Welcome to my less than perfect life!

Embracing the imperfections that make my life practically perfect in every way.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Working Mom

The Nugget's babysitter is awesome.  She has been working hard this summer, taking the kids to the pool or the park almost every day.  The little ones end the day exhausted and happy.  The Nugget loves her friends and her babysitter and the whole experience of going to the sitter's.

But I wish it were me who was home with my baby.

I wish that I was home with her every day.  I wish that it was I who took her to the pool and the playground and the museum and the zoo each day.  I wish I didn't come home from a full day of work exhausted and depleted and without much left to give.

I know that we are blessed.  First of all, we are all happy and healthy.  Second, The Nugget gets to spend lots of time with her parents (though her parents don't get to spend much time together).  And The Nugget actually likes the social outlet provided by the sitter.  But still, I wish our situation were different and that we didn't even need the sitter in our lives.

Some moms who stay home have told me that they think it's good, as an adult, to have a work outlet.  They want the ability to have this adult time to help them cope with the kid-stuff at home.  To them I say:  I'll be the judge of that, at least for me.  Maybe I would stay home and go crazy and need to find a part-time job.  But at least it would be an option.  Now, there is no option.  Just work and home and cook and clean and try to squeeze in playtime where we can and bathe and sleep and repeat.  It's exhausting and I miss my kid.

Lots of moms out there are working multiple jobs.  I tip my hat to them.  I suppose we all do what we must, but I don't know if I could hack it.  My own mother worked multiple shifts at a factory when I was little.  I thought I understood how hard that must have been, but it wasn't until I had my own babies that I understood the truth of what she gave up to do that.

Dearest Daughter:  One day we will look back on this time and it will have flashed by, little more than a blink of the universe's eye.  But, for me, my days have been long without you.  I am never happier than when you are by my side.  I love being a mother and a wife and cooking and cleaning and making a happy life for my family.  There was a time in my younger life when I didn't realize that I could find that job fulfilling, but now I know that, for me, there is nothing more important.  I still consider it my number one job, it's just one that unfortunately doesn't pay the bills. 

So on the days you go to the sitter, enjoy!  Have fun and run and swim with your friends.  Smile and laugh and socialize.  I don't envy your freedom and joy, I just wish I were there to share it with you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Making Babies

The other day I was relaxing on the couch when The Nugget walked up to me and said, "I want a baby sister."

Hmmmmm....

To be totally fair, this was not completely out of the blue.  I have been talking to her lately about whether or not she wants us to have another baby.

So my response was: "I thought you said you wanted a baby brother?"  This is what she had previously requested.

"I want a baby brother and a baby sister!" she cried.

I laughed.  "Well, honey, it's going to take us a while to make you one of each."

Pretty soon, she was pulling on me and begging me to get up off the couch.   I couldn't figure out what was going on.

"What's wrong, Nugget?"

"Momma, let's go make!"  she pleaded.

Oh.  She wants me to go into the kitchen and "make" her a baby brother and a baby sister.  Right now.  After all, when she wants me to make cookies, we whip them right up together!  Obviously, this can't be that different, right?

Rather than dive into the birds and the bees, I distracted her with a book, but I am documenting this for the world to see and tucking it away for when she does have a baby brother or sister so that I can prove to her that, yes, at one point she actually asked for this!  And she wanted it NOW!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Free Time

As I was driving home from climbing in my car from work the other day, the babysitter texted me:  "The Nugget is sleeping.  Feel free to take your time before you come to get her."

WHAT????

Perhaps to preface my level of my excitement I should make sure you know that The Nugget only goes to daycare about 3 hours per day and has NEVER taken a nap while she was there.

I nearly drove off the road made sure the car was safely in park before texting back: "Oh, my!  How long has she been asleep?"  To which she replied: "Only about 45 minutes.  Take your time."

WHAT????

While I narrowly avoided hitting the car in the next lane sat in the safety of my parked car, I texted back: "Maybe I'll just run to the grocery.  See you soon."

But my mind was racing!  According to my calculations, The Nugget would sleep about one more hour at this point.  A whole hour with which to do whatever I wanted without the toddler along for the ride.  My first task was, obviously, to calmly make a list of my options in my head while I drove home:

Change the sheets, read a magazine, take a nap, wash the towels, go the grocery, brush the cat, put away the diapers, run the dishwasher, wash The Nugget's clothing (including her beloved Piggy, which is much harder to do with her present), read my Kindle, mop the floors, clean the kitchen...

As the mother of a toddler, I can now get five times the stuff done in one hour as I used to get done in an hour prior to having kids.  I was on a high.  I was superwoman!  A WHOLE HOUR to myself!

You'd be amazed how much of this list I actually got done.  I decided it was to my advantage to take on tasks which required the use of the stairs as this is where The Nugget bogs me down the most.  She always wants to go with me instead of waiting for me to be right back, and each trip up and down the stairs takes her at least 10 minutes because she views it as a sight-seeing tour of the various bits of fuzz and dirt on the stairs, as well as the perfect opportunity to discuss any and all topics of the day (which can only be done while she is fully stopped on the middle of the stairs; she has not yet mastered talking and climbing).   So up and down the stairs I ran, accomplishing tasks great and small, for my next hour of freedom.

I arrived to a freshly awakened Nugget, whom I scooped up and took to a healthy eatery fast food joint in order to reward her for giving Mommy some much-needed alone time.  Still high from my treat, we then tackled the grocery store.  Yes, by the end, she had worn me down with her whining, but, by God, we got it done!

It's the little things, folks.  That's what keeps me going.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Red Writing Hood: What I Want Most

This week's prompt focused on character development. We asked you to tell us what your character - or you -wants. It's a way to get to know your character or yourself better.

What I Want

I can hear it before I see it; the helicopter hovering just beyond the edge of my neighborhood.  My daughter hears it, too.
“What’s that?”  she cries.
“It’s a helicopter” I reply, trying not to let my voice betray the worry that the presence of the helicopter brings.
“Heh-ih-copper” she repeats, then continues to water the garden in the twilight.
When we are finished with the garden and our outdoor play, we go into the house.  The helicopter still hovers in the air, and I know that there is trouble.  I turn on the news and, soon enough, I see that there is a water rescue taking place in the neighborhood just beyond my own.  My stomach sinks and I send up the closest thing I know to a prayer that someone’s baby is safe today.  A wish and a hope that this will be the time they spend their lives talking about, remembering how lucky they were.
At work the next morning, I ask if anyone knows about the water rescue.  They tell me that an 8 year old girl died.  My heart twists into a painful knot.  I hurt for her, her family, her friends, the kids who swam with her, the rescuers who could not revive her.
I drive by the pool that afternoon.  I had suspected that this was the one, but, seeing it, I am now certain.  It’s total silence on this hot afternoon says all I need to know about the tragedy that still hangs in the air.
I did not know this girl.  I did not know her family, but in my mind’s eye, I can see her sparkling eyes and the smile that lights up her face.  I see the wet hair slicked back from her forehead as she breaks the surface of the water, giggling with her friends.  I feel how she grows tired as she plays and how she ignores this, pushes it down so that she can enjoy just a little more time.
In my mind’s eye, I imagine her swallowing just a bit too much water.  Her friends aren’t paying attention.  Is her family at the edge of the pool?  Is anyone, anyone watching as she struggles to the surface and gasps her last breath?  Where are the adults who promised to love and protect her?  Didn’t we all make that promise?
I didn’t know this little girl.  I cannot say if she was sweetness and light or fire and passion.  I cannot say whether she was loved or cared for by her family.  I cannot say whether she was popular or pretty or kind or sweet.  I can only say that today, in this moment, the thing I want most in the world is to have her back.  To be there with her, to have held out a hand to a struggling little girl and pulled her to the edge of the pool where she could catch her breath and go on about her play.  To not have her family know the pain that the loss of a precious daughter could bring.
I know this pain too well.  It is not a pain worth knowing.  Some things you go through and, once on the other side, you grow and know that it was worth it.  Not this.  Never this pain.  So today, perhaps inexplicably, to reverse time and and remove the pain and return that summer day to its rightful place in the happy blur of her childhood, today, to save a girl and a family I never even knew, this is what I want the most.