It greets you in the morning and envelopes you with love and warmth. It opens my eyes at its first sip and serves as a loyal source of energy throughout the day. It is my companion on cold mornings and my comfort on cool nights. It’s what my children have come to call “mommy’s juice” as they check to make sure they have left enough milk in the carton for mommy’s cup the following morning. It’s the Perfect Cup. To all my fellow coffee lovers, have an extra cup today. It’s National Coffee Day and I am off to fill cup number two.
Fifteen years ago, a special tiny puppy came into my world. She was no more than eight pounds and was just the cutest little thing I ever laid eyes on. She was a gift from my husband (then boyfriend) my senior year of college. Having only a gold-fish as a pet until that moment, I was at a complete loss on how to care for her. However, with the guidance of roommates and my very patient husband, I learned how to manage.
Today, Maggie is 105 years old “in dog years”. She is spunky, sassy, stubborn and sweet. Once the only child, she is now the oldest among three (2 human and 1 animal). Despite the puddles of love she leaves behind on our hardwood floors, or her insistent howling until you give her your dinner, she has brought so much love and comfort to me and my family. So to my very first baby, Happy Birthday Maggie. You changed me the moment I saw you and have been witness to some of our families most important milestones over the past 15 years. We love you and your little howl!
I am certain without a doubt that my husband was not only present but actively participating in the conception of our children. Furthermore, he was also present at the moments of their births and almost every following milestone. He woke up late nights to feed, change and comfort them while I pumped milk for the following day. He was there to clean their boo boos, wipe their tears and give them sweet kisses to make them feel better. He has and continues to be there to reprimand the children much the same way I do when they misbehave. In my mind, he and I are complete equals. The children – not so much.
For the past several days, my husband is taking a much-needed break and I am flying solo as a single parent. The day-to-day scheduling tends to be more chaotic without my husband’s help, but I have learned to manage by using available resources – my family and friends. We also have a little ritual when Daddy is away. We will talk about the area in which he has traveled to and we often make a cake upon his return. On trips where Daddy is flying, the children and I sometimes sit in Terminal C and are the first faces Daddy sees when he comes through the gates.
Today is Saturday and Daddy is on his way home. Our day is relatively mild as far as activities is concerned. Ballet rehearsals and food shopping are the only items on the “to do” list and a very much-needed ladies book club meeting tonight. Which brings me to the point of this post. While discussing our plans for today, I mentioned that my mommy friends were coming over for Book Club. Without even finishing my sentence, the children were jumping up and down. “Yesssssss. Daddy is babysitting for us! Whoo Hoo!”
WTF? We hire young ladies to “babysit”. We ask our relatives to “babysit”. Why is it that Daddy “babysits”?
Considering I just spent several days parenting my children solo, did my children think I was “babysitting”? I just had to question the children knowing full-well this could easily bruise my ego.
“Daddy let’s us have fun. You make us do homework, brush our teeth and go to bed on time,” says my oldest. Seeing my apparent dejection on my face, my youngest interjected, “But you make the best lunches.”
What has changed to allow this optimistic outlook? It most definitely not a diminished work load at the office. Meetings and assignments are still being scheduled and completed. My freelance writing is still tapping the keys on the keyboard. The children continue to participate in all activities under the sun and PTO tasks are still keeping me busy at night. So it’s safe to say my work load has remained the same.
It’s the smile and the excitement in my daughter’s eye when she recognizes me in the halls of her school. “That’s my mommy”, she proudly announces. “She works, but she is still the coolest.”
My window of being “cool” despite the fact that I work, is not going to last forever. There will be a day where they will blush when they see me approach or hide from their “uncool” mom. Until then, I am taking full advantage of my cool status and making a difference in not just their lives but the community.
I am not supermom, supermamma or any other ridiculous title many bestow on themselves. I shrug at this stupidity. I happen to work full-time. I happen to have children who are active. I happen to lend the skills I acquired during my career. There is nothing more to it than that. There is no guilt. I do what I do because I love it and I know this moment in my children’s lives will not last forever.
Completely unplanned and very much welcomed, my children were whisked away one recent night by my two very dear friends. At first, my husband and I sat dumbfounded across from each other unable to process what was happening. Coming quickly to our senses and knowing our time was limited, we started the first fire of the season in our fireplace, lit candles, settled on my Ipod (hubby’s was in the car) and poured ourselves a cold glass of beer. As we sat cuddled facing the crackling fire, we chatted everything non romantic: finances, upcoming work projects, children, schedules and after several glasses of beer, possible home improvement projects.
When I was younger I envisioned this moment with rose petals askew on the floor and hubby and I whispering sweet nothings in my ear. The likelihood of THAT ever occurring would evoke a completely different vibe today. Petals on the floor – faithful lab getting hold of the flowers. Sweet whispers shared – so as not to wake the sleeping children.
Yes, life turned out very different from what my naive 20-something self envisioned, but having had just the most romantic unromantic night in a while, I can’t imagine it any better.