You're having a hard time taking a little nap before we head to Nana's house for dinner so I tell you to hop up on my bed and snuggle with me. You lie down on my belly and I stroke your hair and face. Your lanky legs dangle off the side of the bed, fidgeting as you try so hard to lay still. I think how this time next week I will be somewhere else and Grandma will be doing this with you. Yes, there will be other days to lay and snuggle, on the weekend, on vacation, but not like this. A full day of Kindergarten, daddy's at work, little brother is napping in his crib. I get that gut wrenching pull when I realize just how numbered my days here like this with you are.
I think back to the first time I left you at a year old. How miserable I was, even more so knowing that I did it to myself. Stupid girl. My heart ached every day until I fell pregnant with your baby brother just 5 months in. I was scared to let out my secret, but secretly so happy to know that soon, I would be back home with you. By this point the tears are streaming, like they are now, and you look up and say "What's wrong Mama?" You stroke my face and hop down and grab me a tissue. You are spunky but so good, right down to your soul...
I took your baby brother on an adventure yesterday. After we dropped you off at school I asked him, "Where do you want to go Bubba?" He said he wanted to ride rides. So I took him to that fancy mall down the freeway. We went to the smaller side, with the little bitty carousel, where it's nice and quiet. He rode the carousel 4 times, and took turns on Princess Guinevere, King Arthur, and an unnamed horse with an orange saddle, his favorite color. He kept asking me, "Can I ride again Mommy?" and of course I had to oblige. I sat down on the little bench meant for babies and just watched him. I started to cry, as I am now, and the man across the way getting his coffee looked concerned for me. I guess it's not everyday you see a mom crying on a carousel.
He wasn't satisfied with the carousel, and asked to ride more rides. So we went on the escalator ride, holding hands, up and down, at least 15 times. I started to get dizzy, but that was okay. Bubba wanted to get on and off all by himself, until he almost fell, and gently asked for my help on the next turn. After the escalators, he declared "More rides mommy!" So I said, "let's go on the glass walled ride" and we rode the glass elevator up and down, up and down and he got to push all the buttons. Yes, there will be more days like this, but on the weekend it will be more crowded, and impatient shoppers will not look on so kindly to the little boy with the curly hair, insisting on taking the elevator from down to up, to ground floor, to down and all the way back to the top.
Here I get set to leave again, and I am scared shitless. Terrified really. Oh I know that overall, in the hands of Nana and Grandma, you will both be just fine. But I may not. 3 weeks ago all I could think of were words like opportunity and security and 401K and Sep IRA and benefits and on and on. Now it's like a Peanuts voice in my head going Wah Wah Wah Wah Wah.
Come Monday I will again take on a new vocabulary. Words like pee-pee and potty and yippee and good-job will be exchanged for fabulous, amazing, incredible, NYC, LA. Yes, I will take on my role and do what I'm good at, because that's what I do. I work, I work, I work. Even in the last 3 years at home with you, my lovelies, I find countless ways to fill my life with work. In my next life I vow not to work so much. In fact I want to be a lazy, good for nothing slob. Okay, maybe not, but I really want to master the art of laziness. Can I take a course in that?
I had to unsubscribe from a blog recently because I just couldn't take the stay at home rhetoric anymore. It became like some sort of self inflicted torture, seeking all posts she ever wrote on why she is a stay at home mom. There are at least 20 of them, no joke. Lots of good fodder for guilt inducing thoughts. The sacrifices she makes to stay at home. I thought about writing her an email explaining how women that return to work also sacrifice, but I let the PMS hormones simmer down a bit and just clicked the unsubscribe button. I torment myself enough, I do not need to add more guilt from a woman 2000 miles away that I have never met. I should have been Catholic, I swear.
So here we are back to the bed and I think to myself, we may be back here in the same spot, a year from now, 2 years from now. But will it really be the same? Will you still lie on my belly? Will you still stroke my face and tell me how much you love me? I don't know. I hope so, oh how I hope so.
Oh God what have I done?