cleaned navy blazer now dotted with smooshed banana.
In case you are wondering, smooshed banana does NOT come off of navy blue blazers; it turned into bananaglue within seconds and no amount of water or rubbing made any difference. And in case you are wondering, Patrick managed to get it everywhere - shoulder, sleeve, lapel, you name it.
So, not as professional-looking. But definitely more theologianmomish. No one could have mistaken me for a real academic.