November 10, 2014 by Katia
Mommy’s hoping to explain something to you, but first she needs to understand it herself, so she’s writing it down. Writing can help put order in your thoughts. Kind of like tidy up time but for your head.
Many people say: kids are adaptable. That means they’ll get used to anything. Is that true, or is it something that grownups say to make themselves feel better about tough decisions?
It’s been so strange for me to go from being your full time butler, chef, nurse, play date coordinator to being just one thing. For someone else. But you, boys, seem to have adapted. Most days I open the door to hungry embraces and wish that I could magically transform into a one woman choir to properly respond to the polyphony of you describing your day and observations, Ben in a long operatic aria and Daniel in single words staccato, always greedily reverting to the refrain “mama!”. On other days you barely acknowledge my presence with a mumbled ‘hi, mom’ and indifferent TV-glazed eyes. I’m equally thrilled either way, my wonderful boys, because – listen to this parenting wisdom – if your kids miss you when you’re at work that’s great. They don’t ? Even better. I know this sounds a little confusing, Ben, and maybe even like the kind of thing that elicits that deep, throaty from the bottom of your heart “BAAA” cry, because what kind of a thing is that to say that YOU didn’t miss ME and even worse for me to be happy about it, right?! Let me explain. All it really means is that you’ve adapted to a new situation and that it’s okay for mommy to not feel that terrible, yucky sense of guilt.
Remember how we talked about white lies, Ben? Sometimes grownups tell themselves white lies, about themselves and what they’re doing because the truth is too embarrassing, scary or bad. I admitted some truths to myself today (I wonder if you’d think that “black truths” is the opposite of white lies. Maybe it is.) and realized that maybe your adapting seemingly well to this me going back to work thing doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s NOT a big deal to you.
A month into the job you and I, Daniel, have established our little routines. Some mornings you protest “No work!” while I do my little bye bye dance outside the house drawing a heart shape in the air and blowing you kisses. Some days “wOrk” shapes your lips into a pout. On the weekend it widens and stretches your eyelids into their naturally inquisitive look as you wonder ‘where work?’ and on days like today it stretches the vowels of your squeaky little “w-OOOO-rk”? as you head determined to the blackboard with a pink chalk in your hand and decisively hand it to me asking: “paint work!”.
I understand that work is a new presence in your lives. A pink rectangular building on a blackboard. A big unknown to you, Daniel. I know that to you, Ben, it’s a social commitment mama can ditch whenever you ask her to walk you to school.
Remember how I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say? It’s coming to me now. I guess, my beloveds, that what I need you to know is that work is a thing and a big deal for me too. It’s big and unknown and I’m still figuring it out and it changed my life, not just yours, and I need you to know that I’m doing it not because I would ever choose anything over you, but because work allows us to do the things we want to do together as a family and alone as individuals and it allows us to learn and to feel good about ourselves in new ways.
Remember how last summer you with your infinite wisdom, Ben, told me that maybe we as a family need to each go our own way during the day so we could enjoy each other’s company more on the evening? Looks like you were right, once again. See? Sometimes grownups can learn from kids.