As the weeks went on, I realized that being a lame duck was, well, interesting. Someone asked me a question about The Early Show, and I could only reply, quoting Robert De Niro from Meet the Parents, "I am now outside the circle of trust."
As soon as I said that, I realized I was liberated. It's a word Buff had used when he'd first heard the news, and I'd thought he was saying that only to cheer me up. But then it struck me that, yes, I really was about to be liberated. And I realized I would now have the time to find a new job that would showcase not only my skills, but also my wacky sense of humor.
This wacky sense of humor has been what has carried me through this unforeseen blow. It's like a vaccine, protecting me from the ills of life.
I am pleased with the true me. That's not to say this change hasn't been hard. It has been among the hardest things in my life. Sometimes I feel really good and strong, as if I've been handed the opportunity of a lifetime. Other times I feel utterly defeated and demoralized, with my self-esteem hovering somewhere just above the dirt.
And then there's the practical good-enough-mother part of me. The part that realizes these things happen, that there's an ebb and flow to life that's out of my control—just as my children's personalities and interests are—and that this change is somehow meant to be. I haven't had one day of panic, thinking I have to find another job right away just so I can be back on television in a jiffy. I guess that's the difference between the René of thirty-three and the René of forty-three. At thirty-three I would have been beyond devastated if I'd gotten fired. Now I'm much more patient. I'm thrilled to spend more time with my children.
And I will be back in the game, probably sooner than I think.
But then again, I have to confess that there have been times when I've been sitting in my office, a scant eleven minutes before I'm slated to go on the air, thinking, I want to disappear. I cannot put on my happy face and do this.
Then I pull it together, and do it. You know why? Because I am a professional who always gives 100 percent. I can hear the words of the original good-enough mother, Anne Syler, ringing in my ears: "The only fair in life is the weather."
Ain't that the truth!
Really, sometimes you can think only in clichés when you're living through the "when it rains, it pours" / "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" time of your life. I'm especially thinking in clichés right now because I'm not only living with the sudden loss of the job I loved, but I am also dealing with the anticipation of another huge event.
I'm about to have my breasts chopped off.