I got a window seat on the shuttle back and watched the familiar buildings pass by. Canadian Embassy. Senate office buildings. Union Station. Government Printing Office - I especially love that one. A mental wave to the lovely husband's office building. I pulled out my phone and sent an encouraging note to my bloggy friend Lenae, who is moving to DC soon, and I can't link you to her because her blog just went private because of the cool secret government mission that's bringing her family into and out of the area, and isn't that such a DC thing to say, and have I told you lately how much I love it here?
I was back at my own office building just in time to attend a retirement party. The honoree was the woman who hired me to work for the government, a quiet and tenacious woman whose influence was far-reaching, as evidenced by the prestigious speakers from various government agencies who spoke of her reach and her influence. I owe my career to her, though hundreds of people say that. She's retiring after 42 years of government service and when speaker after speaker tossed out "national security" and "national intelligence" I remember again how much I love this DC world, my DC life, this career I never expected to be mine. The head of our agency said "you enact the words of the President" and twice representatives of other agencies said "your nation thanks you for your service" and I remember just what she set me up to do, just what I've learned and that what I think of as everyday responsibility is unique and fascinating and significant.
How hard it must be, after immersing in this world for 42 years, to think: this is my life's work. And it is finished.